AGEING: AN INVITATION TO NEW SOLITUDE
The new solitude in your life can make the prospect of ageing frightening. A new quietness settles on the outer frame of your active life, on the work that you have done, the family that you have raised and the role that you have played. Your life takes on a greater stillness and solitude. These facts need not be frightening. If you view them creatively, your new stillness and solitude can be wonderful gifts and great resources for you. Time and again we miss out on the great treasures in our lives because we are so restless. In our minds we are always elsewhere. We are seldom in the place where we stand and in the time that is now. Many people are haunted by the past, things that they have not done, things that they should have done that they regret not doing. They are prisoners of their past. Other people are haunted by the future; they are anxious and worried about what is coming.
Few people are actually able to inhabit their present time because they are too stressed and rushed. One of the joys of ageing is that you have more time to be still. Pascal said that many of our major problems derive from our inability to sit still in a room. Stillness is vital to the world of the soul. If, as you age you become more still, you will discover that stillness can be a great companion. The fragments of your life will have time to unify, the places where your soul shelter is wounded or broken will have time to knit and heal. You will be able to return to your self. In this stillness, you will engage your soul. Many people miss out on themselves completely as they journey through life. They know others, they know places, they know skills, they know their work, but tragically, they do no know themselves at all. Ageing can be a lovely time of ripening where you actually meet yourself, indeed maybe for the first time. There are beautiful lines by T. S. Eliot which say: 'And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And to know the place for the first time.'