Saturday, 18 January 2014

There is a dead goanna under my step and it stinks

The goanna had been peacefully patrolling our yard faithfully all summer long, keeping away brown snakes whilst not being a threat to us at all.  Sadly we have a not so intelligent Labrador, Minnie Mae, who thought the goanna was a threat to us, so when it ventured under the house Minnie Mae protected us by killing this unknown intruder.  I was very upset that the useful goanna had been killed by the useless dog but such is life.  Now the poor dead goanna is so full of maggots its skin is crawling ... too much information sorry, it is really gross?

Anyway, for some reason this poor goanna has made me think of what I will be like when I am old.  No matter how useful and peaceful I am now, I will get old, and eventually suffer the same fate as the goanna, hopefully in a grave not under a step.  The Bible says "The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty ... they are soon gone, and we fly away."  Life is precious because it comes to an end, I really do want to make the most of it, right to the very end.

In my various roles in the field of Community Development, and as a member of a number of organisations over the years, I have had the pleasure of spending time with a broad cross section of the community.  I have met many elderly people who continue to contribute and inspire no matter how old they get, they have enhanced my life and I love each one of them dearly.  I also have an amazing Nan, she turns 93 soon, she is generous and graceful and kind and every time I see her I leave feeling happy.  So I am blessed to have many elderly role models.

Alternatively I have met many elderly who are bad tempered, threatened by youth, stand in the way of change and generally annoy and alienate most people.  The ones that make you silently groan inside when you see them coming towards you.  The same can be said of any age group really, but for some reason the difference between the two groups seems to be accentuated with age. 

Recently two people in Roma have turned 104, they are still pretty spritely too and they continue to amaze and inspire their whole community.  They have both said that getting plenty of sleep,  eating lots of healthy food and being true to yourself and following your dreams is the secret to their longevity.  There has to be some truth in that. 

Some other words of wisdom from elderly people I have found online are:
  • Look in your back pocket. If you're lucky you'll find some money. If you're more lucky you'll find a note from your girl that says 'I love you'.
  • Don't cook bacon in the nude
  • The grass is always greener over the septic tank
Dr Ye Li of California University is Riverside said "The findings of a recent study confirm that although brains slow down with age, experience and acquired knowledge from a lifetime offset the declining ability to learn new information".  Wisdom really does come with age.

We live in a country with a growing elderly population, if we are lucky we will get to be old people one day too, so planning for and considering what we will be like in old age isn't really all that silly.   Again the Bible says "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day," 2 Corinthians 4:16.  There is hope and purpose even in old age.

I do pray I can be a helpful, kind and inspiring older person, making a positive contribution to my family and community right up until I take my last breath, just like our poor goanna!  If you know me when I am old and I am being obstinate and cranky please remind me of this goanna story :-)

Are there any elderly people in your life that continue to inspire and encourage you?  What sort of older person do you think you will be?

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