I look at the faces of younger people today and I so wish that I could tell them about time.
How fast it’s going to move as they get older, how they’ll regret the wasting and abuse of time, and how today is the most important day of their lives because tomorrow is never guaranteed.
I’d like to be able to convince them that when they reach my age, they’ll look back at the previous decades as just a blip in time. The memories fade, what was so important 20 years ago is forgotten, and 40 years can seem like 40 minutes.
As I approach another birthday, now in my sixth decade, I feel a sense of relief that I no longer have to prove myself to anyone, and that the confusion we all experience when growing up is largely gone. The struggle to form an identity, build a family or develop a career – all behind me, for the most part.
Now, I sit in my chair, stare out the window and wonder what is next.
If the last decades went by in a flash, what does that say about the finite time remaining? It would seem that the last chapter in my life is the most important. And that carries an increasing degree of pressure as I rush to find a new purpose, before it’s too late.
Added to this sense of urgency is the cold hard fact that eventually, my health will likely decline. Today – every twitch, every little pain – coming out of nowhere – can bring concern. I may not have a long time before something can go wrong, physically or mentally – or both.
The clock is ticking.
And there seems to be a voice from upon high asking “So, what are you going to do now?”
If our lives are to have any meaning, it seems to me that we have an obligation to help others. As in many cultures of the world, elders pass their wisdom down to the young, many of whom today are lost.
I don’t blame them. It’s not their fault they’ve been left to survive in a world of pure chaos.
Indeed, millions lead lives of quiet desperation. And the hurting is far more prevalent than we realize.
So I stare out that window and come to realize an urgent need for more smiles, more comforting words, more support, more love – and perhaps most importantly of all, more respect and acknowledgement of others. Because, despite our technology and modern ways, or maybe – because of it – many are lonely, depressed and void of meaning. They feel forgotten. Believing nobody cares.
I don’t really know if I can help.
But I can certainly smile, take an interest in the welfare of others, and share my experiences, for whatever they may be worth.
Helping others find greater self-worth, to enrich this struggling planet, might just be the best purpose of all.