Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Winter of our Days

The Winter of our Days

by Stephen Martin, MFT.


I know, I know.

·      “Growing old is not for sissies.”

·      “I have no energy.”

·      “My entire body aches.”


Yes, we have all heard the disconcerting comments about aging. And of course they are one side of the aging process. What is there to look forward to in the winter of our days?


The lessons we have learned are not truly formed until we reach the season of winter. First comes spring, a new birth. Then comes summer, the young adult phase. This is followed by autumn, the adult preparation time necessary for us to face the winter of our days.


Without spring, summer and autumn, winter would have no meaning. Winter can only be understood within the context of four seasons. It is the winter that it all begins to make sense and we begin to learn to finally live with ourselves.


Self-acceptance begins to sprout, and we feel more joy and love for others than we have ever felt before. It is not until the winter that we realize that every day really counts because there are fewer of them before we reach the end. The capacity to living in the “now” is one of life’s major lessons, and without that capacity, we will never truly with at peace with ourselves. For it is living in the present moment that allows everything to be sharper and clearer. We learn how to focus and truly enjoy “now” rather than multitasking and ending up doing nothing while going around in circles.


Winter is also a time for solitude and self-reflection — not so much solitude that we become fearful of other people, but enough that the time to think is completely available. It is during winter that the conclusions to all our stories finally arrive and the plot of our lives finally makes sense.


In winter, we as humans are less hostile. They say it is testosterone in the male that creates war. With age, testosterone decreases in the male. Maybe with aging we finally wake up to the utter stupidity of war, and the destructive competition where others are hurt just so we can feel like champions. Older people are nicer people. They are not looking for a fight.


The best part of the winter of our lives is spending time with our friends and family. Most people give and receive such love and support in their families and circle of friends. In winter, many of us find grand parenting. Being a grandparent is said to be one of life’s greatest joys.


In winter the concept of love is completed. Love is the fascination of poets, writers and singers. I have felt love for others and I have felt it from others. I assume everyone else has had the same experience. We cannot physically see this thing we call love, but we can feel it. It can motivate us to action. It can cause us great pain. Love is the ultimate glue that holds a group of people together, while war and fear are what drive us apart.


As we age, we generally yearn for peace. Gone are the days of outrage. Gone are the days of war. Old soldiers fade away and furious males become gentler.


It is in the winter of our days that it all finally comes together, it all begins to make sense, and we finally face the wall where our consciousness and our bodies are separated.