Getting older—Does it mean giving up?

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.


I have no more excuses. I tried, “It is humid; my legs are tired and I didn’t sleep well.” My days of running at a speed I consider “fast” are behind me. While I still hold onto the hope of a PR (person record), I know it is a dream.

I wonder if this is how people feel as they age, coming to terms with certain realities? Eyes, legs, fingers and memories – none seem to be as fresh as they once were. I almost feel relieved to succumb to what it actually is, not what I want it to be.

I ask myself if I am giving up or being a realist. Is it liberating to accept and move on or should I fight for what my dreams were? Is it time to make new dreams and put the old ones to rest? Am I a role model for my son to acknowledge my new state and creating new goals? Or, I am announcing that giving up is acceptable?

My parents were very different. One refused to accept the aging process while the other gradually acknowledged that life changes us. One tried to continue at a pace that suited her in her 40’s while well into her 70’s. My dad seemed to welcome the changes that age brought. There were times I loved my mother’s enthusiasm and drive and moments when I saw my dad truly satisfied and content to do nothing or at his own pace.

I am going to continue to contemplate both approaches on my next run, whatever that pace may be!