ON GETTING OLD
By Karl Arnold Belser
06 October 2014
I am 74 and I am showing
signs of age. I recently hired a gardener because my joints are
uncomfortable. I am even having some discomfort when I square dance.
Further I am seeing some of my friends become disabled or die. So my
uncertain future is how I handle my aging process.
I think that the key to handling aging is summed up in the Serenity Prayer.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Wisdom is not intelligence. So what is wisdom? According to Wikipedia Wisdom is a disposition to find the truth coupled with an optimum judgment as to what actions should be taken in order to deliver the correct outcome.
As an aside, wisdom (prudence) and courage are part of the Cardinal Virtues , which are prudence, justice, temperance, and courage. These virtues are probably earned and not due to intelligence.
It is dawning on me that intelligence is analogous to computer power and the virtues are like programs that are run by the intelligent person. Learning and practicing the cardinal virtues come with experience, that is trial and error. I wonder how I got through an excellent liberal education at Stanford with out fully appreciating these virtues.
My 7 STEPS TO PERSONAL GROWTH give a similar set of imperatives to those in the Serenity Prayer. They are
Discover (and tell) the Truth
Accept the Truth
Decide to have results.
Pick a task and take action.
Complete what's started.
Try Something new.
The hard part for me is re-examining the truth about what I can and cannot change and then accepting these facts.
I remembered a friend's father who decided to plant a garden at about my age. He died with a shovel in his hand. I have another friend who is about my age who seriously damaged one of her feet in and Alpine skiing accident on a black diamond slope. Would accepting being old have prevented these happenings?
I spent a month with such thoughts, debating within myself as to whether I was fit enough to trim all of my trees and
bushes this year after doing it in the fall for 25 years. I decided that the prudent thing to do was to hire a gardener. I just can't tell the truth ans start over if I am dead.
Last updated October 6, 2014
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