Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The seven ages of man, made famous in the English-speaking world through Jacques' speech in As you Like It. I'm the old guy on the right, dressed in pilgrim garb.
I turn forty today and I must admit I'm not going gently into that good birthday. I know I should be a sport, but... At least I'm not spending the day the way I planned, rolled up into a ball in the closet and sobbing. Imperatrix pulcherrima Africae occidentalis has organized a party for me tonight in a bar in the East Village. They even said I could bring an ipod full of my music (wait until everyone hears the rap in Latin). So I should have a good time.
What is it about turning forty that bothers me? The physical decrepitude, the loss of youth, the lack of achievement in my life? No, I'm fine with that. My constitution is that of one who is clumsy but sturdy and I go forward slowly in good health none the worse for wear, like a patient burro. I never really liked youth, so I'm fine with losing it. It is true that I am middle-aged and have the income and savings of a college student, but hey, I've lived a couple different lives and now I have a family I love and am doing something I find worthwhile.
It's just that I got to forty so quickly. Just yesterday I was five years old listening to my grandfather telling me about how his grandmother arrived from Ireland as a child, her suitcase in one hand and her little sister in the other. Then a blur passed by. I woke up and I'm forty and my grandfather has been gone for thirty years, dead like so many people I have loved, and the train shows no sign of slowing down. What happened? I was in Madrid last week and I said to myself, "I spent ten years here? It's been six years since I lived here? Where did all the time go?"
Life is short, life is precious. Really, I have nothing to complain about. Perhaps this wee bit of melancholy and panic is good medicine that will teach me to appreciate all that God has given me, the beauty of every passing second, the miracle of love.
Time to take stock of things, order some Chinese dumplings for lunch, and go out and face the world in my fortieth year.
Posted by Liam at 10:22 AM