Tuesday, September 13, 2022


Some things haven’t changed much in nearly six years. For instance the main thrust of this post from early 2017, rings even more true today…..as I try to move ahead without the inspirational nudgings of my longtime helpmate. 

It feels like I need a kick in the pants to get back on track. This return to ‘Becoming’  felt like something I needed to hear.


When the veneer is peeled back to reveal the reality of it, blogging….pretending to offer one’s own insight or wisdom in the form of a blog….is like most human activities. It is bound to say more about the blogger than the world he or she claims to understand.

That was one of the insights that bubbled to the surface as I took a deeper look at ‘Becoming,’ especially ‘late-life Becoming.’ For more than a dozen years my stories and blogs have endorsed the virtues of using the gifts we have received and the time we have been given. Yet rarely have I paused to wonder where that ‘Becoming’ obsession came from, or what it says about me. Then, somewhere in the course of this return to ‘Becoming,’ a new understanding began to emerge. 

For some reason I have developed an aversion to ‘wasting’ the God-given years I have left. I am not sure if that is normal, or even healthy, and I don’t pretend to understand why that is, but I know that reality will color what follows.


Allow me to introduce Brene Brown, Ph.D., an author and research professor at the University of Houston. As I noted in an earlier post, her emphasis on “growing into our gifts” strikes me as another way to frame the notion of  late-life ‘Becoming.' 

I happen to believe that her closing advice…. “It’s time to show up and be seen” applies to us October and November types as much as it does to the midlife folks she is addressing.

Here is what she has to say.

I think midlife (and late-life) is when the universe gently places her hand upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:

“I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing - these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt - has to go.

“Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and sometimes it feels like you’re more lost than ever.

“Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”



Does that sound to you like good advice? That “It’s time to show up and grow into your gifts”?

I sometimes wonder if I have returned to the notion of late-life ‘Becoming’ because it seems to me that many of my peers have settled for the status-quo, as if at their age they have nothing more to give?  

Disclaimer #1 - If that is my reason, it is far too presumptuous of me. How could I possibly know someone else’s degree of ‘settling?’ Besides, who am I to judge how they live their lives? I have trouble enough with my own.

On the other hand perhaps this ‘Becoming’ obsession of mine is a purely defensive mechanism, sparked by my own weakness….fueled by the guilt of having wasted so many opportunities, and having left so much of my own life undone. Or could it be that my extended exposure to Wayne Dyer’s mind-bending wisdom has tilted my brain in that direction.

Anyway, no matter the ‘why’ of it, ‘Becoming’ ….making the most of late-life in our own unique way….has become an important focus of my stories and blogging---including today’s post. There is even a novel, of which I am rather proud, titled Becoming. And too, the series of blogs I posted last summer, and the resulting book….Living With Dying….turned a spotlight on my efforts to continue ‘Becoming’ in the face of a serious medical diagnosis.

Along the way I have learned that in late-life, when the need to chase the almighty dollar is hopefully less urgent, there are many other satisfying reasons to keep ‘Becoming.’ Best of all there are few rules and no ‘right’ way to do that, beyond what you find fulfilling.

It was that thinking which had me subtitling this blogsite ‘Thriving in late life.’ True, at the time I was referring to our 60s and 70s. Now in my 80s here I am again, back for another bite of the apple. 


So, first things first. Whatever our age and whatever our goal, ‘Becoming’ is a matter of change….of moving some of our thoughts and actions from Point A to Point B. To be clear, that minimal understanding makes no judgment about whether Point B, the result of our change, will be better or worse than Point A. In the same way ‘Becoming’ does not imply any particular outcome, positive or negative. 

There are other things we know about ‘Change.’ To begin with, it is a given….we are always changing. That is easiest to see over time. Take a moment to recall the person you were five or ten years ago. Can you identify some of the ways that you, the person you know best of all, have changed in that time. 

Now, take a peek into your crystal ball. Will the ‘you’ that appears four or five years from now look and feel like like today’s ‘you?’ (I realize, of course, that at 85 it is an act of faith to believe I will even be here in five years.)


Many of us know how October and November can sneak up on a person. By now our ‘status-quo’ has certainly deteriorated a notch or two. Some of what we could once do, we no longer can. It probably feels like we are decelerating….sometimes slowly, sometimes not so slowly. And there are bound to be times when we believe the opportunity to become more than we are has passed us by. 

I don’t want to sound like I spend my waking hours dwelling on nothing but ‘Becoming.’ Truth be told, it was the Living With Dying series I mentioned earlier that renewed my interest in how I could make better use of the time I have left, be it weeks or years. There I was, dealing with a potentially lethal diagnosis. What options did I have? What options do any of us have?

