I’m at an age when my young friends begin to worry about me. They note with puzzlement that I decline their invitations to see a play, a movie or go to the symphony. Am I depressed? Am I ill?
The answer is “none of the above.” I’m old. I eschew the hurly-burly of street bustle in favor of contemplative life. I am, in fact, quite happy, and longevity statistics prove others my age are too. I would ask my younger friends to think of me as a ship peering out to sea while, one by one, the moorings slip away. Without the necessity of having to work, I am free to chart the course of my choosing.
We all know that to every age there is a season. Youth is sweet but it has ts impediments, not the least of which is that it is short. By the age of 30 mathematicians and entrepreneurs can lose their originality. (“Learning to Accept Your Decline,” by Arthur Brooks, The Week, Jan. 17, 2020, pg. 41.) By our forties, work that requires speed or agility may pose challenges. But what is decline but a reminder that in life adaptability is key?
J. S. Bach became a teacher once he decided his work was no longer innovative. He died a man beloved by his students. Charles Darwin, to the contrary, chose to live in the past, felt left behind and grew miserable. (Ibid, pg. 40.)
Alan Watt has observed that life is a dance with steps forever changing. If my present pleasures are different from the past, friends needn’t wring their hands. I am well. Other music refreshes me now: strains of the muse.