Let this autumn of your lives bring you the best of times. We can’t control politics, the stock market, inflation, climate disasters and illness. We can only do our best with the resources and knowledge we have. Make love the center of your lives.
The holiday season is approaching with Halloween leading the way. Goblins and witches attended by ghosts and skeletons share our homes and neighborhoods. For Floridians, it marks the end of a long hot summer, flash floods, hurricanes and mosquitos. A slight nip in the morning air accompanied by falling leaves and house decorations give a message that autumn is upon us. Soon the clocks will fall back an hour. For those lucky enough to take sight of the glorious colors across the terrain and mountain sides, know that the Wooly Worm will predict how cold the winter will be. Wherever you live, there is a change in the air.
The Seasons in Our Lives
What changes are in your lives? It’s been a hell of a year so far! Looking back through a rear-view mirror, it’s sad to see what we have been through. I will be 83 years old before this month comes to a end. I can’t remember a year with so much sadness, impending fear and loss. I know that loss is part of life, but when you are confronted daily with loss, whether lives we knew or plans that never came to fruition, it can wear your spirit down and cause fears we may never have known before. It’s life itself!
My graduating class of Miami Beach High School, 1957 will celebrate our 65th high school reunion this December, void of many of our classmates this time around. We grew up in the last age of innocence. Elvis changed the world when we were young. He took us out of the Victorian Age into the Sexual Revolution. The world rocked and rolled to the refrains of “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog”. Then came Selma, Alabama and the country rocked with racism. Then came the deaths of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, then Martin Luther King, and the world rocked with something that had never been seen before. Then Watergate and the country rocked with a political crisis.
As children, we had a vague awareness of WW11 and the Holocaust. We were told that it was “very far away”, but nevertheless, it rocked us as we saw the air raids and the search lights spanning the sky overhead. We ducked under our desks in the 7thgrade when we heard the school alarms practicing what we needed to do in case of an attack during the Korean war. We rocked with fear as we crouched under our desks to the threat of annihilation.
The world kept on turning. We felt the possible peril from Khrushchev just 90 miles from our shores. The world kept on turning. Then we suffered through Vietnam, HIV and Aids and the world kept on turning. Then came the never to be forgotten 9/11.
And the world stopped turning; but not for long. It paused only to take a breath and grieve once more. Then the mass shootings, the school shootings, the music festival shootings, and more. The world kept on turning and we grieved again.
Then Covid entered our lives followed by a series of viral variations and the world had a massive shut down that lasted nearly three years. We grieved again and again and again. Suddenly, the world began to turn once more. And last, the January 6 insurrection and the country was shocked and the world was stunned. We grieved for our democracy and the world kept turning. No matter what! The world keeps turning. We wonder how long the world will keep turning!
Now, our class of ’57 is facing mortality and learning to accept our age and what goes with it. Everyone wants to live a long life, but nobody wants to get old. This passage of time comes with all sorts of feelings, aches, pains and uncertainty. We are blessed to have our health and cursed if serious illness falls upon us. The one thing we can count on is time moving on.
Time Doesn’t Stand Still
As we age, it feels like time moves faster than when we were young. Quantum mechanics and physics tells us that not unlike toilet paper, the closer we get to the end of the roll, the faster it seems to go. This seems to be the time to reflect on our lives– our successes and our failures—our gratitude and our forgiveness—our blessings and our losses.
Make Everyday Count
It’s time to take stock in how we lived our lives and how we want to live out the rest of our days. We need to make every day count. Feel grateful for what you have; not what you don’t. Fill your world with kindness. Forgive those who scorned you. Find friends who share your values and principles. Be kind to everyone. You never know the pain and grief they suffered in their lives. No one escapes adversity. Give hugs!
If your family of origin brings you unhappiness, create a family of choice. Seek out others who respect you—who make you feel that you matter and who are aligned with your values. Connection is the answer. Isolation is disaster. Find ways to feel joy. If nothing brings you happiness, try giving it to others. Volunteer! When you help others, you help yourself.
This fall find a new way to bring joy into your life. Not unlike the seasons, we too have a different face for every season. If you are living in the autumn of your life, the next will be the winter, the last season of the year. Be mindful—be conscious—stay present with yourself and with others who you value. Stay close to your siblings. They may be all you have left as you age. Give time and attention to your children and grandchildren, and for some—great grandchildren. Family matters! Make it matter to you.
I don’t mean to sound maudlin. I am excited about whatever time I have left. I still work hard—still spend quality time with my loved ones and feel blessed that I have found someone special in the winter of my life. With each sunrise I am grateful, and with each sunset I feel satiated with whatever I accomplished that day. I look forward to seeing my clients, playing with my fur babies and watching my grandchildren morph into beautiful adults. I take pleasure in seeing my adult children continue to blossom. I have deep pride in their personal growth and who they are today.
My cup runneth over.
I must have done something right. It wasn’t easy. Chaos and disappointment clouded the years, but the sun never disappointed us. It always came up. We all made it through the trials and tribulations of the years. I truly believe it was LOVE. It was endless love, despite the struggles and woes we all suffered. It made us stronger, wiser and more grateful for having each other.
Let this autumn of your lives bring you the best of times. We can’t control politics, the stock market, inflation, climate disasters and illness. We can only do our best with the resources and knowledge we have.
Make Love the Center of Your Lives
See the best in others rather than finding fault. Make Thanksgiving something to give thanks for. Bring your family together and before you carve the turkey ask each one to say something that they are thankful for. You will be surprised how united you are in your gratitude. Pray for a better tomorrow.
Happy Halloween Everyone!