On one hand, we can accept that we are too old and too set in our ways to become something more….whatever that means to us. In that case we can settle for what we have and remember the good old days, while perhaps bemoaning the sad fact that those days are gone forever.

Or instead we can draw on a lifetime of hard-learned lessons to steer us toward a modestly-optimistic use of the gifts we still have in our quiver. Of course, our notions of what amounts to a worthwhile result have changed over the years. In my own hopeful moments I like to believe that my understanding of what makes me ‘whole’ and ‘complete’ has matured with time.

On the plus side, however, I believe that everything we need to create such change is close at hand. Actually, it has always been with us. If I am going to ‘Become’ something more than the person I am now the implied change, however modest it might be, must begin with me. There is no one else who can do that for me.

We are already familiar with the seeds that create change. They are called thoughts, and most of us have them every day….by the thousands. It is our thoughts about a desired result that trigger change, promoting the urge for something more or different….first as a wish, then as a willingness to imagine how a desired change might feel, and finally as a determination to follow through.

Of course our dreams of change must be realistic, as well as age-appropriate. In the end, however, achieving those dreams, whatever they may be, is not nearly as important as knowing in our hearts that we have done our best in that pursuit.


When all is said and done the choice….whether or not to keep moving ahead in our own way, at our own pace….is ours to make. The Divine Life Force I accept as real does not judge how far or how high our Becoming takes us. But rather, the test is how well we live out the Source’s love-based expectations.

To become more than we are today, expending our life energy, however limited it may be, on what we perceive to be a higher purpose…that is my idea of a worthy goal, something to strive for. That is especially true when those energies are pursued in the name of love, kindness, and caring, as opposed to meeting our need for ego-gratification.

You remember, don’t you….those dated images of late-life as ‘rocking chair’ time? I believe we are called to make it more than that. What form of ‘more’ works for us is our choice to make. No matter what we have in mind it will always begins with the same first step….a thoughtful decision to change, to keep Becoming.

Saturday, September 3, 2022


I realize that the subject of aging, with its trials and possibilities, is well covered these days. I for one have filled a lot of blog pages writing about the pros and cons of late-life. I must admit, however, there is one bit of  late-life reality that seems to have escaped my attention……until recently.

As sometimes happens in this time of life, I have been on my own for a couple months now……dealing with her absence and left to make sense of life alone. Fortunately I have had lots of support from the four ‘helpers’ we created over the years. Still, at least once a day that lovely lady makes her way into my thoughts, reminding me “You can’t quit living. Get out your to-do list and get busy.”

The history of my situation is simple enough……. and not all that uncommon. You see, my beloved helpmate, the one who picked me up when I stumbled, has moved on to a better place. Though I live with son Terry, and he is a big-time help, he works all day, while I am home alone. Can you see where that might lead……leaving an eighty-five year-old misfit on his own for six or eight hours at a time?  

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a particularly sociable guy. I don’t mind being alone. In fact I generally prefer it that way. On the other hand, when I listen to my children what I hear sometimes sounds like an unanimous declaration ……that Dad is too old to be on his own. 

That in turn seems to call for a special sort of help. Perhaps something the old guy could use to summon assistance, if ever that was needed. Something like a simple button, a distress call he could press from anywhere around the house or yard. Well, that sounds doable, doesn’t it?

You’ve heard the pathetic, whining commercials on the tube……”I have fallen and I can’t get up.” Seems to me those ought to be the words of an infant, learning to walk. But in fact they are spoken by an elderly man or woman struggling to do what any six year-old can manage. Since those ancient folks cannot pass that test on their own they must use what seems to me a hi-tech device to summon help.

Well, my ‘device’ was delivered yesterday. I knew it was coming, of course….. so its arrival was not a shock. Instead it is the unsettling realization of what it represents…..my perceived need for that bit of help…..that has me wondering.

Don’t get me wrong. The necklace itself is not at all uncomfortable or hard to wear. As far as I know it works as intended. But that doesn’t answer my obvious question……why are my own kids so sure that I need it?

After all, at eighty-five I still get around pretty well…..for a fellow my age. Sure, I use the hand rail on the steps, and pause to get my balance when I get out of my chair. And some things take longer these days. But beyond that what are they so worried about?

True, the ladder incident did land me in intensive care for a few days, but that was a freak thing……broken ribs, punctured lung, fractured clavicle, and bulging vertebrae. Besides, I don’t do ladders any more. And the fall off the trailer wasn’t nearly as bad……though I do remember that a fractured pelvis hurts a lot.

So what kind of mischief can an old guy get into around his own house? I can only imagine. Could it be that our offspring have it right after all? Without Mom on hand to keep the old man out of trouble perhaps it is best to rely on a hi-tech necklace.

I suppose it’s worth a try.