Aging and Life Purpose

I am 72 years old. Young.  I don’t feel like I am in the Twilight Zone yet, and still, I don’t  have the energy or lasting power of my younger years.  Nor the memory…and that’s a big deal, because I have to maintain our good standing with the outside world, who expects the bills to be paid on time.  And I have to remember to make appointments about things like doctors and dentist appointments.  But the biggest part of it is that I make these commitments to myself about this project or that to hopefully brighten somebody’s day, and then I fail to follow through because I got sidetracked with something else.

I am only here for God to express in, as and through me.  I feel the Presence in me and with me, and I smile.

I argue with myself often over two competing views of what my life “should” be like at my age.   “Should” I just enjoy each day as it comes, and be happy to be alive?  Enjoy the sunshine, the sweet time I have with Darwin, the daily tasks of watering the plants, cooking, singing? I got a clear glimpse of that when I had a big health scare (unfounded) and just walking outside in the sunshine made me grateful to feel the sun on my skin.  And there is that aspect of aging which involves peering into the window of infinity and knowing that there will come a time when your clock runs out, and to be prepared for it, spiritually.  We have had a big health scare with Darwin lately and it brings mortality into the foreground of my daily experience.

Then there is the matter of purpose though.  The other side of myself argues that my life should be a blessing, not only to me, but to others, that is what it has always been about.  There is the constant argument to still “Dream Big,” to make a big difference somehow, beyond just living in peace with myself, my love, and my surroundings.  I am only an old lady growing vegetables in the desert, but many elders have made an impact on the world, and, it really is true that I am wiser than I once was.  I am prodded to write about spirituality, to share the peace and joy of the mystic experience of the Presence of the Divine, here and now.  I am prodded to write about recovery from severe depression.  I am prompted to write about parenting a child with profound PTSD and explosive anger.

But I get up in the morning and I read through my email, mostly from list-serves; almost no one writes me a personal email any more, but there’s always the off chance one of my boys will have sent something, or Darwin might have sent me something loving.  I am lucky in that.  I go to facebook and find things to share that seem meaningful to me, from my own newsfeed or several spiritual pages I manage, hoping the posts will give others similar joy or insight.  Sometimes I find a quote I like, find a lovely photo to go with it, and send it out as openhearetedmusings.   The one I linked to is a gorgeous photo, with today’s quote from Ernest Holmes:

“You are one with the eternal Light itself. The Presence of Spirit within you blesses everyone you meet, tends to heal everything you touch, brings gladness into the life of everyone you contact. Therefore, you are a blessing to yourself, to mankind and to the day in which you live.” Ernest Holmes

I woke up this morning feeling a little sad and a lot lethargic.  The quote spoke to me, it is one of my favorites, but it doesn’t answer my deeper question about what my purpose is as I age.  What if you can’t drive any more and are mostly at home and there are so few ways to be that blessing?   Sigh, if you took the time to join my meandering mind on this journey, I hope you didn’t read this hoping I had an answer.  I wanted to just describe how it is, today.


7 thoughts on “Aging and Life Purpose

  1. I just re-read my post and had an insight I must ponder. I find that the argument may indeed be whether I matter any more, and that’s an entirely different train of thought.


  2. I’m 21 and a significant part of my day is spent tentatively preparing myself to spontaneously not be here any longer, as strange as that may seem. In such times it is refreshing to feel the breeze on your skin to remind you that you are present here and now. It’s cold here lately, so I can only hope that I’ll soon be able to feel the sun again.


    • Hi, mustbebats,
      Thanks for stopping my my own little batty place. Indeed, the feeling of the sun and the breeze, or doggy-kisses, or the fragrance of ripening tomatoes (I have brought them indoors) can all help one to feel fully present in the moment. Even Tucson is cold today, but then cold is relative. I went to your blog (you write beautifully) to see if I could discern why you made the comment you did about “preparing myself to spontaneously not be here any longer,” and am still wondering. You can email me if writing would be OK. You will have to ask to get through my spam filter.


      • Oh, I hope it didn’t sound too worrying. I mainly mean in the sense that we can only be so careful, and that life can be unpredictable and surprisingly dangerous. I think learning how to drive on the interstate regularly has gotten me in touch with my mortality, ha ha.


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