So most of us spend the first twenty years getting ready. We embark on our journey to find whatever it is that will end up being our fate, our direction, our focus. Most of us will enter into everything at the ground floor, from the social basement to the corporate/labor basement. We have lots to learn still, but our basic tools are out on the bench and ready when we know how to use them.
Somewhere between the twenties and the forties, we settle in, build our careers, copulate to create our replacements, and concentrate on building some kind of nest egg, physical or otherwise. The lucky ones find it close at hand. Like the girl next door, its a wonderful life here in Pottersville. Some will hit the road and follow their dream or a stream of cash, dragging anyone hooked into their trip with them. And for some who are left, they will search for that spot to settle into and never find it.
So why do we anguish about how long we will be around? We have no real control over this. Accident, war, disease, self destructive behaviors all conspire to take us out at any given moment. But we insist on worrying about the time we have left to continue taking up space.
I have been through the run up, the pre-adult prep. I have done the build a family, a life, create a replacement. And now I am in a phase I just do not know what to think of. Empty Nest syndrome doesn't quite cover it. I have been used to that now for years. For lack of a better word, I will call it what it is; I am retired.
I thought about this awhile back on an errand over to Home Depot in Rochester. I had about forty five minutes behind the wheel to consider where and when my peak was. Had I passed it without a clue? It certainly was not in front of me anymore, but just in case, I ran through some previous high points and low points just to make sure. None of them seemed fitting to apply the word Peak or Pinnacle. My life just looked like a series of minor bumps and dumps on the graph covering the time I have been around.
The notion of mortality; my mortality, visited for a minute. Was there enough time left to find this pinnacle if it still actually existed? Did I even care? If it was waiting out there for me to find it, could I step outside the comfortable box I have hammered together over the last fifty plus years long enough to even look for it? The questions died unanswered. So I moved on.
We all look for climaxes. We look for them in our sex lives, our career lives, our marriages, our books, movies and music. Many of us it seems, look at Death as the ultimate climax. Besides our birth, that is the only other event in our lives that really matters. Instead of embracing the end of Life as a normal circumstance and not a climatic moment, we seek every measure we can to avoid it. We seek to put off that final breath, often leaving any quality of Life questions in the dust.
I wonder. I have seen death and it really doesn't seem to bother the person dying so much as those who witness it. They are here and then the light leaves their eyes and they are gone. All they leave are the memories they have created in those still living. Some are lucky I guess to have left legacies that are recorded and examined from time to time by those who still walk the planet. But for the most part, all we leave of ourselves is cached in the hearts and minds of the small circle we orbited in.