Margaret, thanks for your response. Perhaps it’s fair to say that it’s a combination of both. As someone who does her best to study and practice Buddhism, I love the idea of Beginner’s Mind, which is what you refer to here. The notion of treating each day as your last smacks a bit of desperation, to an extent, and rather invites us to cram as much into each minute as possible (which is so very Western).
A couple of weeks ago I found this article about 90 year old Judith Viorst. Her comments track with yours. The more I research the very old, the more I read that those who have reached that age are much released from the gorilla grip of desperately need to look young, deny their age, be frustrated with their bodies and be in the moment. Perhaps when we get to that point, the reality is that we are uber-aware of how few we have left, and have learned at last to savor them.
I am not wise enough, Margaret. However when I wake up in the morning and invite my increasingly aching body out of bed (which has a lot to do with a particularly difficult and demanding physical adventure I had this summer) I also appreciate the fact that I actually did rise, and with that, have acres of hours in which to play. Some 156,000 people didn’t get up. You and I did. I’ve got books to write and work to do and a massive amount of joy to feel. What troubles me is how so many of us see life as a burden rather than a gift. My sixty-ish horse riding trainer is fond of saying Life Sucks.
Look, I’m with you. My very best years are coming, such as I have left to me, and my best time of life is right now. If I can cultivate that attitude then they will indeed be just that. The rest: how I care for my aging (but very powerful) body, respect its limitations but also continue to push my boundaries, and find ways to give back are up to me.
Thanks for your comments.