Some thoughts on my being in my late sixties…
The more I ponder what I’d like to do with the rest of my life, the simpler my answer gets.
First of all, to think realistically about this, I have to accept down to my painted toes that my life, just like everyone’s, is finite; that it’s really, really, really going to end; arbitrarily, perhaps without warning, certainly in a way beyond my control. One day I will be; the next day I won’t . The End of the Martha story.
So, even though I’ve always been a dreamer, it’s not productive just to go on and on about all the things I dream of doing that I haven’t done yet. As Andrew Marvel put it, there’s not world enough and time for any such coyness. I’ve been around long enough to know myself, to dispense with self-spin, to abandon what the world thinks I should like in favor of what I really do like. To put it bluntly, I’ve reached an age when it is appropriate for me to look myself in the eye, spit, and get real.
Looking back, it’s easy to see I’ve enjoyed life more and more as I’ve gotten older. And it further seems to me that this increasing capacity to enjoy life was directly related to my increasing comfort with who I am.
Surely, this must be true everyone: We choose either to accept who we are and so achieve a modicum of serenity, or we choose to go on forever wallowing in “self-improvement” and so remain forever restless in our own skin.
With this in mind, I decided that, to think productively about what I want to do with the rest of my life, I have to look back at what I’ve done up already. Not so much as a laundry list of accomplishments and incidents, as a sequence of events where I was either my good, comfortable, real self in action (and so enjoyed myself), or I was not my good, comfortable, real self in action (and so was pretty durn miserable).
For me, past good times seemed to have come from facing reality with curiosity and without fear. What I was doing didn’t matter nearly as much as how I did it.
Seen in this light, what I guess I want to do with the rest of my life is pretty simple. I want keep poking around this sweet old world, as mindfully curious and un-fearful as it is possible to be.
Make any sense?