Aging: It’s Never Too Late To Become What You Might Have Been


“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.”

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I was handed a sympathy card the other day and informed about the death of a coworker’s parent; then asked to write something.

Most of us have had this experience; all the “usual” comments have already been written as you search for a spot to add yours. You’re left with the choice of emotional-plagiarism (“thinking of you at this time”) or struggling to find meaningful words to express the loss. For me it’s challenging, death is so final; much easier to sign birthday cards.

Final Acts

On occasion in the ICU/CCU during quiet moments, patients would ask me why they were still alive. My answer was always part science; I’d describe the medical measures taken to stabilize the body—and part philosophical; I’d also explain whatever it is that they are supposed to do in life wasn’t done yet.

This latter point was also the dominate theme at the American Society on Aging conference this year, and dovetailed with AARP’s messaging about Awakening human potential in the second half of life, or the well worn: “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

Doing the Work

“Charles” is a front-end boomer who was in the Marines as a young man, studied Eastern Philosophy for years, is a part-time carpenter—part-time writer, and captivating story-teller.

He invests much of his time in coffee shops engaging in social intercourse—so much so, he expressed concern about not writing enough. The conversation took on the theme of doing the work.

Not offering advice, I informed him that the gods have entrusted him with the gift of story telling—and to not corral them into written form would be the sin he would have to atone for in the end.

His solution was to employ a new coffee shop several times a week to do the work. If I had to bet, Charles will re-create his old setting–it’s in his DNA. Meanwhile the gods will be frustrated…but redemption is always possible.

Is there something you’ve left undone?

It’s never too late to become what you might have been.


Not Dead Yet (the movie)

Author (88) releases first novel

Art of Aging video

When I grow up

The Twilight Wish Foundation 


Comment 1

  1. derattizzazione bari
    November 21, 2011

    till the end it is never to late, good to remember

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