"Opening deeply to the truth of our own aging is wise. Opening deeply to the truth of our own impermanence is wise. Although such opening may not come easily at first — we all know how the ego tends to resist vulnerability — it is important to do so if we wish to mindfully use the time remaining to us.

"The time horizon has shifted. From this new perspective of all of our years, the future looms foreshortened in our minds. Our sense of a personal narrative extends in a linear progression from 'then,' the story of our past, to a different 'then,' our fabrication of our future. From the vantage point of six or more decades, we can clearly see that we have much more 'was' to look back on than 'will be' to look forward to.

"It's tricky terrain. This foreshortened future, as it appears to our minds, leaves far less room and time to maneuver. For most of us, the future has always held the promise of hope. The future was always where happiness might happen. The field of hope is suddenly seen to diminish. There's far less time to choreograph a new outcome.

"There is a great deal of searingly honest self-reflection and sometimes emotionally difficult growth work involved in letting go of the unfulfilled dreams of our childhood and youth and midlife. It is a piercing rite of passage for all of us to compare our Photoshopped hopes and dreams with the mug shot of our reality.

"Coming to a place of acceptance, of ease and peace, with the way it is and the way we are in our oldest decades is demanding work, to be sure. It is, though, necessary, if we wish to rest and live and die in a peaceful mind, free from the limitations we've endured for so long.

"There are important questions to ask ourselves if we wish not to waste these last years of ours. Where have my past habits of body and mind, enacted throughout the decades of my life, led me in terms of peace and happiness? What really matters at this point in my life?"