What’s Your Place? Such a simple question. . . If you look deep enough into it, discoveries about yourself erupt, surprisingly. What’s Your Place is much more than a question about one’s physical, geographic location. It can also transport you to mushing around in deep philosophical questions concerning your authentic self, along with questions about the what, why, how and when of your lifelong pursuits.
So what do we really mean when we say we would like to find some balance in our lives? It is, of course, different for everyone. The person stuck in multiple dead-end jobs, trying to make ends meet, could use a wage increase, sick leave, vacation time, and personal and parental time off – to get back to a calming mind.
The tortured artist needs a little peace. The insomniac just needs a good night’s sleep to balance out his energy. The elusive “life balance” – where is it located? How can anyone discover it?
All I remember is carrying this heavy book up and down the stairs until we got it – that was how it was drilled into us. The ones who could easily carry the good book, because they were more athletic and stronger, typically learned the prayers faster, being unencumbered by the exhaustion clouding the thoughts that some of us weaker ones were feeling.
Do you want to pick up as much knowledge as you can, or do you get tired when you have to study something that challenges your thinking and decide not to pursue learning because it is too much of an effort and you’d rather watch TV or do nothing significant?
While I have always been a highly introspective person, I never thought my introspection would grow more prominently into old age. I assumed (never assume) that by now – at 64 – I would have it all figured out and there would be less of a need to be looking inward and more of a desire to increasingly play cards with other people near or in retirement. Boy was I wrong!
If you estimate you will inhabit the Earth until you reach into your ninetieth year, you can use an obvious baseball metaphor to represent your aging life. At 60 you are in the sixth inning of a nine-inning game, and you are – congratulations – manager of the home team. With 60 being the first decade of the final third of the game, reaching that milestone, in my opinion, means you can officially be called “old.”
As I push myself through this study on aging, I’ve arrived at a point of having to more thoroughly review the research and attempt to synthesize the most salient nuggets of information I have thus far highlighted either electronically on my Kindle, or by underlining in pen, or by swiping across with various-colored highlighters in the many hard-cover and paperback books I own.
I don’t know where to start when attempting to describe the work of the late American Psychologist James Hillman, who has had a great inspirational effect on me. I learned of him a few years back though reading Thomas Moore’s work, a good deal of which has been influenced by Hillman.
In Ageless Soul, Moore hits all the important aspects of our aging selves that can be catalysts for more meaning and purpose in our lives, if we so choose.
The 3Rs of Old Age form a thought-provoking and dynamic impression of the aging process that often gets overlooked due to our preoccupation with the nasty physiological aspects of our aging selves that too often take precedence over the highly important psychological, sociological, spiritual, and philosophical aspects of our elder-years. The late Psychologist James Hillman would refer to this aspect of the aging process as “character development.”
Mastering your universe, having the freedom to push yourself forward onto new plateaus, following your bliss – all self-perpetuating actions leading to life’s positive breakthroughs and achievements – this is the stuff of great joy. Yet, sometimes reaching a new plateau in life arrives unexpectedly, out of nowhere, mysteriously – no advanced planning whatsoever – and this new plateau may be located on a temporary stopover at an unanticipated lower level of the proverbial mountain top instead of a higher one.
Recently I came across a profound statement from a veteran psychotherapist and talented author, Irvin D. Yalom. In the preface of “Love’s Executioner,” published in 2000, he wrote how “four givens are particularly relevant to psychotherapy: the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love; the freedom to make our lives as we will; our ultimate aloneness; and, finally, the absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life. However grim these givens may seem, they contain the seeds of wisdom and redemption.”
Every time I passed this woman sitting in her wheelchair outside of her room, she gave me a very odd, piercing look that seemed to reek of hatred. It briefly stressed me out just to see her. She was one of many wheelchair-bound residents of a combination nursing/palliative/hospice care facility that I was visiting on a regular basis for personal reasons.
As a home-office-based freelance writer, long periods of solitude spent in deep work comes with the territory. There are times when I will not have a conversation with anyone other than my wife for an entire week.
As a work-for-hire freelance writer, I have always believed that the deliberate practice of my work over the years/decades would give me some small semblance of financial success and a more continuous stream of reliable, paid work by this stage of life in my early sixties.
The so-called “longevity revolution” drives the next phases of Baby Boomer life, as they reach into their elder years. In short, we are still around and will stay around much longer than our predecessor generations. Plus, there are a lot of us, some 78 to 80 million by most estimates.
Our world teeming with diversity alive in all nations, states, cities, towns, hamlets, in the obscurity of some mountainous regions, in green forests and jungles, by beaches with crystalline waters under a magnificent sun – this is our world of vastly different ways of living large, of unique manners for inhabiting spaces and places.
Some of us are extraordinarily fortunate; living comfortably within our more-than-adequate abodes; with food aplenty; engaged contentedly in work and leisure; our families, friends, acquaintances, and learning and teaching opportunities bringing joy to our hearts and minds.
I recently found a kindred spirit in the book “Insight: Why We’re Not as SELF-AWARE as We Think, and How SEEING OURSELVES CLEARLY HELPS US SUCCEED at Work and In Life,” by Tasha Eurich.
On two related words that we don’t see or hear about these days.
Finding a balance when defining who you are and what you do.
It was a beautiful, sunny, perfect-weather day. I was at an art festival with the woman I had just met several weeks ago and would eventually marry. We were strolling along the sawdust paths of the festival, both feeling happy beyond any sort of adjective-laden description.
Dealing with a kind of basket-case, confusing mindset, while at the same time allowing for extraordinary insights to come to the forefront.
Unfortunately, corporate work experiences can quickly change into unhealthy situations in which your unique knowledge, skills, and opinions are suddenly labeled by your superior as worthless, often due to internal politics and misunderstandings.
If you are up to it, answering these six questions will take you down a long and winding road.
A listicle of a different sort.
Looking into the question of “If Not Now, When?” & More
Working instead of retiring is good for your health and well-being.
On the importance of bringing back the iconic peace symbol.
April 4 is the 59th Anniversary of the First Public Display of Peace Symbol.
A Personal Attempt, and a Call for Responses . . .