The first one-third of one's expected life span, especially in developed countries is spent in education or the development of oneself for the future.
The future at this period in life seems far away and endless. On the other hand, those who have reached the later stages of this life know that they will be leaving the earth as they reach the far edges at this extended range.
Although the time is relatively short, unlike death-condemned prisoners, older adults do not know their exact departure date.
Once the notion that they are among the oldest segment of the population is accepted, they know that nothing else can be done to remove them from that pool moving toward that drop-off point.
Not many talk or write about the mind set that results in most people as they come to grips with this reality. Some of us will remain in denial, not permitting ourselves to love one another.
Those considering the condition and care of the elderly must also consider the reality that death holds in their thoughts and activities, some people not daring to share their present existence and feelings.
“Future” seems to diminish as a concept and in the importance that it once held, especially on graduating from college. “Time” was in abundance then. “Future” at that stage was an ingrained aspect of human existence.
But imagine living daily, knowing the flame of the candle, once infinite in energy and time has begun to flicker and soon will be going out, especially as decrease in effectiveness is sensed with each day that passes. Where is the future here?
These are not the thoughts of those who would build care homes for the elderly. Their services are in fact designed to ignore these realities even if there was knowledge of individual's realities and if any thought was to be given this element of extended living. What is extended living?
Who is to engage this mentality, not always found on the surface?
One as a historian and futurist, living life on a long unending line that makes up both past and future, sees living somewhere on that line that has no beginning and no end.
In that state of mind one need not bother with beginning and it easy not often to think of an end.
Yet there is some acknowledgment that “end” sometimes hovers there in thought like the clouds of an ensuing rain. What is the significance of a future with emphasis on the end?