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The Joys of Growing Older

PHOTO courtesy Nikki Lastreto

Joint Opinions

The Joys of Growing Older

A cannabis farmer finds guidance from sacred herbs and the passage of time.

I never thought I’d be so happy to turn 65. Finally, this year on Feb. 1, the big day has come and while I feel basically the same as I did on Jan. 31, something is noticeably different. Not only do I receive Medicare at last, but I have entered the next stage of life, along with millions of other baby boomers. “OK Boomer” may be the response, but remember, getting older will happen to all of us and should be considered.

Believe it or not, growing older affords a certain amount of righteous entitlement and freedom. Although they say at least 29% of boomers ages 65 to 72 are still working or looking for work, I’m talking about the liberated head space that comes with aging. Clearly, I am in the 29% of working seniors, but it’s just not the same as when I was 30 and working at a daily newspaper. Yes, I still have deadlines looming constantly, but along with age comes the grace to accept them without as much stress and competition.

Same goes for politics. Yes, the world is crazy right now and doesn’t seem to be getting better. Between climate change and corrupt politicians, it seems pretty darn horrendous. Yet I am always reminded of something my father drove into my head when I was a teenager: “History repeats itself.” I refused to believe him back then, when I was a full blown optimistic flower child, but now that I have actually seen history unfold before my eyes, I get it. As we learn from our mistakes, it doesn’t seem as daunting. It’s all about human nature doing its thing.

Of course, I have no doubt that a lifetime of cannabis consumption has helped me to realize these conclusions. Questioning authority and raising my consciousness have been my dear friends, the best techniques to understanding this bizarre human nature that comprises humans. We are what we eat and we are what we smoke. Cannabis has inspired me to both go with the flow and lead the parade, to sit back and watch the show while also being a central character. And with age, comes the revelation that it is all exactly as it is meant to be.

So what if I am working harder than ever in my life at 65, running a cannabis business? It is an opportunity to learn, to meet fantastic new people all the time, and to share knowledge gleaned over my six and a half decades. So what if I have now been diagnosed with moderate COPD, had a hip replacement and some heart issues? Every machine wears down eventually, but the lessons learned from all of those conditions can be used to help teach and guide others on their path. Even the worst most foreboding situations can be seen as gifts from the universe.

Every morning as I awake I recite my six goals for the day: to practice unconditional love and compassion, honesty and humility, discipline and devotion. Then I remind myself of the three little words taught to me by our teacher in India many years ago: ”Have no doubt.” That’s a big one. It is the core essence of finding peace in one’s life — to accept that whatever happens has a valid reason and an outcome of exactly what is supposed to transpire next. The ugly duckling will turn into a swan every time if you let it be itself. Again, go with the flow.

Granted, I do not smoke as much cannabis or take as many psychedelic journeys as I did as a young woman. But as one ages, the need is not necessarily there. So many imprints have been made already, so much guidance has been granted by the sacred herbs, that I feel fortunate to have found them early in my life. My experiences with entheogens has no doubt brought me closer to the understanding of the divine and raised my levels of compassion. They have helped me accept any fears of death and the next great chapter. Funny, they used to talk about “acid and marijuana flashbacks” when I was a kid and I laughed. But now I see how actually beneficial it is to be able to tune back into those other levels of reality at any time. To feel the godliness in me and everything around me, including animals and plants.

I also find that as I grow into my “senior-hood” I recognize how different, and the same, I am from my parents. I watched my parents mellow with age, and I imagine I am doing the same.  I did my “dropping out” several times in my lifetime and I don’t regret a bit of that. Yet, I also see the effects of being a flower child in my youth, who has blossomed now into a full-grown plant full of fruits and flowers. Every plant needs a steady watering to become fully ripe and I have certainly never shied away from growing experiences. If now, at 65, I still need to work to keep this plant blooming, so be it. Every day is a fresh experience, be it on the road going overland to India as I did so many years ago, or here on the ranch as I help guide our business to fruition. It is all part of my complicated karma.

While I cannot prescribe my lifestyle for all, or the cannabis consumption contained therein, it certainly has worked for me and many others of my baby boomer generation. Imagine if all those babies turned into conservative grumps? Thanks to the ’60s and the hippie revolution, we have a balanced population to keep things interesting. Whether you find your peaceful place via meditation, cannabis, psychedelics or doing service for others — or a combination of all of these things — your higher consciousness will be an uplifting force for our otherwise confused world. I suggest you be not afraid of aging, because besides the great benefits of Medicare, there is the calm peace of mind that will take you under its wings if you let it. Embrace it… it’s all going with the flow of life.

TELL US, does cannabis help you go with the flow?

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