Old bones

Old bones

Old bones

I woke up to a grey morning. It rained here last night, but it was not heavy. Still its a welcome and unusual surprise to see a little moisture in the desert.

My first cup of coffee is great. The second is even better. It warms me up and helps me kick start a brand-new day.

Its mid-March as I write this and the leaves have not yet sprouted on the trees. But I hear birds chirping in anticipation of a fresh green world of spring. The weather has turned milder. The clocks jumped forward one hour recently. So, we've crossed that threshold and we're officially in my favorite season of springtime awakening, rebirth and metamorphoses. There are so many adjectives you can use to describe this phenomenon of the world coming to life once more.

If I were a preacher man, I might be tempted to go out in public and yell at the top of my voice for all the world to hear: "Great day in the morning everybody. We're alive again! Hallelujah."

Sorry. I know I need to calm down, bite my tongue and curb my enthusiasm. I just wanted to make a brief mention of how wonderful it is to be alive. And I am. After all these years of ups and downs and stupid blunders; I'm alive! I'm still here strong and healthy with these same old bones still functioning into my seventies.

Golden years they call them; friends, family, memories and all things that make up a genuine quality of life. My latter years do seem to have a golden hue about them.

Many of my friends who exercised regally and paid attention to their nutritional intake; they've been and gone years ago. Not that long ago, people would be happy to reach half my lifespan.

I have a dear friend who is ninty four. She is bright, cheerful and sharp as a tack. She's a gas to hang out and shoot the breeze with. But she is a rarity indeed.

Sadly, in our world, the term "aging" has a negative connotation. There's decreased ability and awareness, lack of mobility, aches and pains and wasting away. The list could go on and on. So many buy into this. Their attention is diverted from the world around them into the declining condition of their bodies, problems, difficulties and brittle old bones. This mindset is very much reinforced by the medical, pharma and insurance industries. Drugs, surgery and medicine, (their prescribed remedies), may increase longevity. But do they help to improve quality of life?

All this has become more real to me in recent years. It didn't hardly phase me when I worked in hospital environments in my younger years. Back then I was sure I was going to live forever!

So more recently I've become curious about the body's end cycle: the death process. This was one reason that I worked as a hospice volunteer for the past couple of years, I got an up-close view of people transitioning through the portal of this life into the next.

My first patients were in their nineties and passed on peacefully in the comfort of their homes surrounded by friends and family. It was a natural event or process with nothing dark or frightening as some may envision.

Later however, I had patients my own age and younger traveling on that route. And here I am, thankfully, still going.

It's been a profound experience and insight into the cycle. There's the miracle of birth and all the joys it brings of new life. There is the success and achievement of a life well lived and complete. And at the conclusion there is death, hopefully with pride, dignity and honor. And the cycle continues just as the seasons.

To me aging is attitude, a state of mind. I see life as something to be lived, experienced, enjoyed and treasured.

So rather than bed rest and medicine, for your condition and demeanor, my prescription would be a walk in the park, a trip to the beach or mountain and a good widespread view of the beautiful world all around you.

So raise your glasses high one and all. Here's to the sun, the moon and the stars. And to LIFE!

Dan O'Connor can be reached at danhughoconnor@gmail.com.