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Golden Years

Thursday, 21 November, 2019 - 8:43 am

Aging.
The word has a musty feel to it. And, at least in our society, I think it’s a word that strikes unease – if not fear – into many a heart.
After all: Who wants to grow old?
So let’s do some re-framing:
When we’re young, feeling like masters of the universe, we enthusiastically anticipate future decades of supersized potential. At the same time, an appealing, but as-yet actualized, future is just potential, bountiful as it may be.
The years in our rear-view mirror are different. They’re ‘in the bank,’ so to speak.

Any good that we’ve done is ours to keep; no one can take it from us. Yes, things can – G-d forbid – go awry, to the extent that we can no longer appreciate our prior good days; but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Life’s ups and downs are hugely valuable, gifting us with insight that no textbooks or teachers could ever teach. The past is a critical prologue, and every day we live adds to our store of experience.
It’s exciting to have a future. It’s truly wonderful to have a meaningful past.

When I lay down to sleep, there’s nothing more peaceful than knowing I spent my day well.

It’s good to be young. It’s great to be accomplished.

In this week’s Torah portion, Abraham is described as having “grown old,” and – if we read the words literally - as “coming along with his days.” What does “with his days” mean?

As Abraham grew older, he brought his past with him. His youth wasn’t a distant memory, and he hadn’t been just passing time.

Every day he lived was another slice of achievement, learning and growth.
So when Abraham was wizened and of weakened body, he possessed the spiritual strength of a life well‑lived. He wasn’t only looking hopefully ahead to the further actualization of potential; he was looking gratefully back on meaningful days.
Aging should be a process that brings satisfaction with, and gratitude for, the past, as well as hope for the future.
Make today a day that enhances your satisfaction.

 

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