By Lana M
We had a great discussion last week about dying — and along a similar vein, I wanted to write about the subject of growing old.
I have an uncle who retired from a busy and successful life as a real estate man at the ago of 60. He was excited about this change and at a family gathering I asked him, “So Uncle John, what are you going to do in your retirement?”
“Do?”, he asked. “I am not going to do anything! I have been working my entire life and now is the chance to do nothing. I am retiring!”.
His answer surprised me. I can’t personally imagine doing nothing — so I persisted.
“I understand — but are you going to play golf, or garden, or travel? How are you planning to spend your time?”
He did not feel understood and repeated “I am doing anything – I am going to put my feet up, relax and do nothing. That is what retirement is!”.
Five years later and my uncle John has aged about 15 years, he has been diagnosed with Diabetes and has a heart condition, he is losing his hearing and is acting more and more potty.
Comparing this with his earlier dynamic, healthy, active lifestyle — there certainly was a change.
I have told this story to many friends, to acquaintances and even to taxi drivers. And the general response I get back is that when people stop doing, producing, exchanging, communicating — they die. There are many, many people who retire from their careers and continue to live very busy, interactive and productive lives. There are also people who live for many many years in almost solitude, but they are busy with the things that they feel are important. My grandfather lived to the ripe age of 102. My great grandfather to the age of 106.
I have recently been working on a project for my retirement age mother, that will give her work, income, pleasure and fun over the next 10 – 15 years of her life — and she is enthusiastically embracing it as she feels that there is no point to life if you cannot be producing, communicating and servicing/helping people. She already looks 15 years younger than her actual age, so if I am going to follow in her footsteps, I have a good deal.
I found a great LRH quote which talks about ARC and aging, which talks about this point of growing things, creating things, communicating as you get older. This point of being of use – being of help – is repeated.
If there is anyone out there who would like to assist in contributing articles, LRH quotes, stories and successes to the MS2 blog — your communications and contributions are always welcome. And heck — it will keep you young – LOL.
“For instance, an interesting fact that has impressed me several times when I have looked over the Florist’s Guide is that the obituary column always carries little items like, “So-and-so died at Spring Lake or Floral Manor, of a fall down the hillside with a wheelbarrow at age 97.” Or, “So-and-so died of some automobile accident, age 105.”
“Here are people who are growing things, and these people seem to live forever. I have seen some of these old people and they are quite remarkable.
“The quickest way to make a person old is to put him where he is of no use. Take him away from new growth. For some reason or other, affinity goes in that direction. There is something to be known from this if one is looking it over to try to find out why.
“On that person who becomes unnecessary, affinity breaks down. Check up a couple of years later on the man who goes to the old soldiers’ home. One would think with all the rest and quiet that he would be in good shape, but this is not the case. He really looks old. But put such a person in charge of writing advice to the lovelorn in the county and this person would probably do very well, because that is real communication.” LRH Lecture 4 August 1950, Relation of Affinity, Reality and Communication