Thank you, everybody, for your birthday wishes.
I want to say a few things about “aging.”
First, Pink Floyd was right when they sang, “shorter of breath, one day closer to death.” That’s simply a physiological and statistical fact. So that’s out of the way. I’m now 51, spiraling down the long-in-the-tooth side of the bell curve. I’m closer to having my final dance on earth than my first, by a long-shot. So what. It’s a natural part of the process, not to be celebrated or loathed. It just is.
Captain Jack–my crusty old Norwegian skipper when I worked on commercial fishing boats in Alaska–is now in his mid-80s and considered by many to be the world’s oldest teenager. Over the years, Captain Jack has had lots of good, solid advise for me. His mantra, though, has always been “think young.” Everything boiled down to that.
Now that’s cognition in action.
I’m not as young as I feel–I am as young as I act. Life is not a feeling, it’s a thought and a series of actions, many which become habituated. Feelings are the goofy and largely inaccurate emotional incidents that happen in-between thoughts and actions. They are not truth, just quirky barometers that point to how we view ourselves and our relationship to our Creator and all that is.
Some people say “youth is wasted on the young” because once they learn some real lessons and finally have something that resembles answers to life’s numerous riddles, they “feel” cheated that this knowledge came a tad too late to be practically applied.
“Think young” doesn’t equate “think stupid.” It means to consciously and mindfully maintain the wonder and exuberance of youth throughout your entire life, and remain teachable. Don’t let yourself get “old” because that’s what you’re supposed to do based on silly cultural constructs.
Everyone knows someone who “refuses to grow up.” You love them because they represent eternal spirit and frankly, they’re fun to be around. However, you hate them because you’re afraid or don’t know how to be that way as well. They’ve permanently accessed and live in a world that you feel excluded from. Perhaps you’re a bit envious.
Thought turns into actions. In the middle are feelings and silly mental and social constructs. It’s not real but manufactured in the mind. Perhaps a whole bunch of schmucks agree that this particular thought/feeling is to be the group consensus, or normative behavior. That makes it appear “right” and you find safety in doing what’s “right.” Yet what you call “reality” isn’t real–it’s *perception*. Change the perception, change the reality. It really is that simple.
I’m not going to be the wise old sage imparting wisdom to young people. I’m going to be the pain-in-the-ass old-timer who is smart enough to hide behind his age and feign dementia to get away with never getting old in the first place.
So here’s to you, those who to age is not only just a number, but a ridiculous and meaningless one at that.
In the mid 1960s 17-year-old Laura Nyro wrote, “And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone, there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.” Like the Bible says, I’m a mist, that’s it. And that’s perfectly okay by me.
Oh yeah–happy anniversary Jen. What a lark that was, getting married on my birthday. What idiot does that? I did. See why I don’t take myself too seriously?
July 22, 2013