Saturday was my grandson’s birthday, son of my son. Today is my grandson’s birthday, son of my daughter. The son and daughter are one year apart in age, like my grandsons. In a few days, it’s my brother’s birthday, and a few days after that is a birthday for another daughter and then a few days later is a birthday for my granddaughter. Oh, and my cousin’s birthday is stuck in the middle of all the rest.
Six family birthdays packed into a few weeks’ time has me thinking way too much about age, ages, aging. As I remember the new age of each celebrant, and realize how fast they are advancing in years, I selfishly look in the mirror and shake my head. Staring back at me is a young frowning boy saying, “What the hell happened?”
I catch my self thinking and talking about ancient history way too much.
I silently ask my late father’s forgiveness for sometimes ignoring his long-winded glorious stories of past adventures. I am my father and while I’m alive, I am issuing advance forgiveness of my kids for rightfully ignoring my long-winded not so glorious stories of past adventures.
I’m sorry, but at a certain age, sometime after those damn AARP cards start inundating your mail box, the past is lot more fun to relive than looking forward or staying put.
My high school buddies and I re-tell, re-live and reconstruct the same stories over and over year after year. I love it! It never grows old or boring. Besides, we change and add more excitement every time we tell those stories.
“As we age, the mystery of TIME more and more dominates the mind. We live less in the present, which no longer has the solidity that it had in youth; less in the future, for the future every day narrows its span. The abiding things lie in the past, and the mind busies itself with what Henry James has called ‘the irresistible reconstruction, to the all too baffled vision, of irrevocable presences and absences, the conscious, shining, mocking void, sad somehow with excess of serenity.”
—John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, Pilgrim’s Way: An Essay in Recollection
Truthfully, nobody wants to get old and die but the getting old part isn’t so bad. For me, I can’t think of a happier, more content time ever.
Just a few months ago, these very wise words were uttered: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
– Steve Jobs