Then comes the time in your life when you simply are out of excuses. The children are deeply immersed in their own messy lives, every obligation to them has been met and it’s all paid for. You stop to look around at the after effects of your life and journey now. What’s next? Retirement? The golf course in summer and tropical retreat in the winter and the concept of downsizing? Is it destined to become one
long slow and painful process of living until you can no longer care for yourself and start simply existing with other needy geriatric types in a home somewhere, preferably out of town to keep the expenses low?
Is it any wonder that the thought of aging can be so brutally frightening? Desperately thinking about who you were, what you wasted and how unimportant you are becoming. The world, especially, the new world, as in North America, is an unkind chancellor in the court of life and timing. Skillfully maneuvered by armies of greedy marketers and companies selling every form of gadget, technology and food trend. Ignoring those with valuable experience and contributions to make based on decades of real living, the newish generation is feeding off the folly of the youth market. Those who have yet to savor loss, bad mistakes, poor judgement or the punishing education of daily living.
The very essence, the essential argument in life and of real living will always boil down to one simple reflective question which can be asked at this crossroad of your current existence. One simple question which has the power to define what the rest of your life will look like. That question can only be…WHO AM I NOW?
There will always be upheavals in this wretched life we live. Divorce, death, failures of all kinds, disappointments, broken hearts, frightening issues, bad decisions. This is a given. But it’s what comes next that counts. It’s the business of figuring out who you are now and what you intend to do about what’s left of the old self you were so confident in that will be the only thing that truly matters.
The last third or quarter of your life should be the most rewarding. Aside from the fact that you no longer look as adorable in a bikini, or that your hair has thinned, that your waistline is thicker, or you can’t run as fast as you once did, you now have the remarkable capacity inside of you to master so many new concepts, tasks and experiences. And whether you have recognized it or not you have developed a
kind of power that is considered by so many cultures and tribes outside of the USA and Canada to be a priceless rite of passage.
Ever notice the nostalgic tone of voice when real adults, (I’m not calling this group seniors because of the negative connotations associated with that phrase), speak about the past? Something has been lost, disappeared, evaporated, abandoned. Life, which at one time was an endless picture of fluffy pink delight has now turned into the grey skies of November in the north. Shivering you turn up your collar.
This middle age business is not for the faint of heart nor for those without a plan b or c or d. This is task requiring the fortitude of a lion and the heart of an angel. Experiences are as collectible as baseball cards. But unfortunately, they can’t be traded or exchanged for others. They are as uniquely personal as a fingerprint. They belong to us and no matter how much they continue to make our hearts ache with sorrow we proudly own them and they are absorbed into us like a rich moisture cream is absorbed into thirsty dry skin. The unlimited number of experiences both good and bad, joyful or miserable, sweet or sour that each an every one of us out there will collect inevitably shape the character and person we become now, a little later in the game. There can be no price or value placed upon them. In fact, they eventually all roll into one to shape us, define us and guide us on any future path or endeavours we seek.
In recognizing this why do we cling so fervently to the past? Why does the perceived glamor of our youth haunt us and make us wistful and full of heart breaking yearning? Should we miss the glorious experience of child rearing? The late night screaming? mountains of stinky diapers? Or how about the staggeringly high mortgage payments, sacrifices, fights and frustrations? Would we go back to the struggles of early relationships? Marriages without passion, sex without love?
Every era of life, young middle aged or old has the capacity to enjoy its own form of glamor. But there is the business of getting it right and that’s key. The most interesting people, regardless of where they are in their own journey, know this, perhaps instinctively but they usually are the ones we find so fascinating. These are the people we like to follow, to emulate, to admire. They are the iconoclastic individuals, the living Bohemians that are choosing to live life on a different path. Their own path and they don’t give a flying f%#k what anybody is thinking or how old they really are.
In this series, I will be exploring the concepts of living the Bohemian Life including, the how to’s, the where for’s, the why’s and if we’re very lucky, an interview or two with most stylish of the stylish. It’s not always going to be pretty but it WILL be fascinating. This is a kind of celebration. An event that will mark a coming of age for all of us. A glimpse inside the hearts and minds of people, those people who live their lives in an unusual way, a better way, like monumental sculptures extoling the sacred virtues associated with time, wisdom and a uniquely human individualistic experience.
Sit tight and stay tuned…the best time is yet to come.