autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Noticing age

So it seems I’m 48. Candidly, I look at that number and say, “How the heck did that get here so fast?” I don’t feel 48. I hear I don’t look it (though that may just be kindness). I certainly have no perspective of four decades closing on five having passed.

Yet, when I consider it more than a moment, I perceive the slow, soft tread of years in my mind. I’m not as fast to anger as I used to be; nor as eager to react. I think longer before speaking and, as a result, say far less than once I did. (Which may come as a surprise to some, I wager.)

I do not get as “het up” about things happening in the world as I used to; no more political angst, and far fewer philosophical ones than were once common. A few remain, of course, but reclining comfortably in the sands of time and not as willing to spring up after some insufferable whatever happening as was once upon a time.

I think more about death; well, I fret and fiddle with the edges of the old, tattered paper upon which that ultimate question mark is etched. As odd as it may sound, I am bothered more by the “not knowing” than the particulars associated with the specifics of a “what”. I mean, the matter of “Is it X, or is it Y, or perhaps Z?” doesn’t mean much if you cannot answer with a sense of certainty the matter of, “Is there…?”

It occurs to me that I’ve gone from that youthful sense of immortality wherein you never really consider that something you’re doing might actually kill you to a moderate thought toward the notion of that sense being misplaced to an almost comical resentment toward all the idealistic teachers who swore so many things would be “here” by “now” (and of course, that I believed it).

I suppose the spluttering pancreas has a lot to do with this.

It’s not that I want to live forever, just until I get bored. As if the lie of the former can be hidden under the lie of the possibility of the latter. Morbid humor, but humor.

I don’t care for the company of people as much; preferring home and the sense, albeit illusory, that it is sanctuary from the weirdness and whims of the world. This, attributed as much to certain experiences “amongst people” as to my own reluctance to have any such experiences again while I draw breath.

On the other hand, beauty is omnipresent and far sweeter these days; nature, animals, the random kindnesses of strangers to one another, the tender closeness of the aged, or of children, or of the samaritans I see as I move through my own life.

My own interest in beauty (philosophical, not aesthetic; though the latter has its wonder as well), compassion, gentleness, and kindness has grown. As much due to practice as age, I think; but likely mostly age.

Age adds depth and flavor, I find. Like season to the meal, seasons to the mind as unexpected gift for the remorseless progression of slow deterioration; insight in trade for insouciance, wisdom for my waist?

Still a good trade, really; a proper bargain.

Only occasionally do I linger on the loss of youthful appearance. This happens mostly when some unusually interesting article of clothing is found and I realize that no, frankly, it wouldn’t look as nice as I envision because my inner vision steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the physical (and physiological) differences between 28 and 48; this makes me chuckle.

I’m not sure what it is about the decade markers that drag on the mind so. The notion that “50 is but two years away” really shouldn’t be something I think about at all.

I do not feel old. But the calendar keeps telling me that I am older.

I conclude the real battle is the same as it always is — does it really matter unless I agree that it does? But you see, that’s the other thing about all this… I’m tired of all that “defiant in the face of” crap.

Maybe this is the beginnings of what they call “aging gracefully”?

Hah! As if.