The great secret that all old people share is the you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion. Doris Lessing.
My thinking about the concept of both denial and acceptance and the relationship to the idea of being an extra ordinary elder became complicated for me recently. Denial is our protection about an issue or situation until we are ready to step into that new truth . Acceptance of situations or the illusion of the past of issues and a perceived future boggle the mind. But, they both can allow us to live in the very real present. Which is a good thing because that is all we really have.
I would enjoy the acceptance of the Nobel Prize for peace and would say thank you very nicely. The acceptance of a diagnosis of stage IV cancer would be denial first and hopefully acceptance, at least of the disease, if not the outcome. Humans are funny because on a daily basis we do the dance of No, to OH OK, to Yes, I understand it. Phone calls, news, traffic accidents, the dentist, canceling events due to illness, a bill forgotten, all give us practice for the large situations.
When our age begins to weigh us down with too many denials for good mental health, an extraordinary elder in training must face those difficult transitions and move into acceptance more quickly than previously learned. Remember, you are a role model everyday to people. Watching you walk the path to aging with its lack of signs and oasis, helps the next generation and the next generation. Learning and teaching, teaching and learning, human to human.
Celebrate Solstice this coming week and light a candle for the ones in the world who need it the most.