Sting’s Album Cover to song: Dead Man’s Boots
Why are men of a certain age, highly educated and motivated friends, so uncertain that this is a great time of life? It mostly comes down to reflection that there are more years behind than ahead. There is often regret in the reverie on two fronts: family and work. If we thrived in one, we suffered in the other. The saying is “You can’t have it all!” Not sure if that is because it is a zero sum game (winners and losers) or because we live in a world of scarcity, not abundance (not enough to spread around all of the time).
Often it boils down to work: those who are actively working can’t imagine stopping. Those who are out-of-work look to fill the hours. They hate the uselessness. Those who are retired say that the first 5 years is the hardest; after that you get used to it. The ambivalence for many of us is heightened by desires to do more, see more, be more than we have been in the last 30 years. We have so many lessons we have learned, so many stories that are worth listening to, so much wisdom to share.
Those first twenty years were forgettable, but indelible on our psyche. We recall sports scores and high school crushes as if they were yesterday. The next twenty were full of life giving lessons and mostly deeply in and out of love. The fortunate ones are still in a loving relationship, while the others may be more in love with some habit than we are with our significant other.
Is there only a slow dirge from this point forward to death? Where is our relationship with the Eternal One in all of this worry? That negative spiral does not seem right or intended. Or is there more in this next chapter that will excite the 60-somethings to new challenges? With the next twenty years be full of the same wonder that the first twenty were? If there were a choice, I would choose the wonder. Going down with my boots on…