The Silver not Grey Journey


When I was at University around 20 years of age, I read a quote that touched and inspired me. I wanted it to be my life’s mantra. It was: “You never stop being born until the day you die.” I loved the idea of continual learning and growth. Now, almost forty years on I am reminded of it. I am at a very different life stage, approaching the ending not beginning of life. How can that mantra bear up? This phase of life is a journey of discovery for me. Like any journey these first steps are accompanied by a range of feelings – curiosity, liberation, adventurousness, but also uncertainty and trepidation. I do not know how to navigate this road, and need to learn to do so.

I know what I want. Though my hair is changing colour I want my last phase of life to be silver and bright, not grey and dull. I do not know how to achieve this, however.

There seems to be plentiful advice on aging in terms of how to take care of our health, our finances, our degenerating bodies, but what about the most important things? What about our sense of purpose, our stimulation?

I will be exploring and learning to find my way along this road, hopefully joined by others who are trying to find their way too, or who have already found a useful road map that they can share with me. Maybe the promise in this poem will reveal itself to me.

What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
The night has come; it is no longer day?
Something remains for us to do, or dare;
Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear;
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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