I was recently at a waterpark with my family and there were all ages present. Which sent me on a spin about the whole marvel of aging and how I feel about it.
I’m a bit fascinated by people and aging. It is a fascination that has only emerged due to my own aging process. I am approaching the dreaded middle age and I feel that I might be slipping down into those dark waters of a middle age crisis. But, since it seems like a natural extension of myself to start to question where I am in my life I don’t feel it is artificial. I feel like it is a true and sincere re-imagining of my life. I’d like to start in a new direction, hence this blog.
I recently came across a quote by Carl Jung about aging. He writes “Life really does begin at forty. Up until then you are just doing research.” Since I am currently approaching forty at the same clip everyone else is on this planet, I recognize myself in this quote. Everything up until now has been a type of research into who I am, who I was, what has previsoulsy defined me and how I have reacted to the people and situations in my life.
It is this self evaluation that has prompted me to put aside artificial masks that do not serve that higher purpose I have set for myself. I still have those masks and I have not discarded them completely. They serve me well in navigating the various waters of my life. It all depends if I am in the port of parenthood, daughter-hood, friendship, etc. I think you get the picture.
But, it is in my writing that I can be my most authentic self. I can project my inner being without recriminations from those that rely on me and those who think they know who I am. I could be considered a coward, but since this repurposed impulse is still new in its manifestation, I am treating it gingerly, like a new born baby being protected from the germs of the world. I wouldn’t want to cut my legs out from under me as I am learning to walk.
Aging has been on my mind. I watched as all these various ages acted, reacted, and interacted. I found myself interested in the stories embedded in the lines around people’s eyes. Those folds that hide the secrets of their souls and the pain they’ve experienced in this world. What hidden heartache is there in the lines around their eyes, their mouth, their nose? How hard is it to carry the façade of screams of delight? Or, have they conquered their own darkness and now those smiles are genuine badges of victory?
To the smooth faces and the supple bodies, I wondered what pain awaits you. I wonder what decisions will you make that will scar you, excite you, and change you. What future will unfold over your flesh and mind and leave you trembling in the dark with either joy or pain? Will the burgeoning desires of your flesh, and the impulsivity of youth rob you of a brighter future?
I had all these thoughts pushing and shoving each other in my mind as I watched people being people. I came to the simple conclusion, as I always do, that we are intimately connected by our humanity. We all experience similar emotions to the same joys or devastations that come our way. It is the price of life, the common price of our humanity and it is precious. Our lives are precious. Just ask the widow and sons of my friend I memorialized just last week.
Middle age crisis or not, we are all bound by the common experiences of our humanity…and there should I compassion take flight as well.