Interesting things are happening to me these days mostly in the form of feedback from friends both new and long standing. To a person each and every one of them is commenting on my youthfulness. Many say I look younger, some say my voice sounds younger, lots of folks comment on my youthful energy, and they all ask what am I doing differently to be growing younger.
Well, I will tell you that my diet hasn’t changed much. I eat well. My exercise regime hasn’t changed either, I walk daily for 30 minutes and do push ups. I am not taking any health supplements, vitamins or naturopathic concoctions, and I have not won the lottery. Sonora and I are happily married, work is fine, and I coach people in life and in death.
So what is different, what has changed to bring about such a noticeable change in me? What is going on in my environment that would result in this increasingly apparent youthfulness?
Did the city of Maple Ridge put something in the water?
As I looked carefully at my life noticing what had changed and what is the same I recognized that the only major change was I was working 9 to 5 for the ‘man’. Well that would only age me and wear me out, hmm. What was I doing at work? Dealing with death… and oh yes I was also volunteering my time to the local hospice.
Being with death… what’s with that I thought. Yet the more I looked at my exposure to death and dying the more I realized that this was the aspect of my environment that had changed, this was the difference in my life. How was it affecting my youthfulness though? What is it about my relationship with death that has me appearing as though I have been sipping from the fountain of youth?
I have been pondering this death thing looking for what it could be about death that has me living younger than my years. Well it isn’t about death itself. I have discovered it is about my approach to death, my acceptance of it – on a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual level I have embraced the obvious fact that one day I will die. Five days a week for a year and a half I have been working with death; the families whose loved one has passed away; the body of the loved one; the ashes and bones after cremation; and the return of the cremated remains to the family.
This ongoing exposure to death has deeply impacted my gratitude and appreciation for being alive.
Secondly and as important is my good fortune to have been with many families who are grieving the death of a loved one, and to have been with people who are dying. The conversations I have been fortunate to have, the life regrets I have been lucky to witness, the outpouring of heartfelt confessions of love not given have rocked my heart and inspired my very soul. These stories have compelled me to take action in my own life more and more each day – to make sure I am loving well. These death bed confessions, these tales and stories have inspired me to act on my own heart’s calling and to do my best to choose to live more freely as myself, not as others would want or need me to be.
The third factor is I KNOW I am not guaranteed a tomorrow, I only have today and not even that, I only have this very moment to live – to live so fully that I am all used up and have no regrets or unfilled goals on my bucket list.
This trinity of no guarantee of a tomorrow, the knowledge that one day I will be dead, and the life regrets of others is the very liquid of the fountain of youth.