Getting Towards Autumn

Getting Towards Autumn November 16, 2011

Middle age is bittersweet – wisdom, but also absolute decline. Your sense of time both expands and grows short. You realize 100 years is not as long ago as you used to think, but in the other direction death comes rushing toward you ever more tangibly.

I’ve decided to skip the Corvette-and-hairpiece, clinging-to-youth thing some guys do in their middle years, but I now understand how powerful an attractant nostalgia is for guys my age.

It’s all death-denial. The negotiations have begun, but I already know I will lose and death will win, as it must – as it needs to.

The first half of life is about getting a grip – on life, on who you are, and where you fit; the second half of life is about learning to let go.

"If I am only now scaring you, I need to bring my A game. :-)"

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  • Rodak

    The first half of life is about begetting and providing for your replacement(s). The second half is about preparing yourself for that which lies beyond death.

  • brettsalkeld

    Well put Matt. Some people don’t learn this (or do it) until purgatory.

  • markdefrancisis

    As always, very well done, Matt.

  • Rodak

    There is a commercial currently running–I don’t even know what it’s selling–that features some wrinkled old fool, all decked out like Brando in “The Wild Ones,” racing around on a test track on the saddle of a motorcycle. We are given his motto: “I want to leave this life exhausted,” I think it is. This is the “bucket list” mentality. To me this mind-set, this futile frenzy to ignore approaching death, is destructive of one’s essential humanity. Once a man has his family responsibilities successfully taken care of, and his children are grown out of his home and into lives of their own, a man should turn towards contemplation of ultimate things. He should withdraw from the temporal things toward which he previously been attracted through the appetites, and he should become more ascetic. There are deeper satisfactions to be had than those realized through the stimulation of the five senses.

  • I hope I have your disposition when I reach the middle, man.

  • “Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
    from whose embrace no living person can escape.”

    Canticle of the Sun – Francis of Assisi

  • Mark Gordon

    “As we grow older, the world becomes stranger,
    The pattern more complicated of dead and living;
    Not the intense moment, isolated, with no before and after,
    But a lifetime burning in every moment;
    And not the lifetime of one man only,
    But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.”

    T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets (East Coker)