Thursday, May 30, 2013

Over The Hill

As I travel through my 50's occasionally questions of age appropriateness come to the fore. Answers to these questions can be difficult to come by. What is proper behavior or a proper standard of dress. How is one who has experienced over half a century of life supposed to behave. Certainly my life and health at 55 is different than my parents at that age. To my grandparents, 55 today would be almost unrecognizable.

Man lives longer today, mankind moves faster. In the middle ages I would either have died by this time or would be considered extremely old. Although one may have, in that era, lived through several different rulers or regimes, the world at large, the basic experience of living, would not change greatly. For much of man's existence on earth change has come slowly.

Today technology speeds forward at a dizzying pace. What was new a decade ago is hopelessly outmoded today. Capitalism has always contained, as one of it's traits to ensure self perpetuation, planned obsolescence. Today this obsolescence is attained in months, not years. The latest technical innovation, no matter how trivial or inconsequential, has people lining up around the block desperate to own it.

I mark time in days, weeks, months, years and, in some cases, decades. I do not understand the fascination with things being accomplished a nano second faster. Seconds do not concern me. While I feel life is too precious and short to waste time, I have been known to put down a book of leave a theatrical or musical performance before it's end when I feel my time is being wasted, spending time can be one of life's great pleasures. Spending time with ones we care about, spending time on a particular project, spending quiet time with ones own thoughts or merely reveling in the glory of a beautiful sunlit day.

I have spent time wandering the streets of new cities, exploring the less traveled, sometimes almost hidden, corners of museums and sitting on a bus or train enjoying the scenery outside as it rolls by. I have learned, over the past half century, to relish the experience of life. I do not shut myself off from it by staring at my phone or putting pods in my ears. I am constantly entranced by the sights and sounds which surround me.

I have occasionally been described as "old school". It is a title I wear with pride. For instance, I hand write and hand edit my blog posts before committing them to cyberspace. When new technology will add to my life I embrace it. When it does not I eschew it.

I find myself confronted with what look is appropriate. I  have always veered toward a classic style. In my younger days I had a fondness for vintage. An appreciation of the timeless silhouette and excellent workmanship of bygone eras. Even though these days vintage fashion is extremely difficult to find and often too fragile to be worn I still own a few cherished pieces. I have maintained the sense and sensibility of that classic silhouette. The skinny suit and skinny jeans popular today are not appropriate for a man of my age and physique.

My desire is not to cling to my youth but to learn from it and move forward. At this age I do not consider myself to be over the hill but still ascending it, eagerly anticipating what I will discover further up the trail.

1 comment:

  1. As Joe Gillis said to Norma Desmond; "There's nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you're trying to be twenty-five."

    .... she shot him shortly thereafter.