Reflections on Aging by Ken Burton

Some days it feels like I have awakened to discover that I am twenty years older than when I went to sleep. It feels like I should be able to file a complaint about this with some Universal Time Management Authority. I would then receive a response apologizing for this huge mistake, noting that those responsible for it are being disciplined, and promising that the next day, upon awakening, my “correct” position in time would be restored, that is, twenty years earlier. Sure, this is pure fantasy, but it is also how I feel sometimes. Not since I was in my late teens and wanting so very much to be 21 (then the legal age for being an ‘”adult” ) have I wanted so much to be an age different from my current one. And at least then, I could look forward to one day being the age to which I aspired. Now, wanting to be twenty years younger, I get further away from it with every day that passes. In the truly memorable words of Marjorie Bankson (in conversation), “Ageing sucks!” It is one of those things for which I should pray for the patience to accept, because I certainly can’t change it, but I can’t do that, at least not yet, because I do not actually want to accept it, even though I know I have no choice. The best I can do is to try to avoid slipping into denial about my ageing, and to take appropriate steps regarding my health and other matters, even as I indulge my back-to-the-past-fantasies.


Aging is like canoeing in the Boundary Waters by Jacqie Wallen

The map fails you.

Paddling alone in the silver dappled water,

You’re spooked by a crazy loon laugh.

It’s getting late and you’ve a ways to go before night.

On the horizon you see

an unbroken line of old-growth trees.

Boreal forest, they call it, for Boreas,

the Greek god of the North Wind and Winter.

A single mass of land

where you need to find a channel

But as you draw closer,

the waterline becomes jagged

Closer still, and the trees become distinct.

Pine, spruce, tamarack, birch.

The islands separate and you see the way.






“Both/and” thinking — Rohr

The transition to the second half of life moves you from either/or thinking to both/and thinking, the ability to live with paradox. You no longer think in terms of win/lose, but win/win instead. It is a completely different mind. In order for this alternative consciousness to become your primary way of thinking, you have to experience something that forces either/or thinking to fall apart.

Richard Rohr