Leaves – green and yellow, burnished brown, flecked with red, pink-tipped, bright and lustrous in full summer beauty. But the rhythm of life’s seasons will not be denied and autumn is calling out to winter for their death and spring is eager for their rebirth.
I am one of those autumn leaves. But there is no spring or summer waiting for me, only the absorbing earth to render my age-weary body into invisibility. Or will some stem-cell-spring offer me another summer?
Ageing: the diminution of life and the custodian of Alzheimer’s, arthritis, atrophy and aged-care. But add to this fallout the words ‘shadowed’ and ‘haunted’, as ageing distorts identity and smears the boundaries that underpin ego.
The physiological cellular changes of age are a given, they cannot as yet be stopped. Cells losing focus as they are invaded by malignant intruders on a march to death.
But I still exist! I want to shout out. Look at me up here. Can’t you see me? I’m still up here – an autumn leaf. Or am I hidden by winter’s encroaching shroud, my identity a fading mask, my face a caricature of wrinkle-creep, and my body a withering husk. The ego of my identity is caught in a slip-stream of cellular loss of focus as it slides from notice as brain cells melt like candle wax. I am becoming a blur to others and myself; my relevancy questionable.
So why has this happened? I think, perhaps, it hinges on the word ‘relevance’. Are ego and relevance synonymous? Ego is a vital component for life and living. It underpins a sense of self and gives confidence, and self-esteem. Relevance is how I see myself and how others see me.
Carl Jung said, “In order to be conscious of myself, I must be able to distinguish myself from others. Relationship can only take place where this distinction exists”.
But consciousness for some can be compromised as the haunted cells of ageing misplace their focus. Ego and self become recalcitrant memories. For fortunate others though, in the autumn of their lives, ego and self are well-preserved and show no signs of diminution.
The question you should ask yourself: which one of these will be you?
published 6 April 2013