On Growing Old (or Older)

This is not my writing below. A very good friend sent it to me . Perhaps they saw me in it. (At least I hope so)

I’m in the Pacific Northwest on vacation the next week or so. My daughter just graduated from college up here in Oregon and she’s going to be staying in Portland. My son went to college in DC and stayed there.

We’re all together on this trip for my daughter’s graduation celebration through the Pacific Northwest, then mom and dad return to L.A., my son to DC, and my daughter stays in Oregon.

Things change. My daughter’s no longer a child, my son’s a man. The world belongs to them and their peers now. Their turn.

This is a good trip for me. Beautiful world up here, and I’m organizing my core. We’ve just gone through the whirlwind of graduation activity, and now we’re helping my daughter move into her apartment in Portland. Then we’re driving up to Seattle and Vancouver. Nice trip. The universe is rewarding me.

This coming generation “self-identifies” a lot – that’s a good thing. It’s rational and sane. We are different than our physicality, we are more than our limitations. We live within, but are not defined by. We define who we are, each of us.

I told my kids that I’m self-identifying as a 38-year-old young man trapped in an old-guy body. Truly, that’s how it feels. How’d I become an old guy? How’d that happen? I’m as surprised as anybody. I just kind of sat in one place for a while and – whooosh, well whaddya know, I’m now an old guy.

It’s the way of things. We take turns. We all learned that in kindergarten, remember? Taking turns. I’ve had my turn at my 20s, my 30s, and my 40s, now it’s their turn. And then we leave here to make room for the next ones whose turn it is.

If old people didn’t leave there’d be no room for babies and children, and that would be a terrible world to live in, a world without babies, without childhood and children. I’m okay being an old guy… I’ve had my turn and I’m good with that.

Letting go is hard. But if I don’t let go of my 10 year-old daughter, then I don’t get my wonderful college graduate daughter, starting her life, finding her path… her turn. I would not hold on to my 10 year-old for all the world… and I miss her, that little girl.

It’s the way of things.

Buddha said there were three Noble Truths. Do you know what the first one is? Life is suffering.

Boy, that’s kind of a bleak entry into enlightenment. But it’s true. We suffer because we love, we become attached to the world… and the world changes. We lose everything we hold dear even as we hold it. It’s called time.

I’m not the 38 year old man anymore, my daughter’s not my 10 year old princess, my son’s not a 12 year old playing little league baseball. Things change.

That’s a good thing. And it’s sad. Buddha’s first Noble Truth.

There are rhythms, flows. Each phase of life has its way, its paths. Some clear, some discovered anew… over and over again by each new traveler.

My next journey will be into the leaving process. I see it as returning home… to the place I was before I came here, before I came into this world of love and suffering, this world of struggle, challenge, heartbreak and joy. I was there before, I’m not worried about it.

I’m tired. My soul is tired. It’s been here a while and I’m ready to sit on the porch watching sunsets, listening to the music play.

I’m not going to fight with the pathogen. I’m an old guy. I’m not going to fight. I know a lot of stuff. That’s the product of living in an old brain. It has acquired a lot of information.

I’m not smart, just old. Because I know a lot of stuff, I can apply a lot of knowledge to situations. If a young person did that – boy, that’s pretty smart. When an old guy does it, it’s just being old. It’s called wisdom.

If people find my accumulated knowledge helpful for their journeys, I’m more than happy to help. But I’m not going to fight about it. Do what you want. Do what you think is best.

Change is coming. That is certain.

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