While this friend wonders about cognitive losses, others our age wonder about other unknowable aspects of aging:
Wondering if savings will last a lifetime....or not.
Wondering how long health and mobility will last.
Wondering what will happen if and when we lose the capacity to live on our own.
Wondering how one would cope (and hoping never to find out) with the loss of a spouse.
Wondering how to make a difference now that life has changed so much from the hectic working and family raising years.
Wondering if this is all there is....
These days, we wonder a lot of things and so many of these thoughts anticipate pain and loss. So many are simply unknowable.
And while we can't know the challenges that life will bring tomorrow, next month, next year or five years from now, we can do what's possible to ease our fears. We can safeguard our health and mobility with good self-care: healthy eating and regular exercise. We can stimulate our minds with daily challenges -- learning new things, reading, crosswords, puzzles, good conversations instead of vegging out in front of the television set. We look for positive ways to make a difference -- with grandchildren and by volunteer work in the community, through church or other organizations that help those in need, by working with animal rescue or for other causes that are meaningful.
And we can engage in another form of wonder. Instead of focusing on the negative "what if's", we can look at what is and celebrate everything that's good about today.
Think about your own life in all its complexity -- and wonder.
And you might be thinking: Isn't it a wonder that:
Today, I'm fine. I feel reasonably well. While I'm not physically the person I was at 25 or 30 or even 40, I'm doing well for my age physically. Maybe I'm even better now emotionally, having weathered so many of life's challenges and knowing that I can survive pain, disappointment and loss to celebrate each day as it comes.
Today, there is enough of everything I need. Okay, maybe I don't have everything I want. But I do have everything I truly need.
Today, despite any physical limitations I might have, can be filled with the joy of touching the life of another with a smile, with gratitude, with kindness.
Today, I have many opportunities to make my own life -- and those of others -- better, healthier, more rewarding.
Today, I can experience the pleasure of generativity: encouraging a younger person to follow a dream, to take a risk worth taking, to believe in himself.
Today, I can look back on a life well-lived. I can hope for many more good days. But if my life were to end tomorrow, isn't it a wonder to know that, overall, my life has been good.
Today, my beloved spouse is here beside me. I won't miss the chance to tell him or her how much s/he is loved and cherished.
Today, I'm here. Too many people I've known have not had the privilege of growing older. What a wonder that I've lived to see today and what a perfect day it is to learn, to grow, to celebrate and to love.