The older we get the less important the noise and trivia of life. Perhaps by design, nature gives us fearlessness in youth: oblivion to mortality, passion to reach the impossible, love, fanaticism, a life force so strong that everything is unquestionable. Then that force begins to fade and doubt creeps in–am I doing it right? am I OK? are my beliefs valid?
One day we wake up to recognize that a trail of wreckage lies in our wake: the people hurt, beliefs imposed–ideas forced on others that are not our own. And then the second to last metamorphosis: We will die. This last is a flowering of sorts. This is the moment when life has slowed and everything comes into focus. Important pursuits become trivial, no longer must we fight desire versus love/compassion. We are both. Life’s gift of reflection is now paramount.
And the final metamorphosis: the release of fragrance. An event none can speak of, a moment we fear. But perhaps fear is an incorrect label. Any psychologist can attest that fear and excitement are two sides of the same coin.
In retrospect, we could have lived life more totally, could have done so many things, could have handled so many situations differently. Perhaps we will succumb to regret, but that would be missing the point. Reflection cannot move without hindrance if accompanied by regret. Religion teaches guilt, intelligence teaches repentance; they are diametrically opposite. Repentance is seeing what is, guilt is belittling oneself.
We will die. The question is shall we embrace this natural event or shall we hide from it as we have hidden from life.
Each moment is an opportunity to wake up. There is no better moment than now.