Perhaps I missed it—I read mostly non-fiction—but I could really use a story with a title something like This is How You Age Well. A tale of inspiring, even epic proportions. Sound familiar? If so, you may also appreciate the other side of that narrative: YOU may be a good teacher for others who want to understand how to move into their older years with grace and satisfaction.
Even though you might not realize it, you may be perfectly equipped to provide space, knowledge, wisdom or examples of well-being in the latter years of others’ lives. Here’s what you and I might be able to offer those coming up after us:
• Personal witness to God’s grace, especially the amazing parts.
• Objective and personable analysis of younger folks’ preparations for their later years.
• Face-to-face time with middle-aged people coming to the end of their careers.
• Advice about ordinary matters that somehow seem knotty or intractable to younger folks.
• Some elements of family bonding—being a semi-surrogate mother or father.
• Life experiences whose full meaning is now apparent to you.
• An approachable example of love, generosity, beauty, humor, grace, courage, forgiveness and patience—in a variety of circumstances.
• Non-judgmental companionship in difficult times.
• Access to significant others who are part of your personal networks.
• Emotionally honest responses to almost any personal question younger folks might have.
• Shrewd hints and actions that are necessary for navigating the practical matters that arise in old age.
By now you’ve likely figured out what’s important, and may be looking for someone who could use what you’ve learned. You are truly fortunate if you find those people, and then become their sought-after teacher. And if you’re really fortunate later in life, you may get to show others how to die well!
But that’s another story….
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