Friday, July 19, 2013

View from ahead

I have been reading Dr. Oliver Sacks' books for many years -- 20, or more. He is a thoughtful and wise man.  Recently an article by him was in the New York Times Magazine. He wrote about his father's attitude toward life at age 80.  Dr. Sacks isn't 80 yet, nor am I.  But we are both thinking ahead.  Sacks wrote:
My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty.
At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.
I am looking forward to being 80.
- Oliver Sacks in The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.) – New York Times

A positive attitude toward getting older I wish everyone could feel. I hope I feel that way at 80; I wish I were able to write as well about it sa Sacks did.


Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I will let you know in 2 more years, I'm almost positive!

June Calender said...

And the 80s might be a wonderful decade - I hope so.