The View from Here

I am now officially 80 years old, free to say anything, wear anything, do anything I want. Perhaps I was always free to do so, but I particularly value the invisibility and irrelevance that comes with my age. I love having reached this stage, and am very grateful for it.

I claim nothing but good fortune to have achieved this marker, very little of which was my own doing. I apparently have some reasonably sound genetic components, was born in a place and time, and am of a race and gender, that benefitted me. I fully own what I did or did not make of my opportunities, and the choices I made along the way. I had some excellent guides and advantages, and my life has not been difficult.

I know I am out of step with current culture now, and have probably “outlived my time” as my grandmother used to say. Nonetheless, I’m still curious about the human condition as it attempts to cope with endless chaos and change. It amazes me how creativity continuously manages to bubble up through the mundane to spark new evolutions. Ego, on the other hand, which is the product and life partner of personal imagination, seems to be a particularly complicated advisor, and gleefully misguides human development with depressing regularity.

Do I think that I am “wise” now because I am old? No, but I’m wiser than I was, mostly about my own life. I have my “wish I’d known” list, but I share the human condition that doesn’t seem to want to accept as wisdom anything that isn’t self-generated. I think that’s a tragic flaw, particularly when history has been generous enough to leave us so many useful guides. I love knowing of them, marking book margins for things I wish I’d remember, copying quotes that inspire. I deeply admire original thinking and convictions, but know I was not personally gifted with those talents or passions.

I have lived my life as an interested observer, and there has been a great deal see.

3 thoughts on “The View from Here

  1. Beautifully said, as always, my friend. I celebrate your milestone, although I can’t wrap my head around that number applying to you! I miss you. Happy Birthday!

  2. Oh how you always make me reach inside my own thoughts. I’ve told you before and I’ll say it again, I’m so fortunate our paths crossed! You are smart, strong, adventurous, loving and reflective, to say a few. Thanks for being you and for being our Chicken Salad!! Love and hugs from us to you!!!

  3. Wishing you the best for your 80s. We miss you and Dick! I am still enjoying Donna Leon and think of you when I read those books. You are a sweetheart!

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