What was it meant to feel like at my age (54)?

No one ever told me.

As a young boy, everyone seemed so much older than me but never talked about ageing nor their age. That’s not quite true: “Inside, I still feel like I’m 18”.

But I’m here.

In the thick of it.

And much like or similar to my teenage years, the questions keep tumbling out:

why are we here?
what’s the meaning of meaning?
why was I born?
did my parents really want a second child?
why did work take up so much of my time?
what will become of my children when I’m gone?

The list is endless.

My wife knows there’s something amiss. In fact, I’ve expressed as much.

Is this it?

And she looks back into my fixed stare and I know is searching for the right words but nothing comes out. That’s fine. I’m not expecting her to fall under the spell of my slightly solipsistic and definitely nihilistic train of thought.

To be honest, there’s part of me that wonders how I’ve lasted this long. What with my daily musings on the desultory nature of work — we weren’t born to be cogs in a machine — and grief-soaked soul trying to come to terms, still, with those people no longer here, it won’t come as any surprise to learn that I’m often weighed down by my old friend Black Dog. But there is a different, more nuanced reflection to this; namely, whereas, previously, I used to think something was wrong, having started my deep dive into the writing of Eugene Thacker, I realise it’s quite normal to feel this way — if not sometimes unwelcome.

But you don’t need to know any of this, do you?

I mean, things are hard enough in your world without you having to spend time reading my brooding, often depressing blogs — if that’s what they are.

Truth is, I don’t expect anyone to be interested in, let alone read my work. As edgy and/or arrogant as it sounds, I don’t write for you (I’m not selling anything — not yet anyway!) but for my soul or at least to calm my nerves. In case it’s not already obvious from the daily outpouring, it’s one of the few things that brings me joy or at least brings me close to my muse. That’s not to say I’m always awash with ideas, useful or otherwise, that I want to write about but the fact that I’m now more in the activist camp, means that writing is one way to reveal that to the world. Oh sure, I can man the barricades or put myself in harm’s way but to my mind, words can be and often are just as effective as any amount of non-violent demonstration.

Back to my age point.

I do miss my grandparents or at least having sufficient old people around to share and wallow in my thoughts, inside a body that’s fading right before my very eyes. To be clear, I’m not worried about looks or what I wear but I’m more interested to learn what it feels like to let go and live out the third act of my life in a quiet, contemplative way. There’s also the likelihood of getting sick and talking to people who’ve had to wrestle the no option, treatment option mantra to the ground and decide if they really want to succumb to the arsenal of options that the health service now has at its disposal. One day perhaps, as part of my oft-mentioned pilgrimage, I might get an opportunity to chew the fat with a few people who’ve walked this path and other more interesting paths than my very ordinary and not very interesting life.

Anyhow, for now, that’s enough. I don’t want to leave you feeling that it’s all completely hopeless — hope free perhaps — and instead will leave you with the thought that whilst we’re an out there society, there’s nothing wrong, once in a while, in going within and inviting a question into your heart that’s more metaphysical than necessary and see what emerges.

Take care.

— Julian

Photo by Avesta Rezaeizadeh on Unsplash

ecological pessimist — influenced by Zapffe, Benatar, Thacker