After chuckling at the Pickles comic strip (by Brian Crane) in the Sunday, April 10, 2011 edition of the Denver Post, I immediately knew that I had blog material. In that comic an elderly man is informing his young grandson that prunes are actually dried plums, just as raisins are merely dried-up grapes. His grandson proceeds to inquire, “Are Grampas just dried-up men?”
My feisty comeback, which I uttered aloud, was, “Not me! And I won’t be!” As the grandfather of a six-year-old granddaughter, and probably many more grandchildren yet to come, I usually feel at least 20 years younger than my age and I immodestly report, that most of my body follows suit. Proudly, I have “taken a page” from my mother, nearly age 91, who repeatedly tells people, “Age is a number–and I’m unlisted.” Mentally surveying the half-dozen senior contributing authors of our men’s anthology Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Lives: Defining Moments, I quickly calculate that the average age of this group is about 80. Each of these men has retained a certain readily-observed vibrancy. The oldest of them, one of the last surviving World War II Holocaust victims, stands amazingly tall, both in stature and in spirit, at age 97.
So, what’s the common denominator among us relatively youthful elders? My conclusion is that we’ve all strived from youth on to live full, balanced lives. We have intentionally sought to be inner-directed and receptive, as well as active in the world, seeking to cultivate introspection, emotional awareness, spirituality, etc. We have focused on clarifying and living congruently with our values and our overarching life purpose. Furthermore, we have developed an understanding that often times we need to surrender our willfulness to the Will of a higher power (G-d, The Source, etc.). Doing so, along with the commitment to maintaining a sense of humor, has given us a vital perspective on life.
Life is simply too precious a gift to be scrapped at any age! My goal is to continue to savor pickles, prunes and raisins (although never all at once), but to refrain from modeling those foods in either disposition or appearance.