Loss And Gain

Blog#159- 5/30/23

By Richard Davis

It’s helpful to check in and try to understand your place in the universe every so often. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day madness of the world and move around less thoughtfully than is healthy for us. Taking time to just sit back and reflect can be a form of self-guided therapy.

The older we get the more the ledger moves toward loss and away from gain. As the decades roll by it seems as if we are climbing some sort of imaginary hill adding years and experience to our working and personal lives.

Of course making generalizations is always dangerous and what I am talking about is the perspective from my little corner of the world. There comes a point where the scales seem to tip more toward loss than gain. The changes are subtle at first.

You begin to realize that you are not going to many weddings anymore but you are attending a lot more funerals. The obituaries become mandatory daily reading and you find that there are more and more people who you know from different parts of your life who are passing on.

That leads to more reflection and the realization that your life will be printed out in a public place sooner rather than later. No one escapes death, but too many of us don’t prepare enough for it and we tend to believe that it is something that will happen a long time from now, no matter how old we are.

I suspect that if one were to gather statistics about when people buy cemetery lots they would find that a large percentage of family members only do so close to the time of death or after someone has died.

Making the effort to buy a plot and shop for a gravestone forces us to confront our mortality. We can make it a painful experience or we can use it as a time for reflection. If we make those preparations well before death it will provide a good start to ongoing reflection.

There seems to be a few camps when it comes to cemetery plots and gravestones. There are those who want to make sure no one else in the family has to deal with such arrangements and they buy the plot well before getting old. The procrastinators may leave a sum of money in their will and direct someone to take care of details and others do nothing because they just don’t want to think about anything related to dying.

As our lives move along there are many more losses that we have to deal with besides those that are connected to death. Once we realize that we are on the downslope of the curve it can become tempting to become negative or to give in to problems that we have to deal with and end up in the tent of those who stop living and wait for death to come. Most of them don’t realize that they are in that waiting pattern but if they make an effort at self-reflection they might be able to pull themselves out of the rut they are in.

I have seen too many of these people over the years, mostly as a result of working in the healthcare field. It has given me the ability to have a better perspective on the declining years and it has helped me to avoid falling into the trap of simply being someone who is sitting in God’s waiting room.

Aging is physically and emotionally painful. As the trite saying goes, “Getting old is not for sissies.” You have to make an effort to not let all the loss that surrounds you bring you down. It is not an easy job, but if you want to make the best of a difficult time of life you have to decide that the effort is worth it.

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