Quite a few years ago, I can remember reading an article, which cost about 1.5 million dollars for the study, stating that adolescents was the most difficult time of life. I laughed when reading this and thought, what is new about that, what a waste of money. I think most people when looking back on their teen age years would agree, though, those years have many happy events also. Children, becoming adults, sometimes both present at the same time, hence the extremes that many pre-twenties are prone too. I can only say that my life got better after I grew up, and I personally was glad that my childhood and adolescents was over. Not that I had a bad childhood, I suppose it was better than most, it was just, well, being that young that I did not like.
I have a theory, based on some evidence; at least it is for me since I was the one that experienced it. The theory is that children are more than meets the eye. Of course when looking back, I can use the language of an adult to describe what it was like, or what I went through, letís say, before I was seven years of age. I donít think this is too crazy, but I have always felt old in my soul. It was like a part of me observed what was going on, peaceful, on some level knowing, though I canít even to this day articulate just what it was that I knew. I just observed and then the other part that experienced feared, laughed and cried, you know the things that little ones do. I doubt that this experience is unusual, perhaps it is because I seem to have a very long memory that I even know that this happened.
The knowledge was not verbal, perhaps it was more on an intuitive level; you know sort of a seeing of the whole picture, without being able to express it in a rational manner. Children often show a level of compassion that most adults cannot muster, why is that? Perhaps it is because the necessary boundaries, that are built up as maturity slowly arrives, are simply not there yet. Boundaries are needed, if we did not have them I think we would all drown in the pain and chaos that often surrounds us. There are times when we need to be numb, so as to be able to deal with what needs to be done in our own lives.
Gifted people, who never lose this, are for the most part handicapped in some way; people with Downís syndrome come to mind. They are often very open, loving, compassionate, and I find that they are healers in their own way, perhaps necessary, but the world would not run if everyone was like that. No we need boundaries, we need to protect ourselves, and then as we age to slowly learn to let them down, to again grow in compassion, empathy and love, to become childlike. A strong ego is needed to do this, also the ability to think clearly and to act on what is perceived as needed to be done. I think the first time a very young child gets hurt, or betrayed by another, is probably one of the greatest events in life, for it is then that the truth is learned that others can turn. This does lead to trust, becoming something that has to be earned, it is not a gift. Again this is a necessary event, we all get bumped around, some worse than others. Perhaps those who really get knocked around are in reality the strong ones. I donít think life is a crap shoot, I think there is meaning to what we go through, even if for the life of me I donít always see it. Perhaps in the end we are all children, some just further along than others. I often wonder if this life is just another womb that we must outgrow, and then move on to something larger, bigger, better, and yes perhaps with greater challenges. If we continue after death, I think our joy is the continuing journey, not some eternal rest for eternity.
I suppose, slowly moving into old age is sort of the reverse of adolescents. From becoming a strong, independent, intelligent adult, to moving into a area that slowly leads one to becoming dependent, weak, and for many less intelligent; must be crucifying to say the least. Aldo is there now. I am going to see him today, and hopefully be able to talk him into going into a nursing home for a period of time, so that he can get physical therapy. He wants to go back to his apartment, he has lived there for many years, and though his world is small, it is his world. It is a paradox I guess. If he refuses to go to a nursing home for a short time, and wants to stay independent and go home to his apartment, this could lead, because of his present situation to an accident that could put him in a nursing home for good. So I will try to bring that to his attention. He has also been diagnosed with diabetes and has been put on insulin, which also complicates things.
So I will talk, hopefully convince him, and if not, well I will have to let it go. Not something easy to do since I do care for him, but he has not yet reached that point where someone will have to move in and make choices for him. Battles have to be chosen wisely, and this is one battle that I am not willing to fight since nothing good will come out of it.
Aldo is only 13 years older than me. I know that when I am 71 I will probably still be healthy, at least from my family history it seems that might be the case, yet who knows. Aldo has had serous health problems for years, so he is really older than his actual age, yet being with him makes me wonder how I will handle my own last years, when the time comes for me.
There are so many in my generation, that at least for now (who knows what I will think when the actual time comes), have decided that after 70 I will not take any kind of extraordinary care if I should down with a terminal illness. When I go to the VA, I see how the system is over loaded, and it will only get worse as the years go by, and the baby boomers become the aged ones. Donít get me wrong, I would not mind living to 90, which is only 33 years away; life is good, sweet, filled with good things. Even on the worst of days I can always find something to find joy in. I donít see why that would change as I get far into old age. I just donít think that I want lot of money spent on me that could be put to better use elsewhere.
I wish our culture would stop glorifying being young, and embrace the journey that we are all on. Difficult, well yes it is. However I really would not want to do it all over again, once is enough. Being a baby, young child, adolescent, middle age, and finally one day being old is enough, just once. We are pilgrims; nothing can stop that, no matter what your faith or lack of. Life is hard and then you die, sounds harsh, but is it?