Saving the Best for Last

By Don Arnoudse | Bio


In his wonderful book From Age-ing to Sage-ing,
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi notes that the Bible is lavish in its
praise of elders. ”It considers gray hair a crown of glory and wrinkles
a mark of distinction.” This really got me thinking. What if we
regarded the last part of our life—let’s just say the years after our
hair goes gray—to be the “crowning glory of our years”? Wow! What would
be possible from that perspective?

On my 50th birthday, I
received cards, intended to be funny, about how I was now a member of
the “over the hill gang”. At 50! This year I will be 60. What if I
picture myself at the top of the hill—with the full intention of
staying up there for a good long time? What would be possible?

If our gray-haired years were truly our “crowning glory”, we would:

  • Be thrilled at finally being old
  • Continue to be curious (but with great calm)
  • Be free from striving and trying to prove ourselves
  • Take the time for deep reflection and contemplation
  • Be busy distilling wisdom from a lifetime of experience
  • Generously offer our legacy to younger generations
  • Be grateful for this stage of life
  • Make our peace with our mortality
  • Be quick to forgive and slow to blame
  • Often take the perspective of the “greater good”
  • Value a good dialogue without concern for who’s right
  • Leave the world a better place than we found it

My
mind is brimming with possibilities. The crowning glory of my years.
Not the fading remembrance of better days gone by. An eager
anticipation of the future, grounded in a feeling of satisfaction for
life already lived. A continuing hunger for learning, combined with an
ease with what I already have spent a lifetime learning. A premium
placed on relationships and community higher than material possessions
and collectibles. An awakening each day with anticipation of what will
unfold. A sense of being cared for by an intelligent universe.

What,
my dear reader, do you see as possible if you envision your last years
as your best years—the “crowning glory” to your life? Please join in
the conversation. We’re in this together, you know.

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