Thursday, September 28, 2023

Distinctions of Age

I'm finally starting to get it.

That's going to make little sense to anyone. "Get what exactly? D&D?" No...that I figured out a while ago. I'm talking about other things. Aging. Youth. Wisdom. Generation gaps. Political divides. Perspective. Knowledge. What it means, what it's worth, how it's acquired. The burdens of maturity. The challenge of distributing or disseminating information to others. For others. For their benefit.

Apologies. I'm not trying to be obscure with what I'm writing about, or what I want to say about the subject of these things that I'm (finally, after decades) starting to really, truly grok. But this isn't a post about those things. It is a post about me...about my relationship to this newfound understanding. About my widening awareness.

Oh, and least anyone wonder: this isn't about me knowing death or contemplating mortality (my own or others). No. And if it comes off as melancholic at all, please know it is a very wistful kind of melancholy, not my usual soul-drowning dark melancholy (the kind that I  have been a slave to many times throughout my life).

Fact is, I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. Coming off of Covid (yeah, the 'Rona finally caught me...evaded it nearly five years, though). I'm off the booze and caffeine again. Head's clear. Moderating the exercise and diet.  I feel like I'm coming into the "fullness of my strength." No, I am not "strong" at every aspect one can master in life: but I am very aware of my own capabilities, of what I can and can't do. And of the things that I am good at...well, I'm pretty darn good at them. I know my own limits and my own capabilities and...with regard to both...I can still accomplish what I want and need to accomplish. For the most part, I'm just fine-tuning at this point.

I am a rock. One still in need of polishing, but solid enough.

But what I'd perhaps aspire to be is a sun. Something giving off light and warmth...a force for life. A force for good. A fixed point, a gravitational force...though no different from the trillions of other lights in the sky, not O So Special or anything like that. Solid enough, strong enough. But shining. A beacon of sorts. 

Yes. I suppose that is the aspiration.

And so...onto my relationship with knowledge and a "deeper, wider perspective." As I wrote: I'm starting to get it. And it's...tough. It's tough because you have this incredibly useful well of understanding that you're starting to tap into...and, it's not the kind of thing that you can share. Because the people you'd like to give it to aren't capable of drinking it. It needs to be lived to be requires the experiences that come with living 50+ years. The perspective that comes. Not just from experiences...lots of young people have lots of huge, tremendous, terrible "character-building" experiences. No, it's a combination of experiences AND years lived.  It has to include the passage of time. Because then you start living cycles. And then you start understanding how the younger folks think...because you've been there. You've been a teen. And a kid in your 20s. And in your 30s. And in your 40s. You've been through those stages of life, AND you have the experiences under your belt, AND you can see how those experiences interact with each "stage of life" at those moments in time.

It's a heady feeling. And a frustrating one. And yet not a frustrating one (they'll get to where you are...eventually)...because you've learned patience along the way.

At least, I've learned patience. I wonder if, perhaps, some middle-aged folks my age haven't. That's possible. I wouldn't call myself a patient person by nature (I'd say my natural tendency is to be impatient...with myself as much or more than anyone else). But I've done work on this over the years. Meditation and prayer aren't really my cup of tea (which is fine; I know it works for some). But I've found ways to exercise my mental discipline...fasting, for example...that have helped build up the "muscle" of patience.

All of which, I realize, is largely esoteric and unhelpful. "Why bother making this a blog post, JB?" Well, first off, I wanted to post toYe Old Blog this morning. Second off, it helps mark my head space at the moment. And third off...wellll...

There's always the chance that someone might find this...vaguely...hopeful. Some young reader, whose feeling like, damn I just can't get it together, or the world is so confusing or I just can't get how/why shit is the way it is, and what do I need to DO about it...what do I need to DO to make it so that I feel a little less miserable or confused or disheartened about this particular place and moment in time?

To which I'd say: you don't need to DO anything. Or (rather): just continue "doing" what you do. If you don't like what you do, then do something else and/or find a way to do something you DO enjoy doing. And WHILE you're doing....whatever it CHOOSE to be doing, try ALSO to (simultaneously) add a little more kindness, a little more compassion, a little more patience for people. Not just other people. ALL people...that includes yourself. 

Do that. Just that. Not a lot...just that. 

Understanding will come. Perspective will come. Wisdom will come.

All, right. That's enough. Much thanks to all of you for your indulgence.
: )


  1. It would appear that you've just increased your wisdom from 9-12 to 13-15!

    I had the notable experience of being the oldest person in a team meeting of 24. I'm 51 and there were perhaps two others in their forties and the rest were in their mid-20s or mid-30s. I'm the cranky grey beard (literally this week) and it was funny to think about whether I was as cocky as some if them when I was their age (I don't think so)

    (Also - This is your blog, you can share whatever you wish with us. Please continue to do so, my favourite gaming podcasts are those that are often about something other than gaming).

    1. RE my WIS score:

      About time!

      RE "youngsters:"

      I've had several of these experiences lately; I'm certain that's part of it. I'm not sure I've ever been "cocky," but I've certainly been guilty of arrogance...on many occasions. Right now, I'm feeling a bit more humble...and yet confident. It's odd.

      RE the blog

      Appreciate it.

    2. As someone further along the trail than both of you, I have to laugh at middle aged men writing that they don't believe they're as cocky as the young'uns nowadays. I have to reach for my Mark Twain:

      "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

    3. Yes! He was indeed a wise man. Tom Sawyer is the first novel I remember reading, aged 8 I think as we were living in Germany at the time. I still have a copy.

  2. This is an affirming and encouraging post, JB, and just the sort of thing I need right now. Thank you.

    1. You're very welcome, Kelvin...glad I could help!