I wrote this poem as a bit of a creative protest to academic learning as I came to the end of my masters in Gerontology, which was all about gaining a deep understanding the ageing process and later life. After listening to hundreds of hours of lectures, reading a small library of textbooks, writing copious assignments and a giant disseration, I sat back and relfected.
In this stillness, I began to write. What flowed was a poem that captured the essence of what really matters as we age and brought together years of learning. I hope it reminds you of what it means to live a fulfilled and meaningful life and, importantly, why we need to live now as responsible ancestors of the future.
Today is for living
Today I will laugh (a lot)
And cherish time with those I love,
Living here, in the present,
And being aware of all that is.
Today I will learn something new
And seek out new friendships,
Opening my mind to different ideas,
And reflecting on the wisdom of others.
Today I will play outside
And fill my lungs with fresh air,
Feeling the ground beneath my feet
And bathing in the beauty of nature.
Today I will live (and love) without fear
And accept my limitations,
Knowing that change is inevitable
And that death teaches us how to live.
Today I will look inwards and upwards
And feel both peace and awe,
Knowing what brings life meaning,
And that I’ll leave this world
A little better than I found it.
By Michelle Hawkins-Collins