Engaging with ageing
One important aspect of Befriending Death that we cannot overlook is the effects of the ageing process on us both physically and mentally. Ageing and all its associated challenges, difficulties, pain, illness and disability can be a constant reminder of our mortality. If we live in a denial, or semi denial of death, nothing causes our supressed fears to nag away at our subconscious more than the signs and effects of ageing. We then live in a constant friction between suppressing our fears and coping with the challenges of ageing. So if we are truly to engage in a journey towards befriending our death, we have to engage with the ageing process. Unfortunately, we live in a society that exalts youth and youth culture and some of the effects that ageing brings are seen as things to be avoided at all costs.
What if ageing were equated with getting better rather than worse? What if you lived in a culture which reveres the elderly and views them as a repository of power and wisdom? What if it was understood that women really come into their greatness after menopause? Since how we age has so much to do with our attitudes and beliefs, such a shift in perspective could make a world of difference.