Turning 70 was an aha moment for me. It took a while and lots of processing before the idea that I was becoming an older women began to sink in. Having dear friends and family share my actual birthday day, to witness the event, helped.
Having the very brief TIA, (mini stroke), six weeks later, after the traumatic experiences in Toronto the day of the Raptor’s parade, was a further step in my understanding. The TIA was a surprising and disconcerting event. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me, but it was an important part in my growing understanding that I am different than I was before, although still me. I really do have an eventual expiry date.
I’m on the way to recognizing – and just beginning to accept – that I am becoming old. The sense that people a decade older than me are old but I’m not no longer works for me. Because 70 is beyond oldish, my favourite descriptor for myself over the past few years. It is the beginning of old.
And that’s okay. Embracing rather than running away from the process of aging that ultimately leads to death is now my goal.
Beginning to open to this idea rather than denying it has led to many new possibilities in my life recently. It seems to have opened the way for my creative juices to flow. New volunteer work with our local Community Services is on the horizon. The new, progressive policy of the organization to match each volunteer and their skills and experience with the best job.
Most of us have a vast array of experience and skills to offer. This concept is called knowledge philanthropy. After I opened myself to newness, including the newness of aging idea, my guides instructed me, in quite a specific way, to offer a workshop called Age With Grace for small groups of women.
I am currently working on that. It will take a while as I push through my thoughts and feelings around aging and do my research. The late Kathleen Dowling Singh wrote a Buddhist based book I have found helpful, although I am not a Buddhist myself, called The Grace in Aging. It is a very real book, pulling no punches.
Starting to attend the Threshold Choir, a group of women learning to sing beautiful songs at the bedside of the sick and dying, is another piece of my process. Serious work, quite profound, yet also joyful. For how can I deal with my own aging and ultimate death when I haven’t completed the process of letting go of certain friends and loved ones?
Opening to my aging and dying, although I am still healthy, will continue for the rest of my life. It will to open me to many things and hopefully to a richer life – both out in the world and my internal one.
Love & Light
Copyright 2019 Ellen Besso
Ellen Besso is a Life Coach, Counsellor & an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.