a certain forward-tilting sense of self—the feeling that we are still becoming

Most of us alive today will survive into old age, and although that is a welcome development, the price of experiencing more life is sometimes experiencing less of it, too. So many losses routinely precede the final one now: loss of memory, mobility, autonomy, physical strength, intellectual aptitude, a longtime home, the kind of identity derived from vocation, whole habits of being, and perhaps above all a certain forward-tilting sense of self—the feeling that we are still becoming, that there are things left in this world we may yet do. It is possible to live a long life and experience very few of these changes, and it is possible to experience them all and find in them, or alongside them, meaning and gratitude. But for most of us, they will provoke, at one point or another, the usual gamut of emotions inspired by loss, from mild irritation to genuine grief.

Kathryn Schulz, Lost & Found: A Memoir (Random House; January 11, 2022)


Notes:

Comments

  1. Queued up

    Liked by 1 person

  2. and here I was looking forward to getting old…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes. Gratitude. As I grow older, it grows deeper with every breath. — even though some days, I wonder how many breaths left… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Even the lesser personal losses can eventually topple a forward-leaning self; let’s not let them! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Others say, that as long as we are leaning forward we are missing what is here in the present moment. The key to enjoy later life is to learn to lean back and be grateful for all the wonders around us. Thanks Dave for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Curiosity piqued. Into the queue it goes. Can’t have you and Mimi lapping me…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. definitely the thought that I am always in a state of becoming, keeps me going

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just two days ago, someone told me why I can’t remember some things I wish I could, that it’s my brain protecting me or it’s my brain altered by trauma and other forced upon me things. Either way, it’s best not to fret over what can’t be remembered. It’s better to finish the latter chapters in your book clearly, freely, and with intention. I mean, that’s all we can do, to try and live fully, with enthusiasm and sense for who we are becoming from where we’ve come.

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    • Our Brains. What a miracle it really is. Lisa, your thought reminds me of:

      For a long time, memory researchers assumed that memories were like volumes stored in a library. When your brain remembered something, it was simply searching through the stacks and then reading aloud from whatever passage it discovered. But some scientists now believe that memories effectively get rewritten every time they’re activated, thanks to a process called reconsolidation. To create a synaptic connection between two neurons the associative link that is at the heart of all neuronal learning you need protein synthesis. Studies on rats suggest that if you block protein synthesis during the execution of learned behavior pushing a lever to get food, for instance the learned behavior disappears. It appears that instead of simply recalling a memory that had been forged days or months ago, the brain is forging it all over again, in a new associative context. In a sense, when we remember something, we create a new memory, one that is shaped by the changes that have happened to our brain since the memory last occurred to us.”

      — Steven Johnson, “The Science of Eternal Sunshine by Steven, Slate Magazine, March 22, 2004

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Years ago, you asked a question of your readers…what I replied then still stands…for many, many years when someone asks me how I am, I say I am Grateful…Kathryn Schulz, is optimist, that there is a forward…as I say we’ve all works in progress…So Kathryn Schulz is saying that Life Is a Journey, each of us is on that voyage at different stages of experience of growth…and I say that we all have a choice in expression of our attitude while acknowledging that “Each Breath Is A Gift” …a process, indeed…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If you’re blessed with health, money and some people who love you, you’re way ahead of the game, at any age. Adventure may look different, but it’s still out there for the taking — says I, turning 65 in June.

    Liked by 1 person

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