Age has no reality
“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.”
— Gabriel García Márquez
Ah, but the physical world is so real and powerful to us; it’s the “very persistent illusion” that Einstein described. Even if we agree with Márquez, or at least want to agree with him, we may find ourselves at the mercy of fatigue and frustration as our physical bodies weaken with age.
Yet it can take so little to open our eyes to the truth of the bold words quoted above. The refreshment of a spring breeze, the notes of a beautiful song, the laughter of a baby — in seconds we are young again inside, if only for a moment. Our essence is indeed resistant to the passage of time, and this is a powerful argument for the author’s assertion that our inner lives are eternal.
Today, I invite you to live out the claim that “age has no reality except in the physical world.” Seek out the words, sounds, sensations and sights that touch the youthful vigor of your spirit. And remember – if eternity means “always and forever,” that means it has already begun, and you are part of it! It’s a thrilling and sobering thought.
One year ago today:
This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.
- Posted in: Uncategorized
- Tagged: age, aging, eternity, experience, getting older, gratitude, life, optimism, reality, soul, spirit, youth
Good morning, Julia!
I totally agree with you and Einstein!
(Again, you see, great minds thinking alike – ha!)
Having recently visited my parents, and aging a bit myself (oh, woe) I was wondering if grieving the loss of our own lives starts now, or may have already started …. So, for example, I may be in “denial” when I attempt difficult physical feats that were easy in my youth (like turning a cartwheel)? Or I might have “depression” about my aches and pains, or “anger” about accidents that caused the joint damage that is now manifesting as aches and pains?
Then today I read your blog and follow links down rabbit holes and am soon reading an article about our expectations for life at different ages:
So interesting to ponder.
Thanks again for the mental work-out! I hope this stretching keeps me limber!
Interesting article, Susan. It’s not surprising that those over 65 do not expect the future to be better. How on earth could it be, when the body is breaking down, illness and death loom on the horizon (if not already present), the losses come one after another, and the gains are minimized as the world we have always known disintegrates gradually into something we could never have imagined in our youth? Whether we had a hard life or an easy one, with rare exceptions, it doesn’t look to get any easier after 65. But by now, most of us are accustomed to not getting what we dreamed of, and are content with less. Smaller joys become more important, and we do not envy our younger counterparts, who will learn these same lessons as time goes on– and possibly learn them in a world that has grown even more harsh that the one we knew. Those of us with faith in an afterlife look to that hope for our optimism, and those who believe it all ends in death will surely at least relish the idea of rest from grief and labor. Old age is a mixed bag, but one that most of us choose gladly over the alternative.
My mom is one who will say of old age that “it beats the alternative.” My mom is also very healthy and agile, unlike her mother, who moved around in pain and with visible difficulty, and said things like, “don’t ever get old.” (Other than that, she wasn’t a morbid personality!)
Probably the difference in how they saw old age has something to do with how hard it was for them individually. Life isn’t fair and we each are dealt different hands, some much more painful or difficult than others. The wonder is how remarkably most people adapt to that. We like to pretend equality of outcome is possible, but it is SO obviously NOT possible! Still, most of us end up treasuring the gifts that come with living, and putting up with the rest.
That’s very insightful. I agree. I think my mom’s life, from growing up until now, has probably been much cushier than her mother’s.
Grandma not only had polio as a child, but her mother died shortly after Grandma’s younger sister was born, and then their dad died of suicide when Grandma was in her teens, leaving Grandma to raise her little sister.
Come to think of it, my life has been pretty “cushy.”
Yes, most of us could say the same, no matter our ethnic origins or individual circumstances, compared to those of our ancestors.
What a priceless treasure: Great-grandfather & Grady!
Yes, now that none of the people pictured are part of my life now, I treasure the photo even more.