Tuesday, August 22, 2023




(This bit of fluff first appeared on these pages several years ago. Now, even deeper into Elderhood, it seems more appropriate than ever.)

Sure, I do fuss a lot about our late-life challenge to keep Becoming more than we are. I believe there are ways we can continue to grow, even improve, at our age. Still, I must admit there are times when I wonder how an old fossil like me can pull that off....when it feels like those doubts have the upper hand.

Then, of course, there are times when I come face to face with the sad reality of how much I can no longer do……..those moments when my mind’s ‘want to’ is trumped by my body’s “can’t do.” In those sometimes depressing instances it is hard to believe there is still any meaningful Becoming left in me.

So how do we carry on as late-lifer ‘Becomers’ when the clock and calendar seem to be working against us? Among the many possibilities is one that only we, you and I, each of us on our own, can make happen. Fact is, no matter how age has slowed us down we will continue to create and refine our personal legacy. 

Take a moment to consider the notion of “legacy.” The formal definition speaks of “Something transmitted by or received from a predecessor.” On a personal level we are talking about our life, the way we live, and how that affects those whose lives we touch. 

Passing on our unique, very personal life experiences and the lessons we have learned, is something no one else can do for us. As elder members of our personal sphere of influence we are always in the process of creating and refining that legacy……the lasting impressions and lessons we bequeath to those whose lives we impact. Whether by words, writing, or loving example our personal legacy is a gift only we can give.

I mentioned in an earlier post a book I was reading…….William H Thomas’ “What Are Old People For?” One of his most important answers to that title question reads as follows….“The first task of elderhood is the creation of a legacy that can serve others and be handed down to those who have yet to be born.”

Barry Barkan, founder of the Live Oak Community, puts it this way….“An elder is a person whose work is to gather wisdom from long-life experience and formulate it into a legacy for future generations.”

I would submit that each of us, in our own way, is capable of doing exactly that every day of our elder life. Certainly no one else can do that for us. A lifetime of words, deeds, and attitudes…..of choices made….has shaped the nature of our legacy and continues to do so to this day.

For better or worse, our presence in the lives of family and close friends has and will continue to have an impact. There is no way to avoid leaving our stamp, however modest, on every life we touch. A lifetime of choices made has created the wake that marks our life journey, shaping our individual Becoming and the legacy we pass on to our inheritors. 

We live in a world that is too often seems unwilling to accept that we October/November souls have anything left to offer. Perhaps we sometimes nurse those same questions. Yet we ought not doubt the fact that our life’s example…..the legacy we are still creating, has an impact……while serving as an indelible sign of our own continued Becoming.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

A FUTURE? ....... AT MY AGE?


          A FUTURE? -- AT MY AGE?

From one July to the next……what a year it has been. In the last few days I have noted the first anniversary of Her passing, and remembered what would have been our 63rd anniversary. 

It is that remembering which has me thinking thoughts I wouldn’t normally share in such a public way. Yet a part of me wants to shout about it from the highest hill.

You see, She’s been gone a year now, and there is still an empty space inside me. There always will be. Yet She had been so insistent that I must “Carry on.” Those were Her firm instructions. But what did they mean? How can I do that?

I realize that I won’t replace Her love, or my love for Her. What we had won’t change. For more than 67 years we experienced what seems to me the complete cycle of love.

As youngsters we knew the excitement of passionate, romantic love. In time we fulfilled our naturally mandated role in continuing the species. As adults we launched our children on their own life adventures. 

Along the way I learned my own life lessons ……that material success and status do not produce the satisfaction they promise. Though I may have been a slow learner, I believe that in time I became a more authentic husband and father.

Best of all, we grew old together, helping each other along the way……each of us supporting the other as we shaped the interests that kept us alive and involved.

And then came the time, as it does in any enduring relationship, when one of us moved on to the next plateau, and the other was left to make his way.

In Her absence I still manage to visit with Her most every day. (Some habits are hard to break.) At the same time I wonder how I can know for sure that we are still connecting. Am I actually reaching Her? Is there any way She can reach me when I need Her?

Lately, in my blogging I have mentioned that I want to use my remaining days or years, this time I have alone, in the best way possible.  How can I know what those ways are? What do I owe Her……..and myself?

In this new world of mine I have no interest in replacing what was……that life of young love, raising a family, becoming the adults we were, having a career. Like anyone my age all that is part of my past.

You see, I have reached a new place in life, considering a new future that many of us older folks face……dealing with the challenges of late-life, especially the day after day routine of life lived alone. The question has become, how will I deal with this new place?

Well…….WHAT IF?

WHAT IF I was thinking about a future that includes someone to share these last miles with me, someone I care about, who cares about me……perhaps someone who is facing her own late-life challenges.

For 67 years that soulmate of mine was my lover and Best Friend. But it seems that my priorities have changed. Years ago, in the final pages of the story I titled Best Friends and Promises, Aaron Peck found himself admitting, “At this stage of life I need a Best Friend more than I need a lover.” How prophetic is that? Here I am, living out my own fiction.

So what about the “someone” I have in mind, that ‘Best Friend’ I want in my life?  What if we decide that the two of us don’t have to be together all the time? We certainly don’t need to live together. I, for one, am not ready or able to be a caretaker, any more than I can expect someone to take care of me

But I do believe that being in that Best Friend relationship with a special someone works for me. Is it enough that our connection is nurtured and sustained by emails, phone calls, and occasional visits?

I believe it is. Time will tell.