Ageing Gracefully

No, I’m not writing about that impossible art of accepting the loss of one’s powers of movement, hearing, seeing, sexing, remembering, calculating or reasoning. Rather, I am writing about how our perception of time changes. In childhood, a year feels like infinity while in later life it feels increasingly shorter.

To accept this fact of life, a new time unit is needed which I have termed the Grace. A grace is a measure of time reflecting the opportunity for (spiritual) development, which occurs simultaneously with the growth and decline of the biological organism. Originally, I just used values between 0 and 9 to reflect this development. However, because people are used to dealing with chronological years, many people will want to use decaGraces to measure their spiritual age. It requires a simple calculation: multiply the Grace number by 10. DecaGraces are used in the table below.

As in school, aging is not the equivalent of being more spiritual or smarter. People reach a plateau that limits their intellectual, physical and spiritual development. Just as there are absolute physical limits to how fast a person can run, how many kilos a person can lift, there are also limits to how much spirituality a person can acquire in a world dominated by physical needs.

decaGrace Age at Start (years) Duration (years) Age at End (years) Event
0 0 Conception
10 0 0.25 0.25
20 0.25 0.5 0.75 Birth
30 Birth 1 year 1 year old
40 1 year old 2 years 3 years old
50 3 years old 4 years 7 years old
60 7 years old 8 years 15 years old
70 15 years old 16 years 31 years old
80 31 years old 32 years 63 years old
90 63 years old 64 years 127 years old

A Spiritual Heart

My hope is that in the future every family will be able to have a home that has a spiritual heart – an area devoted to the needs of the soul. It will be a quiet place allowing prayer and reflection.

As I approach retirement, I see a need to reappraise and re-purpose the space  in our house. Our children have moved on with their lives. Rather than keeping their rooms as monuments to their childhood, both they and their parents have to accept that rooms can serve many purposes.

Cliff Cottage, or Fjellheim (as it is also called) has been our home since 1989-03-01, over 27 years. Even though an urban apartment would be a more practical way of life, I have no desire to sell. I have seen two generations long to return to their childhood homes. While we are spiritual creatures, we are also grounded in physical space and time. Childhood is a special time. I lived in my childhood home, on Ash Street in New Westminster, between 1951 and 1972, a little over 20 years. In many ways, I have never gotten over its loss.My mother also talks fondly of her childhood home in Kelowna, keeping a drawing of it even now on a wall of her apartment in New Westminster.

While I accept that my mother’s childhood home is important for her, to me it is just a building. I am not sure that I have ever been in it, although I have stood outside it, and have clear visions of its interior in the 1920’s and 1930’s. For me, it is nothing more than a house, a building.

God willing, I will keep this house in Vangshylla, in trust for Alasdair and Shelagh. There will be changes made to it, but nothing irreparable. If either child wants to take over the house, they will be welcome to it, and I will gracefully move to something more appropriate for someone of my age.

I hope you will forgive me, Alasdair, for my plans to transform your former bedroom into a prayer room. Similarly, Shelagh, I hope you will forgive me for using your former bedroom as a workroom and guest room.

This does not mean that everything is perfect at Fjellheim. We are not always living in paradise.

2010-12-11 Snowblower
Brock using a snow blower for the first time, 2010-12-11.