A couple of years back, a much younger friend inquired: how does it feel to be 35? Probably better than it does to be 50, I thought to myself. An increasing amount of injuries and pain to deal with, was my vocal response. But you don’t seem to carry pain or injuries, challenged my companion. True indeed. And neither does a violin case.
Everything else being equal, the social energy factor became increasingly more challenging (a common case for us introverts), with greater effort required to maintain pristine health. All stars aligned, I feel no worse physically, and arguably much better than I did at 20.
Rarely do stars align, however. And unlikely that everything conspires to remain equal. Yet I still feel pretty damn good not only physically, but cognitively. Much of the time, the feeling is fantastic.
Alas, a sensation of fragility forever haunts me. It’s too good to last. The well-maintained system houses inner-pressure buildup. A cataclysm looms. Expect a breakdown, whispers an inner voice.
That begs the question. When did it not feel fragile? How has the self-awareness trend progressed through time?
At 20, I didn’t know who I was, nor did I ask. I felt little authority over anything, insecure of all including my physical aspect. I tried to fit in. I could workout without stretching. And although I could eat anything with near impunity, I strangely exercised control. I housed plenty of social energy, most of it senselessly squandered.
At 25, I was sure I knew who I was. Big mistake. The over-assurance led to a series of emotional crises towards the later 20’s. I felt a slightly increased sense of authority, confident in my physical aspect, although insecure over much else. I tried to selectively fit in whenever mood stroke. I could still neglect stretching, and could still eat anything, yet didn’t. Social energy flowed in abundance, but whenever drained, breakdowns followed. Much of the energy still went to senseless waste, but some to strategic use. I considered everything done prior as hopelessly wrong.
At 30, I switched back to not knowing who I was. Fortunately, this element of doubt prevented further breakdowns. Strangely, I felt secure over a great deal of things and with a sense of respectable authority. My pretensions to fit in became ever selective. I could no longer dream of working out without stretching. For that matter, I could no longer function without stretching. And yet I stretched with awful inconsistency. This led to my inability to function. I often felt confined to the corpse of an unhealthy 70 year old. Much done prior felt wrong still, or at least awfully suspicious. Happily, I discovered minimalism in my late 20’s and continued to increasingly apply the mechanic to every domain.
Since 35, I’ve acquired a vague notion of who I am, but am probably mistaken and need to exercise care. I feel an overflowing sense of (probably misconstrued) authority, yet resort to it with keen selectiveness. I feel omnipresent and yet an outsider. Not stretching is out of the question. Near-daily health maintenance has become a religious ceremony. So is meticulously planned choice of food. Both habits I’ve postulated to attribute upwards of 80% to my well being. Fortunately, the 70-year old bug hasn’t resurfaced. Social energy management has become ever challenging. Life continues to develop an increasingly minimal aspect and yet feel endless in possibilities. Much of everything prior still feels oddly wrong, but I lost interest in caring. Rather, I prioritize space for things I genuinely enjoy, like writing.
The ever-increasing inner maintenance along with the continued minimization feel cleansing, yet not without concern for hidden residual defects. The nomadic existence beyond community or sense of responsibility feels liberating, yet not without conflict.
Ultimately, the path is flexible. Components can be rearranged, priorities realigned. Life is too brief to squander in ill thought. Life demands earnest decisions and supportive actions.
Questions, comments? Connect.