In a recent discussion with a group of friends I was given the chance, once again, to realize that time goes by extremely fast! From entering college to receiving a retirement plan, life seems like a five minute drive in high speed. Unfortunately, although a law officer will issue anyone a speed ticket regardless of the person's age, this rapid journey through life does not provide any guarantees that at some point you will be forced to stop and smell the roses. In fact, people with diverse backgrounds and paths in life have come to realize, although after reaching a certain age, that power over life equals choice over aging.
Most of us have had the experience of talking to an older person, like a parent, about aging, only to discover that it is sometimes hard for them to accept the fact that they are not thirty any more. For instance, my father, a rather energetic and social individual with a variety of interests and hobbies, is always eager to experience life's opportunities with every chance he gets. Unfortunately, the fact that his health status, which has slightly deteriorated as he got older, does not permit him to perform those risky but highly desired activities he used to execute with ease, has resulted in him looking at himself sometimes as a unworthy replica of what he once used to be. That realization, combined with the fact that his group of friends of approximately the same age have dramatically changed their life's choices, has led him to express from time to time a complain about his inability to perform as well as he did in the past. But, conscious and inventive as he is, my father has successfully focused on those parameters that allow him to continue experiencing his hobbies and enjoy the pleasure of scuba diving, hiking, or boat fishing without the feeling of guilt. Actually, his plan to stay young is an inspiration for many, including myself, who have had a hard time copying with the fact that aging is not something one can actually avoid.
First of all, he has decided to hang out with cheerful friends. The people that see their age as a chance to be able to complain about something are no longer inside his close circle of friends. On the contrary, he has been spending his time with people of all ages that are able to take pleasure in experiencing life and understand that life is a gift one should enjoy to the very last drop. Second, he has never quitted the learning process. Although he is considered a very well-educated individual, he has never opposed a proposal to read something new, attend a conference, or go out to exchange views on any subject. With over seventy years on his back, my father is one of those people that construct their luck and their ability to keep their mind working with every chance they get. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop," as he calls it. Third, my sweet dear wise dad knows how to laugh! By enjoying those simple things, like a movie or a dinner party, he fills the air with his long and loud laugher, which makes his face all red until he gasps for breath. Most importantly, my father sees everyday as an opportunity to tell the people he cares about how much he does love and cherish them.
One of my favorite scenes, in the whole world, is my dad sitting on his favorite chair in the living room while the cat sleeps peacefully on his lap. Especially when I am in distress with any problem I see bigger than life itself he usually turns to me saying with a calm wise voice, "All these shall pass. Try to remember that you have to stay alive while you are alive. You get only one chance and it is a gift. Cherish it!"
Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Aging and Women's Health