Experience Making a Difference

Experience Making a Difference

On Getting Old: A Reflection by Allene Grognet

by | May 9, 2024

When I attended Mass this morning, my head and thoughts weren’t truly there. Like the disciples at the Transfiguration with Jesus, I was half asleep and half dreaming about my own transfigurations– in my case, dreaming of being old. Have I really adapted to being “old”? In “old age” can I become a different person, and remain myself?

Nothing should be more expected than old age, yet nothing is more unforeseen. It is a situation that exists outside of oneself – I am old to others. There is a disconnect between how I feel inside me, and the judgmental

gaze of other people. Being defined by others isn’t a problem in itself. We are social beings, and we know ourselves more intimately through other social beings. It is a problem when others lock us older people into a category labeled “old”, thinking that older people are constrained in their ability to (re)create themselves in authentic ways.

At 88 with a half functioning hip, I am indeed slowing down. Yet I am still becoming – I’m not stagnant, nor powerless to act. In IVC I am valued and appreciated. In IVC I can investigate my past, and transfer knowledge and experience to others who are the future. Perhaps the truth of the human state is realized only at the end of

our own becoming. If I go on pursuing ends that give my existence meaning rather than my being a living corpse, I am using the gifts that God has freely given me. Jesus, lead me down that unknown path.