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I grow old, I grow old [Feb. 27th, 2003|08:45 am]
Okrzyki, przyjaciel!


and if i wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled it's because my pants always sag. I do actually have to roll up the cuffs to mop the kitchen floor. But I'm sure Eliot had something more profound in mind.



I think a lot about being old any more. I'm going to be 46 this year, and while there are certainly older people about, this seems old. My son sean turns 18 saturday, and graduates from high school soon. I'm past the age where anyone would consider me young -- now i'm merely a case of arrested development.


If I'm lucky, I've already lived half my life. If not, much more than half. I'm not afraid of dying, but more I'm afraid of too much of the good stuff having already happened. I ride the university campus bus every day and am surrounded by people who haven't peaked yet, who haven't had their possibilities attenuated down to a few choices. If anything that's what I miss about being young -- the idea that you've not yet made that bed you'll be forced to lie in, that anything could happen.


If I dwell too much on this sort of shit it gets pretty bleak and maudlin, but none of it can really be denied -- everyone face this. There's a lot of things that at this point I'll never get to do, or never get to do again. And all the things that matter to me will be gone, or of no consequence to anyone, once I'm gone.


Going to my grandmother's house after she'd died brought that home. The ridiculous prints of Blue Boy and Pink Girl from the guest bedroom were gone, bric-a-brac frames and all. I doubt anyone even knows where they went, but they meant something to her since she had them on the wall at that house for nearly 40 years. She collected tea cups -- well she was mormon, so they were for hot chocolate parties with the grandkids -- and had a bunch of really elaborate ones that I saw on the shelves for nearly 40 years. I got one china cup out of the collection and my vulturous relations I'm sure split the rest of them up. She had a thing for glass chickens too -- I don't know what to call them, but they were bowls like a nest, with a glass chicken for a lid.


But all that stuff is gone, and no one else will really bring the affection to those things that she did. I mean she was famously loving with her children and grandchildren, and that really is a huge legacy that all of us will always remember. But those little idle preoccupations that gave her life it's small everyday pleasures evaporated with her, and no one else will ever take them up in quite the same way.


I don't have any uplifting conclusion to slap on this essay, or anywhere really I'm going with it. I guess I'm just sad and pissed off that life is so impermanent. It's not fair. Of course nothing is, but still.

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: curly
2003-02-27 09:58 am (UTC)
maybe you'll think i'm naive for saying this, but there is ALWAYS time to change your life.
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[User Picture]From: curly
2003-02-27 09:58 am (UTC)
oh and hi. :)
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2003-02-27 10:04 am (UTC)

hi

hi curly.

I don't want to change my life. I mean I want to quit smoking and become thinner, but I don't want to try on new religions.
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[User Picture]From: curly
2003-02-27 11:56 am (UTC)

Re: hi

who said anything about religion? assume much? :p

you said: "If anything that's what I miss about being young -- the idea that you've not yet made that bed you'll be forced to lie in, that anything could happen."

i'm saying i don't buy that. i don't think we have to be stuck anywhere.
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[User Picture]From: chaircrusher
2003-02-27 08:49 pm (UTC)

Re: hi

> i'm saying i don't buy that. i don't think we have to be stuck anywhere.

First off, the link you put in your post (that I blew by in my e-mail and deleted, thinking
it would be here) didn't come thru.

Well, I like my life, I love my family, my job is way better than my last one, I get to make music, yadda yadda. I was trying to elucidate a certain anomie I've been experiencing, that is intimately linked with feeling like a lot of my life is over. It's not over, but the feeling is real.

And yes I could completely change everything in my life -- at the cost of what's good in it now. By saying my possibilities are more limited than a young person's, I mean that I can't live all those infinite other lives I might have lived if I'd done things different 25 years ago or something. I'm greedy, I want to live all those lives too.

So sure, people can make sharp left turns in their lives. But given the depth and breadth of what I've made of myself (no fat jokes angryrobot), sharp turns are harder, and would I really want to make them?

I'm never going to be a pop star, I'm never going to live in helsinki,I'm never going to learn french, yadda yadda. I can want to do those things without doing them and mourn not doing them, can't I?
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[User Picture]From: curly
2003-02-27 09:18 pm (UTC)

Re: hi

i didn't put a link in my post. :) the email puts a bunch of links in for you though.


I can want to do those things without doing them and mourn not doing them, can't I?

sure you can. you can do whatever you want! :) for me personally, i'd rather not spend my time mourning what i can't change. (or am unwilling to change, cuz frankly there are things i might not find worth the required effort or impact to change.)


So sure, people can make sharp left turns in their lives. But given the depth and breadth of what I've made of myself (no fat jokes angryrobot), sharp turns are harder, and would I really want to make them?

i think your on to something, wondering about whether you'd even want to make the big changes in reality. it's easy to romanticize another life and not see it for what it really might have been. but what if changing your life doesn't require sharp turns? what if it doesn't take what seems like a drastic change to have a big impact on your life? or what if the change that seems so drastic might turn out to not be so drastic after all?


By saying my possibilities are more limited than a young person's, I mean that I can't live all those infinite other lives I might have lived if I'd done things different 25 years ago or something. I'm greedy, I want to live all those lives too.

but see, the young person can't live all those infinite lives either. each one of us only has one life to live. we get to choose what we make of it, and, naive or not, i believe we hold the power to change it up to the moment it's over. but regardless, we still only get one shot at it.


i worry that i offended you somehow by my comments. it wasn't my intention. it's hard to come across the way i want to sometimes in written word. you sounded really sad to me in your post, which is why i replied. i think it's easy to become sad when we reflect on the past and what could have been. it becomes really easy when we do that to lose site of what's great about what IS or about what still is possible.

there's alot about my past that i probably would do differently, given the chance. who knows where i would be now if i'd taken a different road? while i can look back and honestly say i have regrets about my past, i don't let those regrets rob me of my joy in the present, or my hope in the future. (i'm not saying that's what you are doing, btw)

at 28, i feel a greater sense of possibility that i've ever felt. maybe i'll lose that sense of possibility at some point, but i don't think i have to. i think if i lose that sense, it will have been my choice, not an inevitability.
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