Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we’ve got to cope with a different reality.


Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 


We can’t do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 


There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 


When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:

Yes, we’re getting older–what’s the alternative?


Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 


We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.


And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it’s like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:

You’re not supposed to leave this world alive!


Putting these together: 


I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process–because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. 😉

Go Years of Retirement

Thought this was an interesting perspective on retirement.


There are three phases:


1) Go-Go:  You retire and are eager to enjoy your newfound freedom, and you spend the time and money to really do the pursuits and travel that you always wanted. 


2) Slow-Go: After the initial adventurism and spending, you settle in some more and spend your time on quiet activities, socializing, and relaxing. 


3) No-Go: This is the wind down phase, where you spend most of your time at home and at a certain point, may need some assistance to do everyday activities. 


Obviously, the last phase is sort of depressing, but it too is a part of life.  


Like a bell-shaped curve, we are born, grow, mature, and then decline.


This is the cycle of life for every living thing. 


It takes maturity and courage to face it and to make the most out of every single moment that we are blessed with.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake.”

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and gave it to the Palestinians in a unilateral effort towards peace, but soon after terrorist group, Hamas, took control and has since been raining down missiles on the Israeli civilian population centers around it…Last night, as the missiles came towards Sderot and the Israeli sirens wailed for the people to seek shelter–they have only 15 seconds–the beautiful youth in Noaa’s birthday party ran towards the safe room. What was incredible with these youth, was that rather than stop the celebration and hide in fear and suffering from the missile attacks, instead they courageously continued the party and sang with great strength in Hebrew, Happy Birthday to Noaa!


Let us all learn from these amazing young people of Sderot to have birthday cake in the face of bombs and to celebrate life in the face of death, and let Mashiach soon come and bring us peace in the Promised Land.

(Credit Photo: Miriam Sasy)

Hopefully, All’s Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):

When the end is good, all is good. 


Or as we commonly say:

All’s well that end’s well. 


Lot of truth to this. 


And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.


When things end well, it’s as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it’s as if everything was bad. 


The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 


Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 


Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 


In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.


– Was all the hard work worth it?


– Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?


– Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 


– What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?


We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Transcending Suffering and Impermanence

There is a buddhist philosophy that life is all about loss and suffering. 


The Budha says:

Life is suffering.


Why? Because life is impermanence–whatever we gain, eventually, we must lose. 


– Riches, power, people, health, even our memories perhaps. 


In a sense, this is like the saying from “War of the Roses”:

There is no winning, only degrees of losing. 


However, there is one exception to the impermanence and loss in life:


The only thing that is permanent is our good deeds, and with this we can achieve an everlasting good name for ourselves.


In Judaism, we teach:

A good name is better than fine oil.


Hence, this is the permanence that we strive for in life and in death.  


If we can attain a good name through purity of soul then in a sense, we can transcend life’s suffering and impermanence.  


By becoming non-attached to all of life’s temporary things, and instead focusing on perfecting ourselves, we can free ourselves from suffering and from this world, and then we can go on in everlasting-peace to the afterlife. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

In The Blink Of An Eye

Please see my new article in The Times Of Israel called, “In The Blink Of An Eye.” 

It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Those moments when your life or those of a loved one hang in the balance. It can go either way–you can end up on the road to success or potentially in the morgue. 

In those pivotal split seconds–your life can go this way or that. Do you recognize who is pushing on the scales of justice and are you ready on where to go from there? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)