‘I wondered whether there was a value in some Quaker queries addressed to me and others of my age.’
At our last Area Meeting worship we remembered a Friend who had recently died at the age of ninety-one. The early nineties is the median length of Quaker lives, judging by the notices in the Friend. I found myself thinking that this means I might have another ten years, and I wondered whether there was a value in some Quaker queries specifically addressed to me and others of my age. These are the ones which have come up for me. They are not offered as a revision of Advices & queries 27–30, but simply as a personal exercise.
Questions for ageing
1. How well do you accept the inevitability of your own death and the possible diminishments on your path towards it?
2. Have you made a will? Have you provided a clear and accessible record of your wishes in case of dementia or a medical emergency? Have you considered giving someone power of attorney in case of possible need?
3. Do you make time each day for worship, contemplation and giving thanks?
4. Freud said that life has to be lived forwards, but understood backwards. When you review your life, what meaningful patterns can you see in it?
5. How fully have you come to terms with the times when you got things wrong? Are there any events or relationships where you still need to do some healing work for the benefit of yourself and others involved?
6. In what ways could others benefit further from your past difficulties and mistakes as well as your achievements?
7. Do you look for the positive in people and situations?
8. What opportunities have you found to encourage the insights and contributions of younger people and those who think differently from you? How far are you willing to revise your own opinions and be changed?
9. To what extent are you alive to the beauty and distress of the Earth and all the creatures which live on it?
10. Dag Hammarskjöld wrote: ‘For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes’. How would you respond to this sentiment?
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