I’m at a funny age.
I’m 56 soon to be 57, an age where although both of my parents are still alive, they’re becoming increasingly infirm, especially my Mum. Mum is in hospital following a fall and not responding very well after an operation on her hip. For a large part of the time she lies there asleep and unwilling to co-operate with the nursing staff by all accounts. My Dad, who has been married to my Mum for 59 years, and is totally devoted to her, is finding it all very hard. It’s taking quite a toll on him.
Thoughts inevitably turn to either losing one or both of them or more pragmatically, how they’re going to be cared for as they grow older and less able to look after themselves. I’ve talked at length with my Dad, just recently, about the memories that he has of his life and the regrets that he has too and it reminds me that life is soon gone, and that dwelling too much on the mistakes that you may have made is not a recipe for happiness.
Everyone’s life has some personal failures and sadness in it, we’ve all had our share, it’s how we deal with those that determines our overall happiness. I for one have been guilty of letting present happiness be overshadowed by past regrets, but have come to realise that the things I worried over simply weren’t worth the effort.
In complete contrast, I’ve also got two grandchildren, Charlie who is three and Jack who is one, and their approach to life is much different. Infinite possibility and curiosity fills their little lives and as adults it would be wise to observe and adopt some of a child’s playful philosophy on life. Witness how each new word is a gleeful acquisition for a toddler, to be seized upon and said over and over. As we evolve through our lives we gradually lose that childish innocence, to be replaced by adult cynicism and self motivation, a weariness of life and an unhealthy focus on what is wrong with our lives, rather than embracing what is positive.
My advice is simple; give room in your life for play, stop looking back at things you can’t change anyway, never stop learning interesting things, love generously without expecting anything in return, and try to avoid hurting those you love and are loved by.
That’s how I try to live my life these days.
‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.’ ~George Bernard Shaw