By one estimate there are currently 152 million blogs on the internet. I should say152 million and one, now that I’ve thrown my keyboard into the ring.
With all of those people out there putting their thoughts into cyberspace, why should anyone be interested in what I have to say? Just who do I think I am? Who cares what I think about getting older? Since you’ve asked, I will answer the question in two parts.
The esoteric answer is that I once thought of myself as a young Deepak Chopra. That is until it struck me that at the age of 54, I can’t qualify as a young anyone, including myself. So, I switched to thinking of myself as the American Deepak Chopra, until a quick Google search revealed that Deepak is, in fact, an American citizen. Finally, I decided I would just call my Deepak Chopra. This resulted in a letter from his attorneys warning me that if I wanted to continue to enjoy my current income and living standard I would “cease and desist.” (This of course in not true; I did not receive a warning from his attorneys; it was from Mr. Chopra himself who suggested that if I wanted to continue to enjoy my kneecaps and the ability to walk I should stop pretending to be him.)
The more practical answer (and truthful) is that I’m a licensed therapist, cancer survivor, and Reiki II practitioner who has worked in the mental health field for over thirty years. In that time I’ve worked with people from all walks of life covering the range of mental health disorders. Some of these folks were patients and clients, but most were just people I’d run into on the streets, shopping malls, airports, etc.
I’ve spent most of my career practicing the fine art of listening and nodding my head. It was only within the last several years that I began the not so-fine art of talking and shaking my head. It’s not that I think I know more than other people; I have actually put this to the test and I know way less. It’s also not that I’ve had a profound awakening to a higher state of consciousness. While enlightenment, satori, moksha and all other forms of what Eckhart Tolle calls “felt oneness with Being” is an aspiration, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the breath of the one true Life to enter me. The fact is I’m just like you; unless, of course, you have broken through this illusory net and reached Nirvana, and, if so, good on ya.
You see, I'm an expert in aging. As a matter of fact I've been doing it all my life and am so good at it I can even do it in my sleep. I'm even doing it while I'm writing this blog! The secret is that you're an expert in aging as well. Which leads to the inevitable question, "Why does an expert need to listen to anyone else?" (I've noticed you ask a lot of questions and I sincerely hope that this is not going to be a pattern.)
Which brings us back to the question we started with; why listen to me? I hope having made it this far you’ve already answered that question for yourself, making anything that I can add to it moot. However, if you’ve not been satisfied and need something more to cling to than a few pithy quips I offer you this; I think I’ve stumbled upon an understanding of aging and how to make it hurt less and it feels wrong to keep it to myself.
A great writer, whose name I cannot recall at this moment, once said that his writings were like coming across a garden of beautiful flowers and his work was to be the garland that strung them together. If I may borrow the analogy; my work is the hog casing that holds together, and gives coherence to, the ground meat of your existence in hopes of making a lovely sausage. Now that I’ve sufficiently whetted your appetite, I leave you until the next post with this: Aging is mandatory, growing up is optional.