The Menacing Future

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk



Glücklich Ist Wer Vergisst Was Einmal Nicht Zu Änderen Ist

  (Happy Is He Who Accepts That Which Cannot Be Changed)


Most thinking human beings worry about situations that appear to be dangerous, hurtful, unbecoming, and more.  They are concerned about the future, their income, their opportunities or lack thereof, and much more. They attempt to make situations acceptable, pleasant, and doable.  They are concerned what tomorrow will bring.  Some of the worries are about income, eventual retirement, the state of the country, their children, their spouses or significant others, their weight, their appearance, their abilities to please, and much more.

There are innumerable folk who are so obsessed with aging that in an attempt to remain young they will plaster their face with makeup, which emphasizes their age more than their few wrinkles.  Beauty potions can emphasize elderly skin by appearing like plastic in the grooves of the face.  Unnatural blond or very black or red hair can create attention to the older face and create a more negative impression than the clean skin or natural pleasing white hair.  It must be remembered that accepting older age gracefully often creates an air of respect and grace about the not so young individual. 

In our modern age, men, too, are urged to dye their hair, and to let it “grow” even though nature mitigates against this belief.  On an eighty percent bald head, the dyed scalp and the long strings that emanate from the back of the head call attention to the aging face and head and add years to the otherwise clean cut appearance that adds dignity and highlight good facial features. Unless an individual can spend great amounts of money on plastic surgery, amateur attempts at changing one's appearance end in failure and emphasize the true age of the owner afflicted with the fear of maturing.  Children grow up and adults do also.  No amount of artificial means will alter this fact. It must be remembered that we cannot change the life cycle by artificial means.

One of the strongest fears that humanity has is the fear of death.  No one wants to face the “final solution.” The normal person does not want to suffer the pain, the agony, and the farewell from acquired goods, from their comfortable living space, their home, their possessions, and, most of all, the separation for eternity from their loved ones.  He or she will not have the man or woman that he or she lived with for most of their years of life, that the happy times they spent are behind them, his or her helpmate will be lost, the person who valued him or her and knew his or her “ins and their outs” will be gone.  The thought of being alone in a casket, in a grave in the ground, with an inability to see, to hear, or to breathe, is disturbing.

There is always worry about  the future that looms so menacingly for people.  The fear of rejection from others, the domination of people who are young, the feeling of being abandoned is there for many of the inhabitants of our earth.

There are situations in life that we cannot change.  We must accept these statuses.  We can learn, we can use the resources that are ours, we can attempt to change our outlook, but we are unable to change our inner core.  We can spend time with the situations that give us joy.  We can count the positives in our lives, whatever they may be.  We can share our feelings with those that we love and remind ourselves that we are not too different than others in our lives.  The most important equation is to remember that some things cannot be changed.  We cannot make chocolate out of steel no matter how hard we try.  Let us live in reality, appreciate our loved ones and our accomplishments, and cherish the blessings that are ours.   We cannot concentrate on that which absolutely cannot be changed!


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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