There are people who find themselves in the right place at the right time too uncannily often. And I used to wonder if they had a way, which I didn’t have, of recognizing the signs.
Surely, if there was a right time and place, there had to be a wrong one, too, and a wrong decision is all it took to get there.
For years I agonized over making a decision, thinking things over again and again, weighing things minutely. To me, life’s choices seemed either right or wrong, with no middle ground. And to play safe, I usually left the decision to others while I prayed hard.
Then, at age 50, my spiritual search exposed me to a philosophy that demystified many aspects of life, and started me on spiritual practices that have helped me ease the burdens of decision making, nay, the burdens of life itself. Indeed, I do feel lighter and happier and much relieved to have come around to the idea that there are, after all, no wrong decisions, that decisions just have to be made, and that their consequences are laid out inexorably for me, absolutely out of my hands. Like everything else, they are all a part, I’m convinced, of Nature’s irreversible, perfect plan.
Once I figured all that out, my fear of making decisions left me. I learned to trust that Nature would only have everything happen for the best.
Now, I see enough proof of that in my own long life, as well as those of fellow seniors. After my first marriage ended and life became seemingly derailed and more uncertain than ever, I decided to go back to journalism, met Vergel and would find with him, as Nature would have it, happy, exciting consequences.
I was greatly relieved as well to realize that there is no right or wrong time, or place, to be; thus, I felt emboldened to kick my habit of worrying, of retreating precisely to the extreme alternative, to action—paralysis.
Wherever I am, whenever, is the right place and time for me. That nothing happens at random is for me a truth that I like brandishing with a big name to drop, Einstein no less, who concedes, “There’s will in the universe,” the very will that puts everything in perfect order.
When things don’t happen as I planned or hoped—say, I miss something, like my plane—I may get anxious at first, but soon enough count it as a blessing in disguise. Life may not be a bed of roses, but it could be worse. If I can’t just buy that life is perfect, the way it is, I think of it as being just about as good as it gets.
My own life to live
How else could life proceed, but measured in precise time? And, as a senior, I make myself well-aware of the lifetime I’ve already spent, of how much life I’ve lived, of my future possibly being right here and now. All the more then that I should take each moment more preciously than ever, that I have my own life to live—not anybody else’s, not my parents’, not my children’s.
I will not feel limited by age or gender or nationality. Indeed, there’s a time for everything under heaven, as the Psalm says so beautifully. Here and now is my place and time. Whether I live to a hundred or not, I shall welcome the gift of time. Besides, the proposition one smart Alec raises—“Growing old is better than dying young”—has become moot and academic for me: I’ve long missed the cutoff. My concerns are more practical and healthy, if also a little vain.
Cousin Ninit and I take extra care crossing the street to avoid accidents as well as potentially embarrassing headlines: “Two elderly pedestrians…” If it happened not too long ago, we’d have been more sympathetic figures—mere “matrons.”
Truth is, time flies, whether one is having fun or not. Many older—and, yes, still living—role models have stepped up to show how life can still be productive and fulfilling.
So, I’m rolling up my sleeves for both work and fun between now and heaven, which should be yet another time, place and adventure.