What do you fear the most? Being forgotten? Being alone? Getting older? Phyllis Wilson explores how our fears can connect us.
A group of friends and I (all over age 40) get together every month for a dinner party at one of our homes. The evening is really fun. We catch up on the last month and engage in stimulating conversation. The dinner parties can get rowdy as we debate the sexes, religion, politics, or our children. The topics run the full gamut.
On this one particular evening as I was hosting the party, I passed around a deck of circular cards I had created called “Conversation Cards”. On the cards, I wrote such questions as: What one word would your best friend use to describe you? or What are the four things you are most afraid of?
For the latter question, the card was pulled by Renee. She pondered the question and then said, “I am most afraid of growing old and being alone.” The room took on a sudden quietness and I knew I needed to interject something to keep the conversation going so I said “I fear that also.” Then, as if there were a great sigh of relief in the room, others began to chime in, agreeing that they too were afraid of growing old and being alone.
I then began to ponder about what that says abut our society, and what it says for other people in their 40s and 50s. Are we willing to open ourselves up and share our deepest fears? Are we willing to be vulnerable? Are we willing to admit that we are all the same in some sort of way?
I would venture deeper into the topic by talking to others I met to gauge their thoughts on this REAL fear.
Fear is said to mean “False Evidence that Appears Real.” My argument is that “Growing old is not false evidence as we will all grow old, and yet the appearance of age is REAL!”
Bbeing alone at an old age is a real fear felt by numerous people, regardless of gender. Can you imagine how lonely it must be to be in a nursing home with no family or visitors? No wonder the residents’ eyes light up when children come to sing or people come bearing gifts. It is this connectedness for which we all yearn.
Mitch Albom, author of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, wrote “We are all connected… You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.” Have you reflected on your life and the impact you have on the lives of others? Have you considered your life and fears? We should try to live each day so that we can connect with someone and make a difference in their life, if only through a smile.
“old with the young” DougAK @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.