If ageing is not to become an accrual of regrets about loss and unrealised ambitions, present life needs careful nurture about our attitudes to relationships and goals.
From Will Willimon:
I believe that a fundamental secret of successful ageing is learning to affirm the lives God gives us in the face of regret that God didn’t give us the lives we thought we needed to live happily.
If you are a Goa-orientated person, you are accustomed to postponing joy and satisfaction into the future. But then you wake up one day and discover that your future is shrinking. More yesterdays than tomorrows. Successful ageing requires finding a way to love our lives today, regardless of whether or not our cherished goals were reached or valued relationships were maintained. Excessive investment in specific life projects can be a setup for sadness. Therefore, many of us must find joy in non non-instrumental, goal-less experiences. The pleasure of travel or attendance at parties and athletic events in that they have no higher purpose, no other than sheer, gratuitous, momentary, pointless joy.
Ageing gives those of us who have goal-orientated, telic personalities to opportunity to become contemplatives.
William H Willimon, Aging – Growing Old In Church, Baker Academic, 2020, pgs 67-68.