THE BLOG

Contemplating Death on a Sunny Day in Spain

04/07/2014 11:49 BST | Updated 02/09/2014 10:59 BST

I don't usually resist change, far from it for I have led a life of constant reinvention but maybe now I am facing some new level of change, some finality that my ego is programmed to rail against.

On my walk today I watched a bulldozer demolish a house. This mighty machine tore into the sides of a home which just yesterday sheltered a family with curtains in the windows and a dog on the lawn. I watched as great slabs of stucco and window frames were ripped to the ground, from house to rubble in 65 minutes.

It upset me, I felt like throwing myself in front of the bulldozer. 

Recently I have felt the same way when I see a mature tree being felled. I need to turn away in case I catch a  grimace in its great barked face, sometimes I even think I hear a cry under the buzz of the saw.

It occurs to me that this may be my own mortality raising its voice in my subconscious, pointing to my own inevitable demise. 2014-07-03-image.jpg

If you know me and like me, relax, I am not ill. As far as I know I am the same sturdy oak I was last week. It seems however that I may have crossed a new threshold in the aging process. I have begun the dance with my inescapable truth. 

This is not about worrying that I am going to die but rather about informing the rest of my life with the knowledge that that is where I am headed. Death is not the opposite of life, it is an event in life sitting neatly at the other end of the track from birth.There is a rich perspective to be had from embracing the unique gift of this knowing.

Jane Wheelwright, a student of Carl Jung,created from Jung's works "The Seven Tasks of Aging". The first task, right up there in the premier position is - come to terms with your own mortality. I think Dr Carl and his student knew what they were talking about, so I will not push this new revelation away. It is part of the process, the deepening of my aging experience  and I will do my best to bring it close and hold it gently.

 For the past few years since I have been exploring the lives of men and women 50 plus. During that time I have come to understand that the single most important factor which will impact the quality of life as we age is the ability to inhabit this stage of life fully, to accept its realities and seek the unique energies of this time. Some of those realities are easily welcomed, like time to travel when we retire or the mature confidence which a lifetime of experience breeds. We do not find it as easy to greet the wrinkles and sagging muscle tone or the heartbreak as we lose friends and loved ones.

But there is much for us to learn in the stage of human development which begins at 50-physical,mental,emotional and mystical discoveries,the harvest of our life. We will either  welcome this new self knowledge and move forward with it or reject it and spend our time and effort struggling to keep things as they were. In other words - get on board or be left at the station.

If you stay on the platfrom you will feel at home for a while,there is no doubt that keeping the staus quo can be temporarily comforting,even reassuring. But soon you will notice that you are surrounded by a world in which you no longer belong,then where are you?

The train I have ridden for 63 years is on a bend in the track and it is time for me to look out the window and see where I am headed, maybe I will recognize it, I hope I like the view. And I do hope the journey goes on for a very long time because I have packed a lunch and there is so much more learning to do.