Thursday, June 24, 2010

Free-Fall

I'm forty four now. Thirty years ago, I'd been to a Doctor Who convention, a Genesis concert, and trekked up a few hills. I'd unmistakably become the person I am today. I still do all these things. Where will I be another thirty years? If I'm still alive, I'll be seventy-four. If I'm very lucky, I'll still have most of my sight and hearing, and some of my mobility. Anything after that will be a bonus. Fortunately, I enjoy sitting in a chair with a book, talking or otherwise, increasingly one I've love in the past. If I avoid dementia, I'll be OK. I have no children on whom to become dependent. No heirlooms over which to fret. No nest egg awaiting maturity.
I'm thinking about this now, because with each year seeming to pass faster than the one before, I am objectively accelerating towards my dotage. It will be upon me before I know it, as every anniversary seems to be. The remainder of my useful life is going to pass by in a fraction of the perceived time that the preceding decades have.
What am I going to do with the second act before the curtain finally falls? Keep Buggering On. I don't have any great unfulfilled ambitions because I'm living all of them already. I share a living, growing, evolving marriage with Helen. I have a career which I mainly like, when it's not crushing me with anxiety. I'm kind to myself and the miraculous planet I was born on.
The thing that makes this realization, that I've now had most of my memorable experience bearable, is that it comes hand in hand with the maturity to cope with it. I think. Rather than striving and pining, I manage by making the best of what is beyond my control. I'm in free-fall and enjoying the view, even though I'm falling faster and faster, ironically never achieving terminal velocity.