Summer 2015 Newsletter – To Those On The Journey Ahead

The process of growth and aging is a journey often sought but feared at the same time.

Have you ever noticed how much our culture tends to focus on and cherish the younger generations while forgetting the older. It often seems that we lose interests and value in the older generation, the generation on the journey ahead.

© 2012 – 2015 Vanessa Turner
PAGES OF TIME
charcoal on watercolour paper
20 x 16 inches

In 2013, columnist Sheila Weinstein wrote an article entitled:  “Is the Older Generation Another Lost Generation?” Weinstein stated, “The be-all, end-all of our culture is to stay young.  Youth is revered in this country and old age is something to fear and try to ignore as long as possible. If we, the older generation, were made to feel a respected part of our society, asked to contribute our knowledge, our craft, our wisdom, if you saw our faces in commercials other than ones for Medicare or wheelchairs or bladder problems, if you saw how inventive and attractive we are in clothing ads, if there were more plays and movies written with substantial roles for older men and women instead of demeaning skits that mock aging, if society did not isolate the large aged population into like communities, we would be incorporated into the natural flow of life. And that would make us a richer and emotionally healthier society. Our culture is missing an important segment of the population that has much to give, to inspire, to innovate. But we are not a part of the conversation. “

Luckily the wonderful gentleman shown in the above portrait did not fall into the lost generation. He lived life to the fullest, and at the age of 91 still worked daily and could entertain an entire room with jokes and his positive energy. He and my husband had regular weekly conversations. Though I never knew what they talked about for hours on end, I know those conversations meant a lot to both of them (grandfather & grandson) and they looked forward to seeing each other. But this wonderful man was called to a higher place just a few days ago. And it hurt.

Yet as painful as it is to lose someone or watch another grieve, I think the greatest gift is that his life was greatly valued. His experiences were cherished and he was part of the conversation, part of our lives.  People come and go but memories, and legacies last forever, so though we tend to get overly excited about babies and new life, don’t forget those on the journey ahead of us and the value they too have in this world.