Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thoughts on Grandchildren and Aging.......

This past Friday I went to Jefferson, GA to watch my 15 year old grandson, Chase Wilson, play tenor sax with his high school band in a graded competition with other bands.  They did very well and scored high.  I was moved and inspired by the playing.  I was moved to experience gratitude for the privilege and honor it is to be a grandparent.  

Of course I felt personal pride in watching my grandson play and participate well in the collaborative effort of making music in a band.  But there is so much more available beyond personal pride in looking at the experience from a larger perspective.

It is such a privilege to have watched my grandsons develop from babies, to toddlers and now to budding young men.  And now I get to watch the process all over again with their little sister and very soon to be a baby brother.  The whole developmental process feels miraculous to me, and especially when they have parents who are paying close nurturing attention to their development, as my grandchildren are fortunate to have.  

My age and many years of committed interest in the developmental process for human beings gives me a perspective that allows for seeing the rewards of continuing the developmental process into adulthood and all the way to the end.  And of course my age also allows for seeing the costs of not continuing personal development into adulthood as well.  

As I have said earlier on this site, I am committed to the process for life.  That commitment has given me two insights in the last few years into my own personal development that I was previously blind to.  First, I discovered that I was allowing what I considered my insufficient financial development to color and invalidate my overall development as a human being.  From that realization I now compartmentalize and organize my life into domains of development and create written projects to develop myself in all domains with emphasis on those areas I think need the most work.

For example, with the stroke I experienced 10 months ago, I realized my training and development in the area of fitness and nutrition was insufficient for my recovery.  So I created written projects around that and followed through with action.  One result so far has been the loss of 23 lbs. of weight.  I will share more about the results of my development in the area of health and fitness as the process  continues in future posts. 

A second realization was around aging.  In thinking about my thinking, I gradually began to realize that I was having thoughts and feelings of dread around my aging......thoughts of slow decline, a weakening body, a diminishing future and maybe eventual dependency.  My greatest fear became fearing that my life would turn out to be similar to my Dad’s.  That is a life ending in a slow shutting down decline, severe dementia and total dependency.  I was not very conscious of this fear until I enrolled in a seminar with Landmark Education called “An Invented Life, Your Life by Design”.  In that seminar we were asked to name our greatest fear, share it and complete it.  The moment the question was asked I woke up to that fear, immediately shared it and experienced it in front of the seminar.  It was not a pretty sight but I completed it then and there.  

That began a development process of inventing who I am for the rest of my life.  That process can be the subject of another post or maybe several posts.  Let’s just say for now, that what I stand for is, the rest of my life will be the best of my life.....a life based in new possibilities of aging rather than diminishing possibilities.

For those interested in new possibilities for aging, check out  plus the book, “The Elder”.

Jimmy Wilson