Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

The Unknown Road Ahead

When you’re young, the future is a vast open landscape, and the world is full of possibilities. Every experience is vivid, and your mind is firing on all cylinders, at all times. Your body is strong and can stand up to whatever abuse might be heaped upon it, always ready to bounce back after the briefest periods of recovery. Life is exciting and full of promise…

As you get older, things very slowly start to change. Sometimes this change can seem almost imperceptible for long stretches of time. Every now and then you might notice some small change in your appearance or how you feel, but for the most part, barring serious illness, the concept of aging is still very remote.

Then something starts to happen that’s a bit disconcerting, but not overly so. You realize “Holy shit, I’m getting old.” This realization might be brought on by illness or the death of a friend, or something as simple as seeing a photograph of yourself, or watching your partner and friends age. But getting old is not the same thing as being old. It’s instead a grim harbinger of what’s to come…

I feel like I’m at a bit of a turning point in my life – I don’t feel old, but I’m 60, and boy am I aware of it. I can see the clock running out and it isn’t a good feeling. I’m a realist who has already survived cancer, so I’m acutely aware that not only is this life a time-limited affair, but the odds are constantly increasing that at any moment a catastrophic health related event will bring the whole thing crashing down.

On a good day I’m completely comfortable with this natural state of affairs. On a bad day, however, these realities can be very difficult to process. They can create a state of fear, which is not a natural state for me. It’s a fine line to walk between reality and denial. What’s gone ain’t coming back, and what lies ahead is beyond our control.

So I guess it behooves us to make the most of the present. It’s all we’ve really got.