This week I turned 26 years “old”. Whilst some people seem to become somewhat jittery on the approach to 30, I am not particularly concerned because every week I am privileged to work with thousands of years of human experience. This can sometimes make me feel ill-equipped in terms of my experiences, although I know that in the people around me the resources are already there to tap. I don’t believe that wisdom is something that automatically comes with age, but something I do see a lot in my work with older adults is the level of resilience – a product of experience, social capital, and, yes, a bit of wisdom too. This notion of resiliency comes to me from different directions. Tim Davies has written on the subject of Positive Youth Development which explores resiliency as an alternative to excluding risk from the lives of young people. Of course we all deal with risk everyday – living is risky and we don’t know what is just around the corner. I see people dealing with the implications of cancer diagnoses, bereavements, living with dementia, or coping with a loss of mobility. Seeing the resiliency in the older people I work with helps me come to terms with seeing many of the difficulties older people face.
This is a really short post. I want to round it off with a few quotes:
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
How does one keep from “growing old inside”? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.
Robert McAfee Brow
(We) never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.