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Library Burns... take two

Excerpt for Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging


It’s true, when an old man dies; a library burns down! It sounds so sad, but it is a great tribute to our Elders. Tell me what the oldest person you know lived through; World War II, the Depression? One of my favorite friends was born in 1909, just a few years after the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. She was five when WWI broke out. Can you imagine the chapters and books of her life? Sister Jean Chittister, in her book “The Gift of Years,” is emphatic that it is this season of life that produces the fruit of time, experience, and wisdom. She quotes the Hasidim, “For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of harvest.” She says, “It is the distribution of that harvest to the rest of the human community for which we look to the elders among us. Old age is the treasure-house of history.”

Every Elder is a living story. Doesn’t it make sense that the older we get, the more internal focus we will have? We can be free from many external trappings of life, and time is ours to manage. We can decide to live and think differently. Downsizing is one significant piece of this journey. If you embrace this journey to discover your true self and impart your personal story, why not get rid of all the stuff you’ve saved? Your story is now an internal one. Have fun giving treasures away! Set yourself free from rooms that you don’t use. Walk away from the attic and the basement of unopened boxes. The simplification of life helps in focusing on what is essential. Every time I walk into a retirement community, I think the Library of Congress has nothing on these folks!

“For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of harvest.” Hasidim

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