This episode examines the benefits and contributions unique to getting older
On Aging (podcast transcript)
Good morning, a friend has recommended that my podcast be briefer and more frequent. I will try. Please let me know what you think. This morning, I want to offer a few thoughts on aging.
There is a period of life in which we are naturally more attractive than when we get older. As those externally attractive elements decline, even energy declines, many of the things which give power to life declines. Older people seek to retain these, even at the expense of their dignity, say, involved in all sorts of body modification and a lot of reaction to aging is to try to keep those things which were attractive in our prime years, our good looks, our stamina, our our force, our energetic, confidence. But this is actually working against the natural flow of things. And anything in contradiction to itself has a certain pathos to it, a certain inappropriateness. We feel odd.
When we see a person who matches their age, who's happily their age, and not fighting against it, and looking good and healthy, looking fit and keeping their youthfulness, not in an inappropriate way, this is a valuable thing. But to fight against it is like fighting against space. It's like going out in the dead of winter in your shorts. You're contrary to what the space dictates. The only things we have in physical existence are time and space. So similarly, just as we would be contrary to what space dictates, when we go against being ourselves, being contrary to our age, we become contrary to what time dictates. And it's just as odd. It's just as inconvenient. It’s the same as the guy in shorts in Minneapolis at three degrees below. Maybe he or she's good at it. You know, like in the Polar Bear Club, or something like that. But apart from those people who can pull that off, they're just out of place. They're acting inconsistently with a sound assessment of their reality.
Similarly, when we get older, to be contrary and incompatible with our circumstances, is a shame. It's odd. It looks funny. This is something that we should avoid. And so what do we do with those years that are in physical decline from our finest and most beautiful time, and yet we have a lot of years left? Say if you say if you're like after 40 or50 years old, say 50. People can look great at 50. And do. Hopefully we all do. But if we're honest, we're not as fine and as brilliantly a draw, as when we were in our 20s. There's a difference there. But age appropriate beauty is where real beauty lies.
So what's the cosmic design put in place for why there are people with a fairly long time in life, and moving away from the natural, easy versions of attractiveness that obtained in the earlier years?
Here's what I believe is at least one important aspect or element of these things. A person who has lived to 50 years old, and onwards for the rest of their lives 70, 80, 90, so long as we keep our mental capacities about us and our attentiveness to social behavior, and we don’t become odd and unpleasant to be around. As long as those two things are retained, (and that's a personal responsibility), then, these people, we elders, are more experienced, and have greater knowledge of what's true, despite the constant nature of our environments and our relationships to persuade us otherwise. We pass through things that present themselves as true when they're fraudulent or artificial. And we do this all the time. every day of our lives. Even without a high degree of consciousness, we are developing the capacity to assess, intuit and identify that which is true and wholesome and constructive, better for us. That cannot be substituted by anything other than experience. There's no pill. There's no Harvard, Stanford or Yale. There's no being the smartest kid in the class. There's no being the fastest kid on the football field. There is only the constant and incessant challenge or burden of life in which narratives are being presented to us, and it is up to us to be able to develop the capacity to Intuit and identify what is true what is false. That is human experience. That is what elder people should want to pass down.
Tragically, elder people want to retain the centrality of being highly influential, of being the center of all things, being the boss, being the head of the company, being the biggest thing at the party. They substituted youthful energy and attractiveness, with being richer, with spending, with flamboyance, and with all sorts of things. These are artificial and unnecessary adaptations trying to replace youthful attractiveness, trying to stay at the center of things. There's no need for a person to stay at the center of things in those youthful ways that are designed for youthful attractiveness.
What elder and maturing people should really want to do in terms of staying relevant or staying at the center, or remaining as a person of interest is to be able to offer those hard won golden gems of what we know that can only be attained by living through the years of our life.
Here's the final thing I want to say. Most younger people are not oriented toward elders around them. They're too distracted with their own passions, their own ambitions, and their own sense of their own self magnificence. Or they are too burdened getting through life and bills and things like that. Most young people either for good or for bad, either naturally, or out of being burdened by circumstances not oriented toward elder people as a source or wellspring of benefit, other than possibly usually their wealth, which also amasses over time. But those small handful of young people who understand that elder people have something that can only be gained with age, and that is the power to discern. Those young people who recognize the value of powers to discern, and are not distracted only by good looks, and only high energy, and only fascinating idiosyncrasies, but are able to recognize value. at a deeper level. They will be able to inherit from elders and will have an enormous advantage in their lives. That's the secret. So the age old teachings all of which are tragically falling by the wayside, like respect your elders, these are not just Little House on the Prairie type stuff. They aren’t just some sort of rule where you get knocked on the knuckles with a ruler, like a rule in church or something, respect your elders.
No. It is to the exceptional benefit of the young person. That young person who has enough sense to know that they can gain something that will be an in give you enormous advantage over your contemporaries. Those are the people who will remain the cornerstone, the golden thread, or the golden rails along which history unfolds.
All right, those are my thoughts for today. Thanks a lot for listening.