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epiphanettes

 

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The Last Decision

Added: Monday, January 23rd 2023 at 12:09pm by epiphanettes
 
 
 

Crossing that uncertain bridge into Elderland varies for all of us. Some do so with an air of certainty, others fear it, others still liken it to being dropped into a vat of ice water. Most of us enter Elderland with a degree of trepidation. Our bodies and minds whisper of failure. Our back and hands hurt and need attention, as do our knees and various internal organs which we’ve hardly heeded for most of our lives. Many of us are fortunate enough to afford doctors whose suggestions we’ve followed—or not. We undergo operations with the hope that the surgeon is knowledgeable, unhurried, and kind. We do not rebound as we did when young. The aftermath of surgery can be long and painful, and the procedures are often unsuccessful in improving our lives.

Our senses deceive us. Hearing and eyesight become unreliable. Foods we once tolerated and enjoyed are now verboten. Activities demanding strength, accuracy and patience are problematic. Our brains, of which we are so proud, now decide to play hide-and-seek with words, names, and locations. Elderland is full of surprises, many both inevitable and unwelcome. We are accused of being wiser and Solomon-like. In truth, we’re simply tired.

Personally, I don’t believe age brings wisdom, an asset derived from the collision of time and experience. In fact, I think for the most part that opinions reached at an earlier age simply harden as the years pass, making us adamant in our beliefs and resistant to innovation. Though there are examples of groundbreaking thinking by old people, the fact is that it is youth that engenders change (for the good the bad), while the old complain and do their best to resist and to remain, well, old.

Change is difficult for us to internalize and act upon intelligently.  It confuses and threatens us. Taking the familiar away and exchanging it for a new and perplexing present is of no use to us at all. It negates what we know and at best belittles our own hard-earned familiarities and forces us to re-evaluate our lives and our actions. Often, we realize silently that both are found wanting.

And then, of course, there is the specter of death. We’re terrified of it, of the unknown it presents, of its apparent finality. Can everything we are, the knowledge, the love, the resentments, the pleasures and pains simply vanish? We’ve bought into the Western concept that the most important thing in life IS life at all costs, a rather silly notion. Generally, we’re not even allowed to die in peace and, if mortally ill, we need to sign documents attesting to our willingness to die. Our life, our most significant possession, is subject to the laws of the state. Personally, I have no intention of raging against the dying of the light.

I am, however, seriously considering a chest tattoo that reads Do Not Resuscitate. Just so there’s no confusion about last wishes…

User Comments

Get that tattoo.

Don't know why but I don't think the way you do--I have found that change is not difficult-that I have no fear of death because I live for today--I am smarter today than I was last week--Elderland is a state of mind that is often repeated by others but not really true.

 

Great article.Can relate

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Can relate to this article.Great.Thanks

 

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