Recently I attended a workshop on aging held in a dreary meeting room in the not very lovely Metro Building in the entertainment district of Toronto. My first clue, and I took it seriously at the moment, was the ugly, totally lacking colour, art, or beauty; difficult to find meeting space. Several of us were lost and fortunately a kind young woman went out of her way to help us sus out where we belonged. Fortuitous right there. Lovely “young” woman “helping” those of us looking for “where we belonged” as we sought our “place” where we could discuss and share and learn about aging.
Did not bod well and I felt it.
Lordy! Fraught with challenge and dismal surroundings right from the beginning. There were possibly 20 of us in the room and our major word for how we felt was “curious” and some of us suggested we were “interested”. I felt still curious and no longer interested when I left.
I have more feelings about the 2 hours we spent together, but I think it is sufficient to say I was disappointed largely because I didn’t feel I needed my consciousness raised about messages we are inundated with re: what it means to get old and how aging is generally regarded by the world around us. What I am longing for, and anticipated finding, was a positive, up dated, energetic, hopeful, put a smile on my face, 2 hours with like minded folks talking about energy, spirituality, new scientific findings, research about how we are eternal, never ending, we are all one and one with all that is……. forward thinking with hope and joy.
Something to put a smile on my face that reached my eyes, and a skip in my step. Not so. I left feeling hollow, disappointed, sad, frustrated, and with way more hopelessness than my natural self really believes or feels.
My antidote was 2 hours on Sunday at the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universal Church near my house where they share lovely music and beauty and energy and hope and welcome for everyone. Out stretched hearts are shared with a focus always on nature, hope, love, faith, good will and creativity. I felt no creative invitation on Sat. amoungst those of us in that tiny dark dull little room.
And that my friends, is my biggest fear: that creativity flies out the window as age crawls in under the doorway. Some days I find it takes most of my energy to take care of daily tasks and there is no energy or space to feel creative. However, I am learning and what I am learning gives me great relief and desire to move forward.
I am learning that the way I use my time each day can change from old patterns of up and at’um and off to “work”, whatever work might mean for that stage of my life: school, job, childcare, professional career, caring of aging or ill family members…..Less and less is it necessary or even especially helpful for me to be doing those things that called me and devoured me the first 65 years or more of my life.
Today I have the luxury of using my time as I please. My learning is to discover what it is that truly pleases me. Off and out the door at 8 am does not at all please me. Up and fresh coffee and listen to music in my flannel jammies at 7:30 am suits me marvelously. Writing covers my need to feel creative and my hope to connect with others. Getting dressed into casual clothes and walking for an hour is a blessing. Dressing professionally when it suits me and when it is smart to do so is fine and gives me pride and pleasure.
I wanted to share joyful hopeful energy and ideas with those 20 or more people my age and many much younger, at our gathering on Sat. I wanted to laugh: at ourselves, at the perception others have of us, at a world that is going to have to learn to accept that we are here and we are getting noisier and noisier. No longer can people in their 70’s 80’s and 90’s be set aside, ignored, devalued, and left to smolder by themselves. The united wisdom in that room was truly amazing I am certain, though we were not given the opportunity to find out. Our united gifts, experiences, ideas, joys, creative visions for a world that needs wisdom from their elders was pulsating with desire to be recognized but left, as often is the case, to be silenced
I want to participate in something I do not yet fully understand that has to do with celebrating the wisdom and gifts and the potential of elders. There is a very special and very visible place for us. More and more we must gather together to feel and share our combined delight with what we have given the world thus far and with our combined intention to keep right on giving and sharing and teaching and learning.
Elders Unite! Write to me and let me know if anything I am saying suits you in any way. If it doesn’t suit you, tell me that as well. I know there are many places where aging is recognized with love and acceptance and is a reason to have a party. Share that with me. I am interest to hear.
Hugs to us all. Love, Nancy