MISSOURI, May 2017- As we reach our golden years, there comes a clarity to our lives. Back in the day, life was simpler. We were born, grew up and most likely died in the same town. People did not jet around. There was no Internet, smartphones, or even cable TV taking our lives over.
We lived in our homes, with our families, our communities, our church brethern.
But even we, when we were young, tended to take things for granted. Even wither everything being new and a mystery of great importance found in the field, along the creek or in a library book, we would forget how wonderful our lives were. Unfortunately, with life now being more of a reflection than a goal, we still do.
Today we are constantly in the process of masses amount of information about hundreds of things that have become important 24/7. There was a time that we only worried about politics and the politicians after watching the evening news and often secondary to the news of our communities.
As we mature, whether we are single, entering the workforce, getting married, becoming a parent, becoming a grandparent, then a great-grandparent and, in some cases, great-great-grandparent, absorbing information is something we are innately programmed to do. But today we are forced to contemplate, discuss and make decisions about the future based on non-stop information on all the things that impact on our lives.
And we are not the richer for it.
Life still has its cycles and even as we are experiencing different levels of life, from infant to child, teen to adult, we are absorbed with living out those cycles. But it is much more difficult now than it was, back then, back in the day.
Now to the point that I want to make: we are so busy absorbing, reacting and taking care of non-stop business that we don’t stop to smell the flowers. Cliche, maybe, but true nonetheless.
Maybe, in the clarity of our waning years, we, the elders left behind by the youth, finally have the opportunity to stop and think about the simple things of life, the smaller joys, the appreciation of accomplishments, of which there are many
It is now, when we don’t have to rush to a nine-to-five job, that we must not forget to stop and notice the beauty of a flower, or spy on the bees that extract the nectar, which sustains their, and our lives. That we stop to marvel at birds in flight, wondrous to watch as they work feverishly to build their nests, protecting and feeding their young.
How divine is this simple experience of life! Maybe we, as mature citizens are blessed, as are the very young, in that our minds are not so complicated by life that we can we can see these simple things that nature provides.
To me it is cleansing.
Appreciation for the simple things helps us understand what life is all about. It is the simple surroundings that are free for all of us to enjoy and provide us varying degrees of contentment and happiness during this final cycle of our lives.
And we have to make sure we teach our upcoming generations to put down the non-stop electronic intrusions and information and watch a sunrise, or sunset that has not been posted to YouTube. Though there are many wonderous things to be found there.
To have the time and ability to be still and enjoy the multitude of simple things that we are given without any cost creates happiness. From the gifts of Mother Nature to the innocence of a babies sleep.
As the “older generation,” we have had the freedom of failure, success, and responsibility. We learned to deal with adversity and celebrate life’s gifts. Often called the “greatest generation’ those of us who lived through the Great Depression and World War II learned how to be survivors, for we learned to do without when we had to and fought hard to succeed in spite of the obstacles.
Those days were “years of struggle” in many ways, but also years of great joy as we remember our childhood days and young parenting days. Today’s youth screaming for what they are entitled to, not working for what they want to earn, simply do not understand what life is truly about.
This older generation that is dying out, we got a firm foundation on which to build our lives by embracing the high moral standards of the Christian faith and the solid social values of a nation united “under God.”
Who will be this generation’s geniuses, explorers, inventors, and leaders? We could look around us and be discouraged, wondering if this generation of young people will have the strength of character and firm value system that will help them survive. We can also look around us and see tomorrow’s scientist, artists, poets, and mathemeticians. They are there, but like the small flower above, easy to miss growing singlularly in the field.
But be encouraged. Senior citizens still have a vital role to play in society. We as seniors can help determine what foundation young people are laying for future success. Granddads and Grandma’s, do all you can to teach and encourage your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Ask them to put down the glowing screens, and talk about life and all the great beauty and accomplishment that can be found.
Play for them Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful Life” and talk about what it means to you, but don’t forget to listen to what it means to them. This one simple video has lessons about appreciation, but also about the struggle of so many people to acheive their voice.
It is a struggle that continues today.
But if we, the seniors, continue to talk, and listen, our youth will learn those value systems we were taught and live by talking and listening to us.
However, that’s a time and place where I am from…