Becoming the Vibrant Person You Will Remember Being

I woke feeling tired today. Even though I would just as soon have lounged around all morning doing nothing, I got dressed, took a walk, and now I’ve turned on the computer to work on this blog post. After having watched my life mate/soul mate push through the impossible exhaustion of dying from cancer in order to do something, anything each day and now watching my father dealing with the infirmities of old age, including being unutterably weary all the time, I understand the truth. No matter how tired I feel today, in twenty years, I will look back on this time in my life as one of strength and vibrancy, and in thirty years, I will look back at this time as one of incredible youthfulness.

As I mentioned in a previous post, current research by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert shows that while we can see how much we have changed in the past, we never think we will change in future. But this isn’t always true. There does come a time when we know that our advancing years will bring many changes. We know we will not always be feeling the way we do today.

Someone who is dealing with an enervating illness or the weariness of old age, for example, will no longer have an interest in physical activities such as bungee jumping. (Of course, it won’t take old age to rid me of such interests since I don’t have any to begin with. Even if I wanted to participate in such daredevilish activities, my body has a strong sense of self-preservation that simply would not let me step into nothingness.)

Dwelling on the future is as futile as dwelling on the past and brings about as much satisfaction — none. And even if you know what changes will be coming, they probably will not be exactly as you imagined (and maybe you won’t be exactly as you imagined, either), so there is no point in thinking about it. But. . . being aware of a future where you will look back on the person you are today as one who is vibrant and youthful has its advantages. It allows you to do what you want to (or need to) despite your tiredness, and in so doing, become the vibrant person the future you will remember being.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

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10 Responses to “Becoming the Vibrant Person You Will Remember Being”

  1. elainemansfield Says:

    Dear Pat,
    Thanks for this beautiful post about something I also experience. I’m healthy and take good care of myself, but I’m 67. My energy is excellent, but just a bit more fragile than it used to be. And grief is exhausting–even after more than 4 years, I still have draining days of longing and weeping. My husband Vic always said with a hug when I complained about things that in retrospect didn’t matter, “It doesn’t get any better than this, E.” It didn’t get any better than that, and it won’t get any better than this. Thanks for reminding me to be grateful for today.
    Elaine

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Grief is exhausting, even years later. We are always aware of things being not quite right, of needing to put our foot down very carefully instead of striding along without thinking.

      What a lovely memory of your husband hugging you and saying, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Unfortunately memories can’t hug us.

      Sending you a virtual hug.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    From the way you describe your dad, it sounds like the Pope could take an example from him.

  3. Kathy Says:

    So true – have been thinking about this a lot these days watching my step dad struggle with some as yet undiagnosed health problem. And I just spent 6 months with back problems, sciatica, etc that kept me close to home – I thought, “Oh, no, don’t tell me old age starts now!” Well, I’ve fully recovered and back to my daily walks – I so appreciate every step I take with daily appreciation that some day I will look back on this time as so young yet – as my mother tells me – love my mother for that! :)

  4. Malene Says:

    Pat,
    I am continually impressed by your wisdom and insights. It’s strange, though our dialogue has not been abundant, I feel as if I know you, a certain kind of kinship, I suppose.

    Namaste!


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