Warning: Neuroses Ahead

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This is the inside of my brain, most of the time. It’s also a Van Gogh sky over the Geisel Library at UCSan Diego, my alma mater.

Aging is a tricky thing.  Not only does it mess with the body, it also messes with the mind.  And often those two things are at cross-purposes.  I realize I’m not the first person to come up with this notion, but it is happening to me, for the first time.

In my Jewish tradition, it’s customary to bless people on their birthday, “May you live to 120.”  According to the Bible, that was the age God determined for the human lifespan.  It’s also presumed to be the age of Moses at his death.  In any case, the number comes up frequently and based on that, I’m right smack in the middle of my life.  God willing, it will be.

There are many people who don’t wish for more time, at least not out loud.  Some folks surrender to the unknown and make the most of each day.  Some people are more fatalistic figure everything is fleeting, so why bother.  But here’s the thing: it’s the not knowing that is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s also a litmus test for one’s basic nature.  Optimist or pessimist?  It’s long been established that I am an optimist.  But the issue for me is, what do I do with whatever time I have left?  And, is there ever really enough time?

For me, each day feels like a crossroad.  The world is an infinite place filled with possibilities.  Which road do I travel today?  What about tomorrow, or next month, or next year?  Oy, I’m also neurotic, I know.  But I simply do not want to waste any time.  Being in the middle of my life seems great!  I get plenty of years to use the lessons I’ve learned to make meaningful contributions.  But here’s the tricky part: I feel old and young at the same time.  Some days I wake up stiff or sore in places I hadn’t felt before, but always, always, my mind is awake, alert, ready to get on with it.  Other days my body feels great, but my spirit feels worn out, used up.  I am both aware of the time behind me and the great unknown ahead of me.  Have I done enough with my life?  Should I slow it down? Speed it up?  Sometimes I’m excited and exhilarated and other days I’m scared.  My mom would call it, “the human condition,” meaning it’s all part of being human.  I find that comforting because it means I’m not alone with these feelings.

So why, today, am I thinking about all this?  I find myself, once again, feeling in transition.  Summer is nearly here, another birthday is on the horizon, my husband and I will celebrate a milestone anniversary, our youngest son will come to live with us while he attends grad school and later in the year, some business decisions to be made.  I often wish I was someone who didn’t look so far down the road.  That I could live more in the present and not “pre-worry,” about things yet to come.  But on the other hand, I like to be prepared, or at least think I’m prepared.  I like to think I have some control, even though I know there are some things over which we have so little of that.

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This is how Bentley approaches his day. Wish I could be more like him.

When I was younger I just felt I had so much time to get things right in my life and now I feel the urgency of the unknown time ahead.  Yes, living to 120 seems like it would be a real blessing for someone like me, but really, who knows?  After all, I’m still “middle-aged,” feel great, have good health, good relationships, a good life.  My life experience tells me that could all change very quickly, but my young self tells me to push on, go for my dreams, make my mark.  See?  Tricky stuff, right?

What seems tricky to you?  Do you feel old, young or both?

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Warning: Neuroses Ahead

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  1. This is such a loaded question, isn’t it…I still have kids at home (11 and 14) so let me tell you how old they make me feel some days! 🙂 (Or not, you know all about that).

    Other days I attempt my day without any regard whatsoever to the fact that recent historical events should have prepared me to pace myself a bit (say, cycling for an hour and then do 4 hours of gardening is going to hurt the next day…)

    But 120 seems a long way off. I mean, my parents are 70ish and 80ish and I’m not sure either one would want to live that long, and both are relatively health and mobile (much more so than most of their peers)…

    So. I don’t know. Interesting post though!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Claudette. Yep, existential thoughts are interesting. My parents didn’t live as long as yours, but I’m sure they’d agree with yours. I’m sure the perspective changes from there. I’ll keep you posted! Haha

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Pointless Overthinking

Understanding ourselves and the world we live in.

Behind the Scenery

Grateful for the present moment

Retirement Reflections

What I Wish I Knew Before I Retired

The Art of Blogging

For bloggers who aspire to inspire

New Beginnings

A safe haven where the mind is free.

Life According to Somebody

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Welcome to my world.

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

"You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." ~C.S. Lewis

Emily L. Hauser - In My Head

Writer, social activist, a lot of Israel/Palestine, and general mental rambling

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