Sunday, February 10, 2008

Terribly Strange?

And thus begins the final week of my 30s. Next Sunday Michael Jordan, John Travolta and I will share a birthday, although those guys are a few years older and probably have a higher net worth—but who is keeping track?

Simon and Garfunkel have a song that I think is called “Old Friends.” I first heard it while watching their early 1980s “Concert in Central Park” special on HBO. It’s about two old guys sitting on a park bench. There’s a lyric that goes, “How terribly strange to be 70.”

I can relate somewhat. The idea of being 40 is not necessarily terrible or strange. But it is surreal. I doubt my mind, body and soul care whether I’m 40 or 10 or 57, but it is a psychological benchmark of sorts. It is a cultural reference point, an image or stereotype. It’s the age when you have a huge party in which you are majorly roasted by those who have known you dear and long, when you go buy a Corvette, when you chase after someone younger. (The only thing of those three I’d like to do is the very first, and that is unlikely as I have just moved to a new state and am just making new friends, but oh well.)

But really, 40 is overblown…except that for me, it is a reminder of my place in a larger reality. It reaffirms that I am ultimately a spiritual being and that my slowly aging earth suit is but a temporary outfit for a very limited season. It puts into perspective the futility of all the chasing we do in our youth and young adulthood, trying to acquire riches, status and self-esteem. It opens a window to the commonalities among the human experience, to the universal hunger whose growls echo from the stomachs of the fed and not-so-fed alike.

And, in its bleaker sense, it is a simple harbinger that one day I will run out of time here. Even my father wasn’t indestructible. That’s not to be morbid, because it really gives me more of a sense of calm than of dread. But, think about it….we will run out of time here, in this sphere. What matters the most right here, right now….what are we doing about it?

The culture affords us many distractions and not a shortfall of cynicisms to prevent us from growing as spiritual people. It’s all so, like, tangible. But the larger picture, and the timeless continuum of existence, is a sobering reminder that the more energy we direct toward our spiritual growth the more meaningful life will become as we age. The greater impact we can have. Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future… (name the band and the year) The spirit transcends time.


At 7:59 AM , Blogger Rebecca said...

Along the same lines as this post, if you haven't seen this already, I think it will definitely resonate. There is a shorter 10 min. version as well, but I recommend watching all of Dr. Pausch's lecture.

I'll save the "Happy Birthday" and 40 jokes for next week. :-)

At 11:04 AM , Blogger John Michael De Marco said...

Thanks, I look forward to the jokes!!


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