“This place is only a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief.”
One of my favorite metaphors for aging is likening the march of years to a challenging mountain climb. The initial approach to the mountain through green meadows, across babbling brooks, somewhat sheltered from the winds to come. We could stay here forever, but time has other plans for us. Beginning the ascent, our bodies feel the strain of baggage we have accumulated and we begin to question if it wouldn’t be wiser to lighten our load. Gaining our second wind, kicking into a strong steady pace we have mastered along the way. We are covering alot of ground quickly. Then a couple of surprise stumbles awakens us to realize the terrain has become rockier, steeper, the real winds have picked up, physical bodies feeling fatigued, bigger efforts to breath, not to go away again. The support of our climbing buddies critical for our journey gives us moments of questioning as they become less in number. But the amazing view elevated above those meadows, treetops, feeling closer to the heavens with every step pulls us back into the journey at hand. The physical pain of the journey is now a constant, yet dwarfed by what we are able to now see. “Tis the Journey” they say, those words becoming more real with every plateau of height gained. At times we focus on what is ahead of us, yet the top of the mountain is hid from view behind a veil of clouds. As the journey continues our pace slows, each step placed with more wisdom than effort, we savor the journey ever so more aware of the importance to stay connected to those still with us who give us security and strength to continue. Our focus shifts from getting to the top to savoring the journey not wanting it to end. Those steps that we had one time felt were just necessaries to obtain our goal, are now each a treasure and although thankful for our journey so far, hopeful for each step further we gain.
Was reminded that my cycling addiction, now such an important part of my life was but a New Year’s resolution several years ago thank you Olivia for your spot on memory. It’s a new year, symbolically powerful for change. Excited to accomplish two modifications to my everyday reality during the next year. By publicizing my intent the odds of success skyrocket. ..Twice daily self induced hypnotic state of relaxation and visionary work that I like to call Trance. The effect is immediate, wthin days, reduced egoism, lessened materialism, lowered stress, increasing an already high apprecation of others, boosting positivity and creative thought are all some of my faved benefits. This year with extra time on my retired hands I’m going for a second resolution, broadening and deepening of existing and new connections with others that is a natural offset of the Trance work. Ready, set, go….
Morning ride, pedaling hard least I am overtaken by the hottest part of the day. I pass as I always do on this particular ride a funeral home. Today something felt different. Both sides of the street void of cars with signs placed for several blocks along the avenue stating “Funeral parking only”. I wondered “Is no one coming to this departed’s celebration of life?” “surely the signs were timely placed in advance?” “I hope so…” Continuing I thought about those signs and their meaning. They are part of the right of passage of leaving this realm. We are all actors and actresses at our funerals headed to the familiar curtain call, to make a final appearance after the show has already ended and the audience is given an opportunity to express their appreciation. At the end of my ride I altered course to pass along that same street again. Signs in place, still no cars. Maybe the price of being the last one standing? I slowed down on my pedaling cadence…
Something romantically enticing at least in this ole hippie , when a way is discovered to “beat the system”. Fell in Hippie Love with Abbie Hoffman’s philosophy annotated with words of wisdom on how to get over on the “system” in the sixties. Funny how we felt the “system” encroach upon us back then, and fifty years later we are literally pinned in from all sides by the bloating of this very same set of systems. What would Abbie tell us today?
So ironic is that even thought this much more sophisticated, financially bloated, all encompassing set of systems we find ourselves tethered to, the opportunities to beat these systems are even more numerous and advantageous then they were back in the simple flower driven days of the sixties. All one has to do is as Bill Murray did in his video documented stepping out of familiar surroundings ” take baby steps”, small steps away from what I label as suburban thinking and explore some of these out of the beaten path ways of surviving the systems we find ourselves totally immersed in. Why not? What have you got to lose? What’s more important, “What have you got gain?”. We have lost a part of ourselves fitting into the molds of the societal machine. Step out, leave suburbian thinking behind and awaken that which slumbers.
Let the journey begin…
The reason time speeds up as one ages
“But the real difference between being young or old is in the control of time. When you are very young many things are entirely novel and one must be on the lookout to be prepared for surprises and modifications in quick reactions to the unexpected. As one ages one works out what is called “macros” in computer terminology. One gives up thinking about complex processes and works out unconscious links of interactions so that repeated interactions for procedures become unconscious and take no conscious time. One’s mind, unburdened by conscious processes, wanders off into more interesting areas while navigating from the living room to the kitchen and one stands before the refrigerator, conscious of present time again, wondering what the hell one wanted in going there. That interim of time simply does not exist and, as with many standard mental macros, time simply seems to speed up and the days and weeks and months of one’s remaining life seem to become terribly shortened. Just as when one learns to drive a car or fly a plane, each necessary process must, at first, be carefully thought out, but as one becomes experienced these processes become unconscious and require no conscious thought and seem to take no time. So it is with life in general as one ages and so many processes become automatic and cease to exist in time so that time seems to speed up. That really is the problem with aging as life seems to flow past much more quickly and there never seems time to get things done.”