Wednesday, April 17, 2024


“I am older than I ever intended to be.”

That is a line from the wonderful play and subsequent movie A Lion In Winter. I first heard it in college, which I freely admit was a long, long time ago. I thought at the time that I had an accurate perspective on what it meant.

I did not.

As an aspiring performing artist, I believed at the time that getting “old” was the worst thing that could ever happen. I of course did not stop and consider the alternative. I also ignored the inevitability that if I lived long enough I too would one day be “older than I ever intended to be.”

One of the biggest surprises of my lifetime is how much I like being a man of an age. I will soon be sixty-seven, and the disbelief I sometimes feel around that is not accompanied by any unpleasantness or dread. I feel a greater freedom than I have ever felt. My priorities and sense of purpose are crystal clear. There is a certainty about why I am here, and what I am about. I dwell consistently in a spiritual reality that fuels my living and feeds my serving. I awaken each day with a granular gratitude that I have another day to awaken and contribute more.

There is way more sand in the bottom of my hourglass than there is in the top. Much more of my life experience is now downstream than what is flowing toward me. That does not trouble me at all. It gifts me with an urgency about how I choose to spend my remaining days. It clarifies the importance of applying my values and navigating via my priorities. Purpose is my compass, and my life experiences my map of awakening. I rarely lose a sense that regardless of what circumstances are occurring there is always something greater than the manifest realm with all its challenges and dramas.

My body and physical capabilities are not what they once were. I admit to having more cognitive pauses than in previous years. I see very little detail without the aid of my glasses. What used to be up there is now down here. What used to be tight and smooth is now saggy and crepey. And I humbly embrace that I also experience more clarity, maturity, and wisdom than I ever have. I let things slide off me easily. I have clear boundaries which also grant me a deeper sense of connection. My belonging is free of attempts to fit in, which is liberating beyond measure.

I appreciate deeply that against all odds I am older than I ever intended to be.

In a mostly youth obsessed culture I relish that I have lived long enough to proudly wear the moniker senior citizen. I do not hesitate to flash my Medicare card. I hold no shame around the disability placard that hangs from my rearview mirror. The feet that used to so frequently wear Capezio dance shoes and the latest fashion almost exclusively don Sketchers and Crocs. I have lived long enough to choose comfort over trend, and it tickles me more than I can say.

As I am poised to add another digit to the length of my incarnation I do so mindful that aging is no longer the adversary it once was. I am clear that I have no more mountains to climb. The fact that it is no longer physically possible for me to even climb stairs is secondary. Goals and aspirations have faded as my present moment experience is what matters most. How I am relating to life as it is, is what matters most. While I once wanted to change the world, I now want to simply love it as it is.

To those who say age is merely a state of mind I choose not to disagree. I know what it is to me. I do not identify with it, but neither do I deny it. I have been young. I have been middle age. I already experienced those places in the human experience. I do not need to pretend that I can somehow magically have that again. From this perspective I realize I did not fully inhabit those timeframes. I took them for granted.

And now I am committed to being a vital, awake, contributing senior who is content to be older than I ever intended to be.