One Big Lesson Learned in Early Old Age: Or, What Does It Really Mean To Age Gracefully?

For me, it’s not arguing anymore. As someone who has always enjoyed a good debate and has typically been fairly outspoken – respectful or otherwise – on anything, I think the time has come to be more of a passive observer. I say this because I doubt I have ever changed anyone’s mind through any kind of serious debate.  

Still, in the vociferous anger arena, I do, on occasion, find myself yelling out loud at the news now and then, even though nobody is listening – in particular when I see and hear 45 speak. It is painfully obvious how foolish, egotistical, and unaware of the issues this man reveals to the public every time he opens his mouth. It’s a tragedy.  But I keep this reaction in the privacy of my home, with my wife occasionally asking me to stop, because it has become obvious that arguing about this truly tragic American circumstance will not change anyone’s mind, not to mention that it’s extraordinarily tiresome.

I feel that all I can do now is vote and maybe show up at an anti-Trump protest prior to mid-term elections.  

There is a part of me that wants to punch every Trumpian square in the nose – a truly ungraceful, stupid and dangerous act to say the least. Instead, I just wait patiently, gracefully, without word or deed. 

I think to age gracefully really means that you have come to that time in your life when you no longer have to prove anything. You can be silent. Now is when you can be yourself without giving it another thought. If you don’t like me, so what. I no longer need acceptance by anyone other than myself and my loved ones. I believe that is the way to age gracefully. I think becoming that brings a certain calmness and patience that puts you in an inner peace zone that is unbreakable.

A powerful quote I’ve been frequently seeing online on various social media lately goes like this: “Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.” It’s from Brené Brown, author of “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.” Combine that quote with living authentically as possible and I think the picture of aging gracefully becomes clear.

To conclude, a recent and very succinct post on Medium’s Personal Growth section, probably said it best: https://medium.com/personal-growth/what-you-can-do-instead-of-arguing-c72859b48707. In short, “Once you enter into an argument, you’re entering into another person’s world. And that world may not be a rational one. You’ll probably just end up frustrated.

 

2 comments

  1. Hello George,

    I’m glad to see you are continually striving to be a better you. I am not sure if we ever can ever know where the end point is as far as our developing or if it even matters much to worry over it. Someone once said following what you want to do that’s lawful is half the fun – or something like it. I try to approach my living and learning with a persistent belief we carry on after this life. It may be a combination fantasy/faith driver but it works for me.

    Just doing what you are doing with this blog makes a difference – if not for you then for me or for someone else reading it. There’s too many “normal” conformists in the world that so often seem hell bent on bringing us down to average consumerist existence with a lot of the real life sucked out of it. Even if we never change anyone – though its highly doubtful – our choices are to be ourselves or conformists. I think finding the practical balance somewhere in between and shaking up things now and then – like you seem to want to do – is important.

    As far as debates and arguments and such go, I think so many of them are political – and not just about washington – and so many are poorly prepared to engage – especially on blogs. Most people have no real experience or understanding of debate. I tend to avoid debates in person because I often become lost for logic by the way many people act including having no sense of how to argue – or even respect. I am not a great one at it but I am respectful in general of others and know how to listen and yet advance my own beliefs. I do better on the blogs where I can stop and think about something someone says – assuming its not some lowlife insult – and take my time to reply. I actually do enjoy occasionally debating even the bloggers who are insulting – to a point – but who bring up contrary views that help me learn by exchange having to make a decent defense of my own views.

    I will say on that the link posted discussing argument seems to apply more to the non-debate style where argument is used more like a weapon – like in the “world” of dispute between so many people including bloggers. As a means to reason and understand a topic by factual evidence argument can be good. Maybe it would be the best strategy to say that the dispute type of arguing is pretty much a waste of time but the reasoning type of arguing may offer benefits.

    Oh, one last thing. I think if you go to the political rallies its a good thing but I wonder for the quality of argument on either side or if its even the best setting. Its supposed to be the American way – rallies and all that – but nowadays I think the public square and town halls are on the internet to a large degree but even then its hard to sift through the fake and the not fake news. Be careful when you go to any of them! And keep your excellent blog going!

  2. Thanks, Steve. I appreciate your comment. I love the journey, and I have high hope there is something beyond. Peace!

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