In Rabba Sara Hurwitz’s Jewel titled “Mohini,” [Read it HERE] she manages to gracefully and compassionately touch upon the significance of the internal struggles that can present themselves while aging. Although I am only 29-years-old, I have gained a unique insight into the depths of the aging process through being on the career path of a geriatric social worker, relationships and as a hospice volunteer. Through what I have observed, some of the challenges include: the progressive loss of independence, friends frequently passing away, loneliness, constant doctor appointments and the fear of undiagnosed illnesses. I understand what my grandmother means when she tells me “growing older is not for wimps.”
This piece is meant to acknowledge the reality of how difficult it is to age. Younger people often don’t understand what it is like, nor do they want to think about it. It is like the 800-pound gorilla in the room that we all face with our parents but is often not talked about until it becomes a crisis. There is a major lack of social workers in geriatrics because of their own avoidance with this difficult topic. I have come to understand the dire importance of facing and understanding the reality of aging, and how it can help us to live more full lives.
I cannot express in words the deep level of respect and admiration I have for those who are walking through the challenges of aging. While aging can be extremely tough, it is also very beautiful at the same time. I have also learned that aging does not have to be a struggle, which has a lot to do with one’s attitude and perceptions.
From the words of Rabba Sara Hurwitz, “the High Holidays present us with a tunnel, an opportunity to break free from our self-imposed cages, to find our route to freedom and live life with renewed passion.” One of the biggest gifts in life is the discovery of our own unique route towards this freedom.
Lia Mandelbaum is a student at Cal State Los Angeles, part of the staff at Craig ‘N Co., a blogger for the Jewish Journal and a cat lover.