Saturday, January 01, 2005

last day at thirty-five

Yes, it's my final day as a thirty-five year-old man. At midnight later, I will have to start replying to queries on my age with "in my late thirties".

What's curious is that I honestly do not feel much older than I did ten years ago, if age is equated with a sense of gravity. People, as they grow older, are expected to develop a certain seriousness, to frown upon frivolity, to have a blank expression or a frown as a default visage, to be focused only on the things that matter. It is as if maturity was lock-stepped in time with blind responsibility and an inability to laugh except at the occasional political or off-color jokes.

For me though there is no need to furrow my brow any more than I usually do when I'm tired or thinking. I've learned that while I cannot change certain circumstances, I do have control over my attitude. And while I will vehemently deny and decry unbridled optimism for the emptiness that it essentially is, I have developed a personal store of empowering hope. Not the kind that hopes for the sake of hoping and just sits there, dreaming and not acting, but the sort that seeks ways to create means of making goals realities.

Tomorrow, I'll be thirty-six and I know that the clockwork passage of years is artificial. I could be forty or thirty or nineteen. I do not think that the growth of the mind is linked to the cycles of the world, the sun, the moon or the stars. It is not tied in to the deterioration of the body, and is not the reason why a human being is always crying, eyes shut or open wide. The mind and the spirit grow on their own terms, on a timetable that is both simpler and more elaborate than than meridiens and longitudes. To some, the mind stretches at geological time, pulsing with of the movement of tectonic plates. To a number of us, it is measured like comic book pages, moving from panel to panel in a prescribed sequence, fearing the white gutters and the blank margins. To others, it is at the speed of ideas, flickering with neon hues that burn and flare out in subatomic beats. This is why none of us think exactly alike or of the same things or assign elements of life the same weight.

I think it is vital to simplify, to focus, to be even more deterministic. Maybe I'm at the midpoint of my life; perhaps I have gone past it without knowing, like everyone else except the most astute or dejected. So in the year that follows and in the years that hopefully remain (and there hope is as cruel as it is comforting), I resolve to write a little more, to live a little more, and to love a little more.

New Year's resolutions are always tricky bastards. You get the sense of being set up for a big fall. But if we cannot set goals and strive to be a little bit better, then we are nothing more than mute stones that look up at the night sky without motion, without breath, without life.

Better, always better, to try.

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