Reflections on Aging
Let's face it, none of us want to grow old. Maturity is cool, so is wisdom, but aging seems to be anathema! And yet, we all age and it beats the alternative....death. My friend and I decided to go take in a movie last night at the Riverview in Reno. Nevada. Walking along the riverside we were struck by the effervescence of youth, the tattoos, the piercings, the hairstyles. Stopping for "Java" I noticed most around me were young adults, and not many were "of a certain age". This never bothers me, as I am a youthful spirit.
Entering the lobby of the theater I noticed a sign that seniors could get a free drink with a purchased popcorn, so of course I announced my status and paid for my ticket. I did not end up getting said drink, but one of the kudos of being older is a discount that seniors can obtain. What constitutes senior citizenry? Who knows? It is rather fluid, some are over 55, some 62....no matter to me.
The movie we watched "Solitary Man" starred Michael Douglas, Danny Devito and Susan Sarandon, along with other more youthful actors. This story chronicles the life of a man who "refuses to grow old" but not from a healthy point of view. The man seems "stuck" in a First Chakra world. this world centers on sexual prowess and power issues....and it is evident in the directors cinematography and camera angles that this man is obsessed with remaining a vital player in his society. The sad irony is that Douglas's character refuses to see reality even when faced with boundaries set by his 30 something daughter, and his current main squeeze.
Running away from reality is clearly evident in the denial many of us face when we age. Who wants to admit they are not the same as they were 20 to 40 years hence? Watching Douglas' actions in the film makes older people a bit squirmy as we can see how denying his mortality makes for discomfort in those around him. Who among us feels a bit strange being called a grandparent when in the company of someone younger who has no idea of our status? Clearly this character makes it evident in telling his grandchild to call him "Captain" instead! This man steers himself into choppy waters with his lifestyle, thinking if he disregards his age and health that it is not an issue.
Leaving the theater my friend and I reflect upon our own journey and just how swiftly time passes. Musing over old photos of people long dead and our own offspring as babies brings clarity to our own aging processes. Amidst the pictures of youth and vitality are embedded those eyes of wisdom and acceptance however that help us to understand that the circle of life continues irrespective of our willingness or unwillingness to embrace our own process. For me, there is comfort in knowing this is something others have gone through, making it become a rite of passage more than something to be turn away from.
"......it's the wheel of fortune, its the leap of faith, its the band of hope. When we find our way on a path unwinding....it's the circle of life"..... (Elton John)