Note To Boomers
The sunsets are deeper and richer now, as our experience of life allows us to experience feelings and textures we could not even imagine in our youth. But they are also far fewer, as we reach an age when we can no longer live as if we will never die. And this reality presents us with a basic question: how will we spend our remaining years?
This question becomes even more urgent when we realize that they are only “years” when we think about the future. When we will be on our death-bed, looking back to this moment, it will have passed as if an instant, as if in a distant dream.
The intense pain we experienced in our youth - at being abandoned by elders who were willing to see us die in a war we could not support and which killed millions of innocent peasants, at a society that seemed willing to tolerate injustice we could not – also was a wellspring of creative activity unlike the world has seen before or since. Angry and often on drugs, we did always behave well. But we were alive, and society has been – on the whole – better for it.
But as the years wore on the pain of being alive took its toll. We wanted families and children, and need money to raise them. On some deep level we were tired: tired of insecurity, tired of anger, tired of betrayal. We rebuilt and have, on the whole, wound up living the responsible lives our parents wished for us – even if they often took forms they could not have imagined.
But now, here we are. Our kids are grown. Our careers are largely determined. And we face a new question: how to live our remaining years. Will we live as we have until now? Or will we experiment? Most of us have deferred dreams along the way, slowly lost the daring and excitement we felt in our youth, settled for whatever we have today. Will we now take those dreams out of the closet, dust them off, and use the newfound freedom of our final years to experiment with them? Or will we continue as we have.
Whatever choices we make, this website suggests, will be best-made if we dare to surface and feel our anguish about the death that is now closer than ever. For this anguish can lead us to truly appreciate our lives, and to live it on levels we never imagined possible.
The biggest mistake we can make now is to believe that we can safely continue to deny our pain about our eventual death. We CAN deny this pain. But we cannot do so safely. As we become older, as the prospect of death becomes closer and closer, it takes increasing amounts of energy to repress our pain about losing what we love in this life. And using up our energy this way actually ages us, makes us sicker, and hastens the day we so dread. Denial kills.
Daring to feel our pain, by contrast, releases vast stores of energy, increases our ability to love, leads us to engage in life, makes us more vital, keeps us healthier, and prolongs our life.
And it also makes our lives more meaningful. As we open ourselves up the horror that we are currently inflicting upon our descendants by bequeathing them a damaged biosphere and debt they will spend a lifetime repaying, we will find ourselves more energized at the prospect of bequeathing them the kind of healthy legacy our parents and grandparents bequeathed to us. We will learn to extend the love we feel for our own grandchildren to all the grandchildren of this planet, whose lives will do largely depend on our mercy and our wisdom.
Yes it is more painful to live as if we are in fact dying. But it is more enlivening. And yes we are more comfortable and “happy” by living as if we will never die. But it is more deadening.
We hope you will join this “community of the abandoned”, because we need your support and participation to achieve our goal at this point: to live as fully as we can so that, on our deathbed, we can truly say that we were as truly alive as we could have been in the instant that has passed since this moment.