When there has been some kind of disaster, a car or ship wreck, a tornado or mudslide, a lost pet or lost friend, and many more such things that can count in disaster in our minds, though may not in others an instinct comes to the fore in our brains encouraging us or demanding that we come together and work as a community to do everything together from rescuing to healing one another. Acting together in concert may not be how many of us operate, but in whatever singular circumstances in which we find ourselves, we also find that there is not much effort involved in participating and that we don’t worry about what others’ opinions of us are. Nothing matters but to ‘make it better’ as quickly as possible. While working at vital, important work we don’t find ourselves worrying about what looks right wrong or what behavior would make us look the best to others, those thoughts all fly and we behave as we truly are or think we are striving to be. Perhaps we all need to be survivors, survivors of our own mind’s solitude and those who teach alone-ness. There’s a community out there, right?
Aging occurs throughout one’s life, indeed it occurs all day, every day. One tends to think of aging as something that only happens in one’s life from middle age to older age, then even older aged. Yet we do most of our aging the most quickly when we are quite young and very young. The growth of the body and of the brain is most rapid when we are babies and toddlers while, generally, the least change happens when we are older. We must know this subliminally since birthdays are celebrated the most elaborately when we are younger and birthdays tend to be forgotten, except the decade years, when we are older. The visible effects of aging on the body include changes in size and function on both ends of the spectrum and the visible changes from aging in the facial features present similarly. However, aging in the more elderly is treated with veneration and there is hardly any or no appreciation for aging in younger or growing people. Granted, in many cultures the major milestones of growth and celebrations for youth merging into adulthood are elaborate and community wide; these rites of passage do not hold the homage to or defer to the emerging adults in the way that many of the elderly are considered wise, with an unearthly spiritual superiority. Even in Western cultures, where older people are often ignored and shoved to the side, there remain fairy tales and old stories recognizing the wisdom and wealth of knowledge older people possess . Also, in Western culture, growing children are often ignored and shoved to the side, left to themselves or to caretakers to raise. It seems that aging is something of a bad word and negative concept in the West. The idea of change in general is anathema; there is, rather, a need to conform to a model of unchanging and inhuman physical and mental characteristics that has led to a very peculiar sense of how to treat members of our own society. I would think that transitions at all times for all ages should be acknowledged and celebrated, wouldn’t you?