A Gift of Getting Older

A great gift of getting older, of becoming old, is to realize that I, too, am a precious vessel — quite apart from any idea of self-worth I might have, quite apart from anything I may have accomplished. I’m a precious vessel because of all that I’ve seen, all the stories I know, all the images and memories that will die with me. In this way, we’re all precious vessels. And it isn’t that we must get frantic about preserving all we’ve seen and all we know. Preserving all the stories isn’t a human possibility, for all will be forgotten one day. But to know that I’m such a vessel, as you are, makes me more attentive, makes me more available to anyone who asks for what I know, makes me speak more carefully, with less of the judgmental and more attention to nuance — makes me try to speak more slowly and reflectively, and to be like… an older man, the kind of older man I once admired: tolerant, receptive, at ease in his age, not trying to be anything he isn’t, not trying to be younger.

–Michael Ventura, “Across the Great Divide”; Psychotherapy Networker, Jan/Feb 2005

I love this guy; I’m grateful he pours out his words for the rest of us to soak up.

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