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.