Blue Healer, Collie, Australian Shepherd Mix
2/7/2006 to 12/11/2018
Harley left us today, but we still have his brother Odin with us. Harley was almost 13 years old and very much an alfa male. Having to watch him go this morning made me think a little more about my own life and the fact that it may end at some point too. It seems to be the natural state of affairs, but hard to make sense of it. We all have to face this human condition at some point, and writing about it tends to take the sting out of it.
Harley was David’s running dog, and he was fast. Together through the years, even up until his last few months, Harley loved going with David and Odin. Harley was extremely bonded to David, like nothing else I had ever seen. That is how he got his name….Harley Davidson! David and Harley used to play frisbee in the back yard, and he would jump 6 feet to catch when thrown. After it was over, Harley would run and jump into David’s arms. He really loved David, and the feeling was mutual.
Contemplating the concept of age made me wonder if I would ever see my beloved animals again. The following is a soliloquy of reflections on the topic of growing old. My conclusions about aging and life…….
The Contemplation of Growing Old
By Sharon Greenleaf La Pierre
2018 Copyright © All Rights Reserved
As we grow older, our lives change in many ways that we do not anticipate. Time goes by much quicker. Our friends pass on. Our friends struggle with illnesses that we cannot help alleviate, but only watch and encourage them to fight. Our self esteem changes because we cannot do the things we used to do with quickness and vigor because our bodies wither with time. All of these changes are frustrating and very fast acting. One begins to realize that the majority of your life is behind you instead of in front of you. One is much more cautious about taking risks and doing things, like traveling alone, which you used to do for fun.
I have had to re-evaluate my existence on a different level to enhance joy and a purpose for living. Disappointments become disheartening and harder to overcome. It seems to take longer, but I treat faith as real.
Younger people have no idea what older people are going through and dismiss them as being “old.” Actually, this is the cycle of human existence and it is frightening to say the least. Younger people have little patience and dismiss the life-long accomplishments and knowledge of older people. It all hurts and older people find themselves discussing these issues with friends who are still alive. What is the remedy for all of this? I do not live through children or grandchildren. My life has to have meaning here and now as me. I have had to dig deep into my soul to avoid crying everyday about what I have lost. Instead, I have had to explore what I have gained. What have I gained in growing old?
Well, I am less afraid to speak my mind, not that I did not in the past…..It is different. I am more apt to step in and give someone encouragement without caring if I get thanked. I am more apt to appreciate my wrinkled skin as a sign of how hard I worked to exist and live effectively. The beauty of age is ageless because I have become more concerned with authenticity than with looks, more concerned with health than weight…never thought I would say that!… It is a kind of unappreciated beauty that society does not relish. White hair means you have had experiences. Wrinkled skin means you have weathered life and won another day. Being outspoken means you have thought about the meaning of life and what you value for yourself and humankind. I never fear the consequences when I feel I can make a difference in helping an animal or person. Politics between people becomes less important, or it should at any rate. Not all of us age in the same way or at the same rate. Not all of us come to the same conclusions about the meaning of our lives. That is what makes the wrinkles so unique….the patterns are representative of one’s own life experiences. It is a canvas filled up, not emptied.
One thing is for sure……I find that when I meet my friends, I laugh a lot more at myself and at them and ignore the pain of age. Daily fears are no longer real or immediate as they once were. I know my time will come when I go away. Where do I go? Will I still be old? Will I meet my loved animals again? The mystery is consuming at times because it is hard to believe my thoughts will cease and my energy will stop. I hope I just drop doing what I love most with no regrets about what I should have done. That means I am alive right now to express and do!!! Yeah!!! Maybe I have won the battle after all.
A friend is always saying, “It is what it is.” Maybe I will change that a bit….It is what I make it now!! That makes my energetic identity eternal.