Wisdom With Age

I hear my mother’s voice in my head. I channel her often at the family. It scares the hell out of me. I look around like a guilty little kid, her voice in my head triggering old tapes from my childhood as I got busted out over something. Sometimes an incredibly uncomfortable feeling. 

I think the channeling comes from being part of the “older generation”. I was forced into this “older” class at what I consider an early age, thirty-five. My mother died that year and three years later my father made his journey. I was too young. I wasn’t ready to be thrown into the older role. My Mothertime was just blossoming. How could I accept my Cronetime with little preparation. I had made a wonderfully smooth transition from Maidentime to Mothertime. I remember it so well. I flourished and created. I felt that no goal was beyond me. It was magic.

As I’ve journeyed into this middle part in my life, I must say that I revel in the “acknowledgement” of knowledge that I daily experience. I wish I could better put it into words, but perhaps, Gentle Reader, you can relate merely by my attempt at description. 

Each day it seems, through common or simple circumstances, I find I know something of which, until that moment I was unaware. I realize that the knowledge has been there all along. I heard it or read it or puzzled it out at some point and stored it in the deepest recesses to use later. How odd, I think to myself at this writing. As we move closer to an age where the brain begins to let go of information and forgetfulness comes to bear, we are just learning how vast the stores of knowledge are buried within us. Not fair, my innerself screams. Not fair at all. I don’t want to realize my depth only to lose it through the passing of time. 

In all fairness, the gods (insert your deity or higher power of choice) created a beautiful system with the coming of humankind. How lucky we are to be what we are. And yet, how unfair this biological bundle of emotional essence can be. We grow older. No, I’m not talking about the golden years yet. Give me a second, I’ll get to it. What I’m referring to is that wonderful time between thirty and forty-five. When you think about it, it is the most unfair of the phases of our life. (I probably will not be making that statement in twenty years...I’ll let you know.)

Ponder this for a moment. Babyhood doesn’t really count here. Yes, I know, it should. But let’s for the sake of this discussion pretend that the Life Phases we’re talking about begin at around the end of puberty. (Wipe those smirks off your faces, some people just don’t ever leave puberty...leave it at that!)

Eighteen to thirty is a time of learning to exist in your own skin within the boundaries set to us as a member of this human race. We are growing within ourselves, but this is by far a more sensual time. The senses are focal. Look at the stats for college drop rate. Yes, you have the group who want/need/areforcedtostay in education. Yet the drop-out often is due to lack of interest in knowledge and too much focus on fun, senses and pleasure. Overindulgence runs rampant and we fight to maintain some control. In this span, we are either outward or shy. We seem to be “beginning” a great deal in our lives. Beginning our career, beginning our relationships, beginning our “seperate from parents” lives. We “think” we are well adjusted. (Boy, do we outgrow THAT idea) We either try to blend in or we take the high road (for some, literally) and become the different button in the button box. 

The period between thirty and forty-five is, in my opinion, the richest so far. I have no clue about what’s coming. Although, I can only hope it comes anywhere close to the amazedness of this period. I have done things, thought things, written things, learned things and remembered things. I have come into my own, shared with others and created for posterity. I have laughed with gusto and wept with overwhelming sadness so many times that I can’t at this moment remember them all. Yet each is a part of me. A part of what make me who I am to the world and myself. I have loved this phase in my life. And feel more fulfilled than I ever have. Yet, I see all too clearly the unfairness. Just think. We come into it at around thirty. At a time when we are on top of the world, our misspent youth behind us. Our bodies still within the capabilities of physical near perfection. Our hair still its youthful color (well, most of us anyway) and our eyes smooth from the wrinkles that reach out and smack you from the mirror years down the road. 

Ah, yes. Such a time. We glide through our thirties. Yes, some of us struggle hard. Others seem to have it in hand. And we near forty. Now comes the part where I see it as unfair. 

As we near forty and on, we come to realize the little things that begin to give away our age. Small things. An ache, stronger glasses, not quite the stamina, etc. Changes that we otherwise could really do without. Okay, so we don’t jump out of bed at quite the same nimble level we used to. And that favorite food is probably the worst for you. We have to don glasses to read the screen and we probably don’t feel quite the same as we used to about going out on a bar-hop with friends. Not quite the same enthusiasm. 

I find myself groping for a phrase or thought that is tattooed on the end of my tongue. o O (oh hell, what was the name of that song?...) We sometimes try to hide the gray. Don’t kid yourself. I’ve never met a dye my gray couldn’t bust through. We work at keeping our weight under control while many of us do sedentary jobs. So it seems we must work harder at keeping the spread away. 

And still, despite the unfairness of the changes during this period, I really do have to say that at forty-two, I can only dream that my future brings me as much joy and experience as this phase has. If that is the case, you won’t be able to stuff my smile in the coffin. You’ll have to preserve me and donate me and my record-breaking grin to the Smithsonian. 

Copyright - J. Thompson


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