Above, the late great Warren Oats as one of the Gortch brothers in the classic western "The Wild Bunch" faces his death with bravery and honor.
I am so full of crap.
I was always for the natural way. And now when the world of being sixty reached me today the 23rd of August, the natural way seems anathema to me.
No, growing old can't happen to me!!!
That is the natural way, the way that ultimately keeps us in our place. We may all be the most destructive, the most abusive, the most greedy, the most selfish species on this planet, but none of us can live forever. If there is damage to be done, we can only do it within our allotted time of life which for all of us is unknown. And in that allotted time of life, there is still plenty of destruction we can do with long term harmful effects. Check out the BP oil spill. That will take at least 50 years to clean up, and the corporate creeps in charge are all still young enough to do more damage. Too bad the life expectancy for corporate idiots can't be shortened.
I don't even know what the life expectancy is now, but the fact that we live in a stressful horrible world has no effect on it. People are living longer and yet with less quality. Imagine if we were all immortal and were allowed to rape this planet and the universe with impunity forever. I think that the humiliation of growing old and dying is a small price to pay to protect all existence from our selfish predilections.
And yes, I am so full of crap. It was alright, this growing old thing, while it was happening to someone else, but to ME? I know what my problem is. At this point, I am not happy with myself. The key to a positive and inspired old age is to be happy with what you have accomplished. Last year, I retired from the cursed New York City school system. You would think that I would be happy with such an accomplishment, but I am not. There is still so much more I feel I have to do in order to have that feeling of satisfaction you get when you reach the third and final act of your life.
And whose fault is that? My parents, society, the world in general? There comes a point in one's life when you have to take full responsibility for whom and for what you are. That is one of the major problems with our lives on this planet today. No one is responsible. You can't even step on a plane today to find someone who is responsible, especially when we turn morons like this flight attendant, who deployed the emergency chute, endangering passengers as he slid down, as a folk hero.
I have to learn from this and use my outrage to understand that, yes, I had a sad childhood and, yes, I made many decisions in my life, some bad and some good, and, yes, I have many regrets, but that is the way life is for everyone. From the first day you are born, you are already dirty. Anyone who thinks that they will have a completely clean life free of tragedy, despair, frustration, and self recrimination must think they will spend their entire life in a plastic bubble.
Writing above that I am full of crap is just lip service until I actually take that statement to heart and accept the natural way I always extol and understand that the alternative is living forever on a planet doomed to extinction by selfishness and greed. No one is allowed to live forever, and others, younger, must be allowed the chance to fix which at this point seems unrepairable.
The next time I stupidly lament about growing old, I should think about this friend of mine who just lost his son, 23 years old after a six year battle with cancer. I should think about this and feel shame for reaching the age of sixty and not appreciating it for what it is. If I am so upset about being full of crap, being depressed about doing the natural thing, growing old, I should simply keep my mouth shut, live the rest of my life, and be thankful that human beings only think they have all the power. Our shared mortality blows away that delusion in a heart beat.