Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
This is part of the Group Writing for January
So, another trip around the sun, and I am 51. There is no “well I was just in my 40’s” arguments. That is now over a year ago. Nope, I am into my sixth decade of life. I lived through a near-crippling lower back problem that left me lame and needing physical therapy to learn to walk again at the end of my 40’s. I can wake up after a poor night’s sleep and feel almost as lousy as if I did not sleep at all. I take off my glasses to read. I have been on a statin for 11 years now. And, one knuckle in my right hand is starting to hurt for no reason about once every three days. We won’t talk about fighting the pounds. But, if I am honest, the sense of time passage has not really been based on physical age.
The world has changed from when I was a kid. The march of the left has continued in its steady, unending form of course, and maybe that drives a lot of it. In my life family and church have receded. Entertainment has become more course and cynical. Love of America, love of our past and Founders has fallen. None of our institutions seem able to function well at all. I certainly have no faith in government, and I wonder if my children will get to see a Tricentennial like I saw a Bicentennial in 1976. Watching a rerun of Wonder Woman for kicks, they mentioned fighting the Nazis “35 years ago”. I was born closer to the start of WWII than we are now to when I was born. Children born in 2000 will all turn 21 this year. My own son turned 18 a few days ago. Wow. Still, that is not what is driving my sense of time passing.
So, what is driving my sense of time passing you ask? Well, it is the changes in Bryan. I look at who I am now, and I am not sure Bryan at age 21 would be totally thrilled with Bryan at age 51. That Bryan was both less confident and more arrogant. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we are both smart asses, that has not changed. Bryan today is more seasoned and able to be less blunt and more biting when needed. Bryan at 21 had ideas about how the world worked that in retrospect were pretty naïve. He though better of his fellow man, that people were more fundamentally decent and that stereotypes were always part of a false narrative. He thought people, on the whole, were rational. He thought he had far more control over his future than was real. Bryan at 51 has a darker view of humanity. Today, that Bryan believes that being good is a mindful struggle, one that the majority of people give at best half-hearted attempts. He believes that people are ruled by their limbic system and often driven to self-destructive patterns. It is rare the child who is raised by two functional parents. Selfish behavior and actions, disloyalty and dishonor are the norm. And, I hasten too add, this is how it always has been. Bryan at 21 wanted to fix the world from its broken form, as is normal for the young. Bryan in middle age understands better, that the world is fallen, and always will be.
The passage of time in the developing Man is accompanied by an increase in depth. If one does the work of middle age, one cannot help but reach into the greater depths of being. Jung wrote, “What is great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” I have to put away some of who Bryan was at 21, else I would be living a lie.
So, am I now old? Bryan at 21 would look at Bryan at 51 and think “That guy is getting old.” Bryan at 51 would smile and nod and say “I understand how you see it that way. However, today I feel brand new.”Published in