As I approach my 59th birthday I am surprised to experience myself so at peace about it. The initial empty nest experience of my early fifties left me evaluating my life and all of my past decisions, working through more regrets then I cared to. However, I find my later fifties gives me a feeling of acceptance of where I’ve been and how that contributes to the self-assurance of who I am today. There is a grace and confidence at this age that I was not expecting. I am finding it so very true that for those who try to go through life awake and examining their life along the way, there will be an extra strength that did not come with youth, but was earned over time. Not sweating the small stuff is much easier and the gift of recognizing what is truly important and how short life is makes this age special in different ways than earlier years could realize. Is this wisdom?
In general, Native American cultures respect their elders for their knowledge and experience. In traditional Native American families, it is actually considered the elders responsibility to pass down their wisdom and learning to the young. Elders are held in such esteem that caring for them is done by all members of the tribe. In Japan, there is a “Respect for the Aged Day.” So if you are young live your life now in accordance with how you want your epitaph to read when you’re ninety. And take some time to learn from and care for your elders. If you are an elder reflect on what you have learned and give the gift of passing it on.