Tuesday, 26 June 2018


Today's examination of Desiderata focuses on this line:

"Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth."

This is something that flies in direct contrast to the ways of the Western world. Some liken the treatment of our "seniors" to the "warehousing of people." There is huge money involved in the "care" & housing of seniors, one could easily have their life savings, liquidated and transferred into the hands of the private corporate residences. Overall there is not nearly the same reverence and respect for the life experience and wisdom of seniors in our culture. There has been such an emphasis and valuing placed on participation in the "economy" through working, that literally, once people are no longer engaged in the "nine to five" (rat-race) they are no longer considered "viable, productive or making any further useful contribution."

It is a very sad dehumanization that occurs.

Is it any wonder that many seniors suffer depression and cognitive deterioration - imagine the prospect of looking at yourself in the mirror day after day; and further internalizing, that you are no longer valued. Who wouldn't want to "check out?"

So one could both value the wisdom and experience of seniors/elders in their lives; as well, they could honour and value the experience of their own life journey as the sands of time continue to flow. I don't think it's necessary to abandon altogether qualities such as "idealism, enthusiasm, vision" etc. (which are often attributed to "youth.") but as one "ages" - perhaps a greater appreciation for mortality ensues and one learns a thing or two about "choosing their battles." They have learned to temper some of the perhaps more impulsive ways of being in the world. Nothing wrong with spontaneity; but there is a great deal to be said, for action taken, counselled by the voice of experience.

Young people absolutely have a voice worth hearing. They have the energy and vision to see changes made that can and does - get it done; while at the same time their zeal, passion and lack of experience, can result in not always be the most helpful combination of energies.

Somewhere along the way ideally I believe the "counsel of years" - will have fostered and nurtured qualities like self-love, compassion, empathy, understanding... so that as one is gradually faced with various aspects of their youth, giving way to whatever realities present with "aging;" it can be embraced with grace. Aging doesn't have to mean - "being put out to pasture;" while at the same time,  there certainly can be a sense of loss and need to grieve some of "what was," but it's not necessarily a bad thing, that - "you're only young once!"

R. O'Neill (June 26th, 2018)

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