At 81 I'm living the good life. CHARLIE WONDERS if it is good because I have outlived many of my dependencies on short-lived externals. Temporary and superficial contributions to my happiness, successes, self-actualiztaion, etc. turned out to be just that--temporary, if not just illusionary. What I thought was so important for well-being were all part of the cycle of life that includes winning and losing, living and dying, ups and downs, sickness and health. Nothing stays nailed down.
So what in our life situation is permanent, solid, and without change? Not very much. When Jesus said, "Don't hoard your treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or--worse!" he wasn't just talking about money. All earthly externals we depend on to make us feel good about ourselves will meet the same fate--decay. Any externals we use this way will end or change in unpredictable ways. The Old Testament teacher in Ecclesiastes wrote,"I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under the sun and saw all the deeds that are done under heaven . . . I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun and see, all is vanity and a chasing after the wind." Is this bad news? No! It is fact. It was has been called "the law of impermanence of all things."
This awareness is one of many gifts of old age. With everything I depended on gone or going, my fear of loss diminishes. In retrospect I see how everything passes away except one thing--my true self, my essence, my being which belongs to a loving God. Ultimately, the only thing left is our soul, living forever in eternal life.