I’ve become more aware, in the last few days, of what we are guaranteed by the aging process, and what we are not.  I’m not talking about those little aches and pains we get or disease or any of those things.

I’m looking more at those things which people seem to just assume happen, when, in reality, there is no magic wand, and all require effort on the part of the individual.

First, let me say that increased age only really guarantees one thing:  that you are getting closer to that time when the body you’re in will have outlived its usefulness, and it will be time to let it go so you can move on to the next life…and the next set of lessons (assuming you’ve actually learned the ones you came into this life to learn.  I am convinced that there truly are people who come back several times before they grasp this concept.)

That being said, I’ve discovered that increased age does not automatically mean increased wisdom.  Wisdom is acquired through the lessons we actually learn, and typically, it takes more than a single lifetime to even reach the bottom rung of the wisdom ladder.

I’ve also discovered that people do not automatically mature as they age.  I’m not talking about things like taking care of themselves, holding down a job and obeying most of their area’s laws.  What I mean is learning to treat others with respect, even if you don’t agree with what they’re doing.  Or accepting someone’s choices, despite the fact that they are as far from what you would do as they can be.  It is understanding that nobody (and I do mean nobody, including drug addicts, terrorists, criminals and others we might consider unsavory) makes a wrong choice.  We all come here to learn lessons, and we make choices which put us exactly where we need to be to learn those lessons (hopefully!). 

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is to accept the choices of people I love, despite the fact that, from my perspective, they were hurting themselves or going down a path which was only going to be self-destructive.  Learning that sometimes, all I can do for them is to love them from afar, and send them good thoughts and energy was not an easy lesson, nor one which came naturally! 

Getting older does not guarantee that you’re getting smarter!  Some of us occupying the older generations have made the same mistakes repeatedly before we finally figured it out (and some are STILL making the same mistakes!  Insanity, anyone?), while there are “kids” in their 20’s and 30’s who are so together and aware, it’s scary! 

And finally, getting older is not guaranteed!  Some of us have chosen a life which was meant to be long and, hopefully, fruitful.  Others are here for only a speck of time, perhaps to learn just a couple of lessons of their own, or, in some cases, to help others learn a lesson from their brief life, and even from their passing. 

Admittedly, it has taken me longer than it might have to figure some of this out, but, as I stopped myself from typing “should have”, I realized that, in reality, it took me as long as it needed to.  That’s another thing I’ve learned as I walk the new path which is continually opening up to me.  Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, is exactly where I should be!  That, alone, has been quite liberating!

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for opportunities to assess how far I’ve come, and to be proud of my accomplishments, however small.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to do things better, be kinder and practice what I’ve learned.
3. I am grateful for quiet mornings with coffee and my kitties.
4. I am grateful for the little things in life.
5. I am grateful for my daughter and son-in-law who have taught me far more than I could ever have learned on my own!

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