Should we still have ambition in our senior years or is this just a time to give that up? That is a question that has been dogging me lately. My wife, for the most part, has not had much ambition, at least by my standards, for the last twenty-five years. She is totally content to live her daily life in exactly the same very passive manner day after day. She does not see the need or desire to become involved in much of anything; she does not dream of things outside her usual daily existence. I on the other hand can’t seem to shake still wanting to do things that make a difference in my life. She tells me I am getting weird when I mention such things.
Just what is ambition? Here is what the dictionary says it is:
Am·bi·tion [am-bish-uhn] Show IPA
1. an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor,fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment
2. the object, state, or result desired or sought after.
3. desire for work or activity; energy.
verb (used with object)
4. to seek after earnestly; aspire to.
I want to have a reason for my life even, or maybe particularly, in my senior years. I am just not satisfied with lying back and letting life flow past me waiting for the end. I guess this goes back to one of Will Roger’s quotes that I posted about recently and that is success is being satisfied with your life. Maybe I still have ambition because I am just not satisfied with what I have accomplished so far.
I realize that There are things that I have discovered in my senior years that I wish I had known much earlier in life. It probably would have changed my life path in significant ways. Too bad we can’t carry this life’s experiences and knowledge into the next one. That is assuming the a next life actually exists.
Does there come a time when ambition must go by the wayside? I just don’t know the answer to that question but I personally don’t think I will ever give up aspiring to new challenges in my life.
“You end up as you deserve. In old age you must put up with the face, the friends, the health, and the children you have earned. – Fay Weldon
The quote here could be paraphrased as “You get what you deserve..” and there is certainly some wisdom to those words. When you start approaching the end of your life and aren’t all of us doing that all the time then you end up living with the consequences of your past experiences. Lets start out at the back end of this quote and work from there. More…
I have been doing some investigating of what I have been posting lately and decided to re-purpose one of the blog categories. Instead of Seniors Only you will now find Wisdom of..
I have come to realize that I really don’t have a lot of advice for other senior citizens about how to live their lives. I’m pretty much muddling along like everyone else, so I will leave the advice stuff to some of my blog friends who are much better at it that I ever was. Instead I am going to use this new category to generally talk about quotes from fellow senior citizens; all of them much more famous than I am . Most of the quotes have one and maybe all three of the following qualities.
- lessons for life (ie. wisdom of the ages)
- at least some level of humor (which I can’t go a day without)
- irony of growing older and supposedly wiser.
I have collected hundreds of these types of saying so I will drag out that file and dust it off. I will be leaving the archive “Seniors Only” stuff inside this new category so that they can be referenced in the future. Since the old and new category are somewhat related it makes sense to do this.
Lately my posts seem to stray into darker waters than I generally intend so this will be a way to shed some of the murkiness and add more laughter. We all need more laughter in our lives especially during these times.
I hope you enjoy the change….
Great artists say that the most beautiful thing in the world is a baby. Well, the next is an old lady, for every wrinkle is a picture. – Will Rogers
I guess some people are just not historians, either at the personal level or otherwise. When they begin to see a wrinkle or two on their faces they rush to a plastic surgeon. For those less affluent they make a panic trip to the drug store for the latest anti-wrinkle cream. The latest reports show that in the U.S. we spend more than $10 billion per year for Botox and the like. So many just refuse to accept the beauty of a wrinkled face.
Like my grey hair I pride myself on all the wrinkles I have. I have earned every one during my years on this earth. They make it clear that I am not some youngster who is naive in the ways of the world. I have been around and my wrinkles show you that maybe you can learn a little from what I have to say. No, that is not a picture of me in the photo here. I am not nearly as good-looking as that fellow.
I don’t know when becoming a mature person went out of favor. I certainly looked up to my grandfather even though he passed when I was about ten years old. I certainly enjoy visiting him on his pig farm and listening to all the stories he had to tell. He had a belly laugh for every time he told me to go collect the eggs and then watched the old rooster chase me around the chicken coup. He was quite a character who I really loved.
Some cultures still show total respect for their senior members. The elderly are considered the patriarch of the family and no important decisions are made without first referring with them. But it seems that in the U.S. we now consider our aged a liability instead of an asset of knowledge and wisdom. We lament about how they are sucking up all the healthcare dollars at the expense of the rest of us. They say that the money we paid into social security was no more than an ordinary tax so we shouldn’t expect to get any of it back now that we are aged. I don’t know what happened to create this rationalization?
Irregardless of how others think I revel in my experiences, wisdom and the wrinkles that the years have given me. I am no longer jerked about by the latest fad or whim. I continue to wear what I wore two decades ago in spite of the fact that it is no longer in fashion. I don’t waste time on things that I see no value in. Call me eccentric if you want; I really don’t care. But if you care to listen I do have a thing or two to say that might help you in your passage through life.
So, Will here is to you. You got it right again. But I think I will add us guys to your quote. There is beauty in every wrinkle and each one of them is a story.
But what do I know
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Since these verses have so much meaning I have been inspired to visit them again. The above text comes for the third chapter of James’ letter. Unlike Paul’s many letters that were written to one particular congregation, James’ singular letter included in our modern day Bible was specifically written to Christians in general. That is it was initially written as intended doctrine not to address a particular problem found in a single church and then later applied to all.
It helps us understand that there are two kinds of wisdom in this world. One is self-centered and worldly, the other is from God. As usual James says “walk the walk”, “actions speak louder than words”, “don’t be all talk” or any other of your favorite sayings. When you do good deeds they must come from humility. If they are done for self-seeking reasons they are tainted from the very beginning.
Another lesson is that humility comes from wisdom. Whatever is the opposite of humility certainly does not come from wisdom but from selfish ambitions. Here are some antonyms for humility: arrogance, assertiveness, egoism,pretentiousness, pride, self-importance. Take your pick as to which might apply. Being full of yourself does not come from wisdom. James goes on to even say that pride, self-importance, and all the other descriptions comes from the devil himself!
James mentions “peace” several times in his description of heavenly wisdom. He also includes “full of mercy”. Jesus also said “blessed are the peacemakers”. Peacemakers seem to be a central part of what it means to follow Christ. Where does that leave those who think that war is the answer to all of today’s problems? Let us always look for way to make peace before immediately plunging into war….