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On 32 and Years Closing

"i don't wanna worry about dying"

In less than a week, I'll be 32.  It's not an idea that warrants much attention in my mind...indeed, I believe I've already begun to answer queries of age with the number in question...or the one ahead of it...or the one behind it.  I'm never can quite recall just how old I am without doing the calculations.  It just doesn't matter all that much.

For years, I was taught and told to dread the coming of age, especially the feared three and zero.  And it came.  And it went.  And, with each passing year, my life only gets better.  I've often wondered what all of the fuss was about.

I must admit that the physical signs have shown themselves.  Years of extreme sports and adventure have mated with age and have borne their offspring of sore knees, back trouble and tricky wrists and shoulders.  I'm not able to carry on entire nights and carouse without penalty...but then, was I ever really?  And that's not really my bag anyway.

I thank my people for my positive views on the passage of time.  I think of my grandmother who, in her eighties, only recently ended her political career (or paused, was a lost election and not retirement that made for her last term).  Not to her mention her active social life...often more active than my own.  It's my parents who still live life to the fullest, enjoying every minute and sharing it with those around them.  It's in my friends who refuse to be categorized by numbers and culturally required milestones.

And I thank the music.

The message in Loudon Wainwright III's The Swimming Song is clear: live your life in spite of your fear and perceived risk...the rewards are well worth the gamble.

this summer I went swimming, this summer I might have drowned but I held my breath and I kicked my feet and I moved my arms around

Most years, I gift a mix CD to my aunt and uncle, a collection containing songs that have been significant in my life as of late.  I don't recall exactly when the tradition began...I've always felt a close bond to them, even as a small child.  As an adult, that bond solidified and I have always been thankful for their interest in my life and my pursuits, including music.

A few years back, one of those mixes contained James McMurtry's Just Us Kids.  The response from my uncle, his connection to the song's theme of aging and the often surprising passage of time, will forever stay with me.  It made the song, already a favorite, all that more meaningful for me.

it's a damn short movie how'd we ever get here?

I've been granted a strong sense of adventure and a respect for the time I have to enjoy what life has to offer.  The years are a gift, but with their quick movement down the line, I can understand the reluctance to accept them and the cynicism fed by the fear of their passing.

Kristin and I started a tradition of watching a variety of Christmas movies as the holidays approached.  That custom has led me to catch up on a number of films that had slipped passed me.  This year, one of the ones I caught up to was White Christmas.  My favorite moment of the movie came when Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney sat in the cafeteria of the Pine Tree Ski Lodge, singing of sleep lost over the worries of life.

I guess what I'm getting at with all of this is that we should all do our best to put aside the fears of age and the passage of time (or at least become a little more accepting of them).  Worry makes for lost time and energy.  Age can bring complacency and far too much comfort for our own good.

Dream.  Dream big.  Live large, by your definitions and not those of others.

Life is a short, beautiful, and crazy affair.  Make sure you do that cannonball.


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