Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Perspectives on age and death

Death is something we are all afraid of and for good reason. Death is the end of life, it is the end of our adventure, it is the unknown, it is the end and we don't know what follows. Many have a belief in a god who has prepared a next step for us, and in that they find comfort and those left behind find solace.

Because we don’t know what will happen to us when we die, our will to live is very strong. As Ronni, at As Time Goes By says in her blog, “Somewhere among the tiniest twists of our DNA, we are programmed to fear death, to avoid it at all costs and to live.”

But many of us, as we age, forget how to live. We start to prepare for death by retreating into ourselves and we lose the enthusiasm we had for live as we were growing up. We forget the sense of awe and adventure and the newness of life that we had as grew up and many of us become afraid as we move into our later years.

It takes courage to face death and greater courage to recognize that when we die  we will no longer be able to contribute. As seniors we need to remember how brave we really are, so that as we face death, we continue to live with enthusiasm and a zest for life. Making our time while we are here meaningful for ourselves and others should be one of our top priorities as we age.

Here are some interesting perspectives on age and death.

On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. Instead of the sympathy, the friendly union, of life and death so apparent in Nature, we are taught that death is an accident, a deplorable punishment for the oldest sin, the arch-enemy of life, etc.... 

But let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blending’s and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory for, for it never fights. All is divine harmony. ~John Muir

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm. Aldous Huxley

Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing.  People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.  Albert Einstein

To die, to sleep -
To sleep, perchance to dream - ay, there's the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come...
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? ~Khalil Gibran,

People living deeply have no fear of death. ~Anaïs Nin

If we face the reality, at 63 or 70, 75, 80, or 90, that we will indeed, sooner or later, die, then the only big question is how are we going to live the years we have left, however many or few they may be? “What adventures can we now set out on to make sure we'll be alive when we die? Anatole Broyard

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
John Barrymore

Pass, then, through this little space of time in harmony with nature and end thy journey in contentment, just as an olive falls off when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew. Marcus Aurelius.

Every time someone dies, a library burns. The experiences, skills, and relationships painstakingly built across a lifetime disappear forever. We cannot prevent any particular library from eventually having a fire, but we can make sure the fires are rare. Humans are precious, and that is why we should not wish them to age.   Anders Sandberg

I don't want my life to be defined by what is etched on a tombstone. I want it to be defined by what is etched in the lives and hearts of those I've touched. Steve Maraboli

I suppose each of us has his own fantasy of how he wants to die. I would like to go out in a blaze of glory, myself, or maybe simply disappear someday, far out in the heart of the wilderness I love, all by myself, alone with the Universe and whatever God may happen to be looking on. Disappear - and never return. That's my fantasy. Edward Abby

Thanks to Ronni at As Time goes by for the idea.

1 comment:

  1. And don't forget to live each day as if it is your last. I used to dread the idea that death could hit at an office desk when all I had done was push paper. Now I'm retired I'm cramming as much in as possible - sometimes chaotic, but always fun.