Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Age and Its Many Faces

Memories can happen with the simplest of events igniting within us thoughts of times gone. Travelling down a path I walked with my father as a very young boy I remembered those days with a fondness. It had changed, as all things do. Where there once was just a path worn by the tread of feet now there was a tar macadam path. Where there had been edges to look over in excitement now there were safety fences. All of the adventure had gone now it was just a nice footpath to be walked, or run. Every so often a little fingerpost to guide one on the way and the warning signs of steep banks and deep water.

Time moves on for all of us. Each day is another step on the onward journey. The ancients were fond of telling us that there were things that would only be learned from the process of ageing. That is true. Yet nobody ever wants to really acknowledge that we are growing older all the time, and the older we get the less we want to admit this. But let us reflect on what this for just a moment.

Rather than concentrating on the span of years let me give you this to consider. There are different levels of consciousness, depending on the age we have reached. What the teenager knows, (even though they often think they know everything) is just perfect for being a teenager. In fact those who try to stay as teenagers long after they have moved past that age can look so foolish. What the elderly does is perfect for the elderly, anyone else who mimics the elderly can be accused of being ageist, and look foolish. There are benefits for each age and each level of consciousness. It would be good though if there was more respect between each age of this fact. There is nothing wrong with being in tune with ones age; it is the way of the Tao.

Now here is the important bit. None of this means that we cannot begin new things, things that others might have begun much earlier in life. There are people who begin running marathons when youth deficiency is beginning to raise its head. What must not be ignored is having started late there will not be much opportunity to represent your country at the Olympic Games. That come from the consciousness of the age, so they run to be the best they can.

Art offers new opportunities for all ages. It offers the feeling of new beginnings and a feeling of adventure and freedom. It allows expression for all at what ever level of consciousness. It bridges the gaps of thinking and allows expression of thought. I will be the expression that grows from the level of consciousness but that is the way of Tao.

Where so much of the adventure of life is being factored out for the artist each new project is one of adventure.

I had another thought that we need to take time to learn. It is important to take time to learn at all stages, and to give ourselves time. If life is a constant rush and we have no time to learn at each stage of life then we will arrive at old age having learned nothing.

The painting above is the portrait of a man full of worldly wisdom.


  1. Had to come back to this article. A story in a national newspaper told of a woman who was killed by a car crashing through her wall, hitting her while she watched tv. For forty years she had not left the security of her home ... she was convinced she would be hit by a car and die.
    To have wasted those 40 years without learning, without trying, without living; what a shame. We do need to allow ourselves time to learn; if not to operate the latest electronic gadget....to learn who we were, who we are and yet who we may become.
    My 92 mother has this 'why not theory'...."why not, you don't know what I may yet learn" she says. And, she is pretty much game to try almost anyting her 92 years will allow. I can but hope to hold onto her theory.

  2. I had an old aunt, dearly loved by all. She was dearly loved because she saw all life as positive. At the age of 100 she still lived alone, even after having aleg removed. When it was suggested she could go live in a retirement home her reply was as expected. "Oh no those places are full of old people. I am not going there."