So I'm getting very close to the big 38. This is a crucial age for me, as it is a magical number in my family. Now, some people and rightly so, make fun of me for this, but making it to 38 without the old ticker exploding is quite uncommon with the males along my maternal line of descent. Back in 2009, I had more than a mild panic about this. You can read the details here or in Foulweather #3. Long story short, I got into the ring with death, not literally, but I wrestled the unavoidable beast and dodged his scyth... for now... In hindsight, confronting my mortality and the subsequent depression I had to struggle out of was one of the most profound experiences of my life and what I regard as the true beginning of my adulthood. It is a journey, perhaps a healthy indivdual should undertake at twenty-one not thirty-three, but I'll blame Western culture for much of that. I feel many people continue to cruise through life, avoiding the big looming inevitability of all inevitabilities. It is all too easy to avoid familiarity, acceptance and eventual comfort with death in the presence of so many distractions, consumer pressure, career/ life expecations, mass media, social media, popular perceptions of youth, beauty, aging and so on. All I can really say, as with many other things in life, you have to put in the time and effort, to reap the rewards. Backward steps are possible of course, and I take them often but like my acupuncturist said now that she has 'opened the gates of hell,' and I walked through it, there's no going back to that state of panic, where I was once consumed by terror, paralyzed by hopelessness and meaninglessness.
Anyway, I haven't made it to 38 yet. It is still a few weeks to go. So is this just another excuse to post photos of myself?
I keep meaning to get back into meditation and Tai Chi to facilitate 'the journey' but there is simply too much skateboarding to be done. I'm slowly beginning to accept that skateboarding is going to have to be my meditation and Tai Chi and I have to say I think it is serving me well, even though it is more acceptable to drink beer while skateboarding. Getting older on my skateboard has been somewhat profound. It is teaching me some amazing lessons, in focus, when and what to let go of; how to celebrate and dive into the little stuff while shrugging off the big stuff and how to work towards perfect form. Before, I was an adult my approach was spastic and unrefined. I cared little for proper technique. I just wanted to get the job done and move on quickly. Now, I am an old man I appreciate working towards a proper form as if it was a yoga pose of Tai Chi sequence. The proper deck check, the proper foot position and so on, while stilling the mind (hence the RnR Photo above). There is immense but calming satisfaction and joy in this pointless pursuit and I'm going to ride it out as long as I can for it not only connects me with 'everythingness' but because I might only have a few more sessions to go before the ticker goes 'boom.'
I must also acknowledge that I feel a little uncomfortable celebrating my life while my father-in-law is in reality far closer to death than myself, with likely mere months left on this plane of existence. At the same time, I know he appreciates it when other people have passions and pursue them with vigor. Bob was dealt a shitty hand and watching such a strong man, prematurely decay is heartbreaking but at the same time, as I mentioned a few weeks back, I feel like the dying open magical portals that the rest of us would do well to find the courage to look through.
If anyone is still reading this tripe, I hope your journey is going well.