Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes things happen that jerk us up short and we feel mortal. Someone younger than us, considered healthy or healthier than us, dies of a heart attack. A relative is in the hospital with something that seemed to come out of nowhere. We wonder if this could happen to us too, and of course, we know the answer is yes. We aren’t special; we don’t have some protective magic protecting us from the hard things in life.

We realize that health really is our first wealth, and what should we do to be healthier? What do we want to accomplish, if retirement is looming we wonder what will we do with our time no longer taken up by working. Do we have a passion to pursue, an interest to discover, or a hobby to take up? If we are alone we may wonder if we have another thirty or forty lonely years ahead of us, if we aren’t alone we worry about when we might be.

If we’ve watched our parents as they’ve aged and they’ve had reasonable health, reasonable resources to live on, and had hobbies and interests then aging may not be as scary for some of us as it is for others. Getting old is not fun but it’s the best option we have, and if we can do it gracefully, and healthily with mind and body intact it may be an enjoyable stage in life.

We’ll need to trust that we can keep ourselves healthy enough, and have enough income to more than scrape by. In old age, I think financial security is a big thing because we aren’t in most cases able to physically make more money but our investments can produce fruit. We aren’t planting the money trees anymore but we can harvest them.

We might not be having big adventures when we reach advanced age, but we are watching our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have theirs. If our family is doing well we will feel grateful and blessed. No one only gets blessings to be grateful for, everyone gets challenges to overcome, deal with, and make the best of.

Don’t try to add more years to your life. Better add more life to your years. Blaise Pascal

Is trusting we can get through all of life and deal with the trials and tribulations that come along with the joys the way to look at life? If we can believe whatever comes we can deal with, whether highs or lows it will be better for us. We may think why someone doesn’t do this or that to improve their health, wouldn’t it be better if they ate this way or that way? If there truly is a better diet we should follow it to be an example of what is possible, giving advice might make us feel better, but what do we know about their health? We need to trust them to make the best decisions for themselves, and even if we know they aren’t making the best decisions, it’s their life. They will seek out advice that may help them or not, it is their life, not ours. We need to be our own control board, but we can’t be someone else’s.

I am trying to curb my advice-giving ways. Who am I to know how someone else should live, what decisions they’ve had to make, what they have to deal with? It is probably better if we can be with people where they are and encourage them to do what they can do, not what we think they should do. This might be the hardest way to support them, to keep our opinions and advice to ourselves while we support them in their time of need.

Sometimes we know the outcome is not good. In truth, we know the outcome is not good for all of us; we will all have to face the reality of our own demise. Is the best way to face our death making the most of our life? I didn’t mean for this to be a morbid post. But, death is part of our reality, our own, and those we love. How can we live so when the time comes we are ready, we’ve made the best of the time we’ve had? We made phone calls while we could, we visited when possible, we laughed and held hands, encouraged others, and let them encourage us. It isn’t only about living more years, but putting more life into our years that counts.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life will always be hectic and complicated. Stop waiting for life get easier or better in order to be happy. Learn to be happy now. Karen Salmansohn

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Charles R. Swindoll

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