Tuesday, February 7, 2012

aging is a motivator

Working in senior housing means dealing rather closely with the reality that we all die in a way that working with kids never did.  In general, I am okay with that - I don't fear death.  I totally agree with that scripture that says, "To live is Christ, to die is gain" (although as I get older I notice more the need that others have for me, and I consider how my early demise might bring them pain, and then I understand more about the need to stick around on planet earth a little while longer).  

While I don't fear death, I DO very much fear some of the processes of passing from this world to the next.  And working with seniors brings THAT home much more, as well.  Every day I watch the effects of aging on people and I think that growing old is not for the faint of heart.  Hard, hard stuff.  Knowing the seniors more makes it harder for me to step back and do that thing (some) younger people do so easily of dismissing them as "old people" and forgetting that they weren't always as they seem today. 

I watch and I wonder how forgetful I might become, which parts of my body might fail me first, will I be gracious and joy-filled or unlovely and resistant as I get older.  THIS is a big motivator for loving my body.  Carelessness with the body I've been given now will come with very direct consequences in years to come.  While there is no secret fountain of youth by which I can dodge the bullet of aging, I know for sure that nutrition and fitness WILL play a rather major role in how hard the years ahead will be.  All of this is much more real to me at 45 than it was at 25, and working where I do hammers that reality into me daily.

Which is a good thing indeed.

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