“Nothing but the truth…” is uttered at one point or another in almost every courtroom drama. And, as a boomer, you’ll likely remember Jack Webb’s indelible delivery of “just the facts, Ma’am.” Also, who in our generation could forget how Perry Mason reminded the witness that being under oath compelled them to “tell the truth.” This, of course, took place just before he exposed their dastardly deeds in his big “Perry Mason moment.” To our youthful minds, there were clear and definite delineations: good and evil, right and wrong, truth and lies.
However as we’ve aged, the “whole truth” has blurred a bit. More and more, we’ve come to realize that, for each of us, truth is a byproduct of our personal filters. In the larger context, our truths are based on the culture of our country of origin, the religious upbringing we experienced, and the mores of the times in which we live. Our more intimate truths are based on our own experiences, how people relate to our actions, and what we believe about ourselves.
Even eyewitness accounts of crimes have now been shown to be unreliable. This is because personal filters and physical limitations also affect an individual’s sensory input. (Wow! These forensic findings would have appalled our childhood heroes, Jack and Perry!)
Nevertheless, this realization can be incredibly freeing. We have a choice as to what to believe about ourselves… and that brings me to my favorite topic: aging. Study after study points to the benefits of having a positive outlook on life. Optimists, especially those with a rich social system of friends and colleagues, are better able to ward off disease, practice habits that promote health and wellbeing, and generally live fuller, happier lives.
So I’d like to pass along a truth I got from a friend. She received this particular piece of advice while sitting in her garden.
The Truth: Life Lessons From a Sunflower…
- Stand tall
- Back straight
- Chin up
- Face the sun
If you’re looking for the truth about aging, I doubt you’ll find a better lesson to follow than that!