It’s time to accept that I’m definitely in part two of my life. I’m done pretending that living to 100 is realistic. (Although, I’m open to being surprised.)
Now on my Artist’s Journey I barely drive to the grocery store.
~ Steven Pressfield from, https://stevenpressfield.com/2023/03/after-the-wilderness/
The thought rattling around in my head is: What are the differences between parts one and two? And I think the central thematic difference is activity versus passivity. In part one the hero expended tremendous effort bashing their way towards the objective. In part two the hero has realized it’s time to play a supporting role.
The old and the very young have always held sway for me because of bald and unerring candor, and the lack of affectation. They had either stopped posing or had not yet learned to pose.
~ Mylinh Shattan from, https://treehouseletter.com/2022/09/06/98853/
Intentional or not, I’m awarding style points for the innuendo which Shattan’s use of the word bald brings to that first sentence. Beyond that this piece is the epitome of fusing a personal story with an overview of a book. I’ve not done that often—if at all, sorry, I’m too lazy even to search—in short-form as she has.
But in classic “this stuff is me doing my personal reflection with the garage door up” style, it occurs to me that I do do it a lot in micro-form. Basically every one of these my missives combines something I found lying about, a bit of commentary about it, and then my personal thoughts or stories. Am I draw to other writing which is of similar form? Am I unintentionally writing within some genre whose name I know not? Am I crazy? Am I insane? (Am I the victim of evil doers out to destroy me? Perhaps. I don’t know what it is— a deep-fried feeling I guess.)
If you do not have a movement practice or access to a good movement teacher, then finding a physical practice that you enjoy and makes you feel empowered is a good place to start.
~ Soisci Porchetta from, https://www.humanpatterns.net/blog/2018/10/3/why-we-should-all-have-a-form-of-movement-practice
You already love moving, (or nothing I write is going to convince you.) The only question then is where are you in your journey? Are you in the age of roots, fire, water or air? It’s very important to realize there are going to be major transitions in one’s journey through life. I consider myself typical in that movement played a huge role when I was young. There was a significant period in my 30’s where I lost the plot. I was lucky that I didn’t lose touch with movement for too long. Looking back from 20 years on, I believe that I was trying to hold onto an identity.
At the time, what I was doing was a big part of who I saw myself as. I didn’t understand that who I am, was going to change—is supposed to change! Naive, I denied the feelings which were suggesting I change. As I said, it turns out I was lucky.
As is often the case: No takeaway. Just food for thought.
People should not look at their approaching golden years with dread or apprehension but as perhaps one of the most significant stages in their development as a human being, even during these turbulent times. For me, old age has been a renaissance despite the tragedies of losing my beloved wife and son. It’s why the greatest error anyone can make is to assume that, because an elderly person is in a wheelchair or speaks with quiet deliberation, they have nothing important to contribute to society. It is equally important to not say to yourself if you are in the bloom of youth: “I’d rather be dead than live like that.” As long as there is sentience and an ability to be loved and show love, there is purpose to existence.
~ Harry Leslie Smith from, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/24/dont-dread-old-age-fear-tories-tyranny-austerity
“Quiet deliberation,” indeed. I find myself increasingly in that state, (although I am still too–often found in the state of denial.) During interpersonal situations, I find myself thinking: “What could I say here that would actually be useful?” and coming up with “nothing” as my answer I’m left to choose between contributing silence, or contributing social lubrication. That’s a shift of intention which comes from decades of glacial movement towards true self-awareness. I believe it’s time yet again to reschedule my mid-life crisis; it seems I have some more thinking to do.
Today, it’s alarmingly easy to find yourself antler-locked with some remote, faceless person who’s trying to tell you that universal healthcare is a communist plot, while you’re waiting for your potato to finish microwaving. This facelessness turns up our impulse to argue even more. You may have noticed it’s a lot less pleasant to argue with someone when you can see their eyes.
~ David Cain from, http://www.raptitude.com/2016/02/the-art-of-letting-others-be-right/
I find it, in fact, so unpleasant to argue with people that I’ve effectively given up the effort entirely.
The first phase comes of self-reflection once you think you might—at least some of the time—be wrong. The second phase comes when you realize that your sometimes-wrongness might apply to the interactions with other human beings. Phase three is when you wonder why it is important to change the other’s mind. Phase four is when you stop judging people at all.
This has the side effect that you also give up trying to get people to stop arguing at you. If I don’t argue, then the other person assumes their idea has carried the argument, when in reality I’m focused on how delightful my iced tea is, or the weather.
I’m reminded of the ages of roots, fire, water and air that I mentioned a few days back; Once you start flirting with the age of air, the only person left to argue with is oneself.
(Part 33 of 37 in series, Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)
For me, what defines a human being is the combination of our intellect, our self-awareness, and our mortality. Developing the first two, and in particular becoming comfortable with the third takes a lot of time. It’s clear to me that there are seasons to our human lives. The best description I’ve heard is that of four seasons: roots, fire, water and air, corresponding to beginning, actively carving one’s path, learning acceptance and understanding, and finally wisdom. (This is obviously a variation of the four, classical elements.)
Frequently over the past year I’ve found myself thinking about the transition from the season of water to the season of air. What would the season of air feel like if I experienced glimpses of it from the season of water?
I believe I have an answer: Understanding self-love.
To come to grips with one’s own mortality requires a deep apprehension of the temporary state of our existence, and I now believe understanding self-love is the doorway to the age of air.
Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.
~ Bertrand Russell from, https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/07/03/how-to-grow-old-bertrand-russell/
I’m certain I have nothing to add to that. If that doesn’t make you the least bit wistful, then I’ll wager you are young.