An Attitude for the End Zone

When Doris Grumback was 70, she wrote Coming to the End Zone: A Memoir.  The End Zone is that time of life when you must be conscious or you will miss the rest of your life.  It could start at anytime, but by the time you are 60, you automatically begin to feel like an elder, at least older than most and more experienced than many.

Here are some random thoughts about the End Zone from Jack Rosenberg (Author of IBP: Body, Self and Soul):

That which is most important comes first.  Listen to your body voice.  When you seek approval from others, it stops your internal aliveness, sense of well-being and in the end zone, it will limit your sense of freedom.  When you make decisions, you can't check with everyone in the past on whom you have counted to tell you what to do or what to rebel against, most of your trusted advisors have died anyway.

You need an intention, not a goal, to accomplish what you wish to accomplish in the rest of your life.  Do not make a plan so ambitious that it cannot be completed.  A goal so immense that it occupies your life is a trap and keeps you from living in the end zone.  Don't make a "when....then...." out of the last years of your life.

Love and companionship outweigh what looks like right or pleases someone else.

References to why-you-are-the-way-you-are are no sufficient justification to stay the way you are.

Beauty is not external.  What the light bulb looks like is not as important as the quality of the illumination cast from within.

God doesn't care about your intentions, nor does he count good deeds from the past.  Every moment is a clean slate and there are no report cards (except those given from within).

One moment of truth is work a lifetime of half lies.

Work must have personal meaning.  To work only for money or fame is too costly to the soul.

"No one can tell me what to do" is a closed system, closed to life.  It can cripple intimacy and your sense of self, personal growth, and spiritual awakening.  A closed system is just that, a closed system.  It is not a sign of power.  It's perpetrators often find themselves emotionally shallow and spiritually empty, with the finish of life coming up fast.

The end of any human endeavour is not the end of aliveness nor can it be the beginning.  The energy for closure is used for just that, for closure, for ending.  This completion can bring peace and joy, a feeling of moving on, of passage.  The energy for beginning, however, is excitement for new life. It is a separate event.  Beginnings take just as much energy as endings do. Both are necessary.  For life in the end zone, life starts anew each moment.

Not every advance in technology is automatically good.  We may, for all our inventions, have progressed no closer to God than when we were paelolithic hunters and gatherers.  We may, with all our gadgets and short cuts, have lessened our ability to be human, to feel, to love and share with our fellow man.

Spiritually and godliness cannot be worn like a bulletproof vest against the pain of being human or as protection from intimacy.

You must actively choose your friends.  There is no time to be with people you don't particularly care about.  Don't let such people choose you and steal your time.  Want them, or let them go.

Remember, change is really the only constant in any relationship.

Any relationship that isn't reciprocal in some way won't be fulfilling.

Humor is more important than drama.  There is enough drama in just being alive and staying conscious.

Your adult children must be given respect for their capacity to solve life's problems on their own.  When you tell them the answers you are often speaking of your own answers, not theirs.  When you do this, you treat them as though they were extensions of yourself.  Their lives are not your life.  The true meaning of live is freedom and respect.

If you cherish someone so much that you never cut the cord, he or she never gets the experience of flying freely in life.

Each day have one question, prayer, a thought about God or the meaning of life.

The end zone is not the end.  It is the beginning of a way of a way of being that has no time for anything that does not move forward towards aliveness.

As we age, we are forced to seek that which brings us excitement or aliveness because it doesn't seek us.  We have to conserve our physical and emotional energy so that it will not run out before we finish the race.  This insight may come after a serious illness or tragedy that awakens us to life but it must come by the time we are 60 or we will miss the end zone.

If there is something unfinished in your life that you feel is important to your destiny, you must move toward its completing.  If it cannot be finished, and you have no control, let go or you will be stuck holding onto a permanent drain in your life force.

One of my basic assumptions of life is that life force, or energy, is very much like the Chinese concept of Qi, in which each person, at birth gets a measured amount of Qi, energy, or life force (I use the phrase 'life units').  Some of us get more of it than others.  When we are young we are mostly unconscious of any need for conservation of energy or Qi, so we can push ourselves to unbelievable heights or squander Qi on unrewarding relationships, money or fame.  We often use a great many of life units to heal our children when they are ill or troubled (as any parent knows and willingly does).  But as we approach the end zone, we must practice self-healing and not give your Qi to the people who feed off the energy of others like vampires offering a kiss.

Poor mental health is not a predictor of how one does in the end zone.  However people who spend their youths being unhappy both socially and emotionally will, when older and in the end zone, still be socially and emotionally unhappy.

Similarly, just growing older is no guarantee that life will get better.  If you haven't done your own personal work, you will end up an older, dissatisfied person. The end zone will just exaggerate your unfinished emotional struggles.

It is never too late to get a little good psychotherapy to set the foundation for the imperative tasks in the end zone.  Some of my best clients have been over 60.

You have to get used to being outdated.  That doesn't mean you are out of date; it means you are comfortable with not being in the 'in' crowd.  What works or is comfortable is more important.  Be age appropriate, yet be young in thought body and spirit.  You can't wear your baseball cap backwards and ask for a senior's discount.

Goals often discourage hope for they focus you on an end product and encourage a sort of narrow or myopic view that doesn't let you see or experience the process of life.  Even if you get the product, you won't be around long enough to enjoy it, so you need to learn to treasure the process, not the product.

Death is sort of like making love, when you go for the orgasm, that may be all you get.

You must get used to the fact that you will seem to have fewer friends.  The truth is you haven't time to waste on superficial relationships anyway.  Close friends are more important.  You may not want as many friends as you did.

Much of the source of fear of aging comes from people who are frantically less comfortable with life no matter what their age.

You must be kinder to your body.  Stress is much more difficult to take. If you don't treat your body well, it will rebel like a child that doesn't want to go to the dentist.  Your body voice will speak much louder than you wish to hear.