By Patricia Hampl | The New York Times
(Editor’s note:Opinion pieces are published for discussions purposes only.)
ife, if you’re lucky, is divided into thirds, my father used to say: youth, middle age and “You look good.” The dawn of that third stage is glinting right at me. It isn’t simply that at this point more life is behind me — behind any middle-aged person — than lies ahead. Middle-aged? Who am I kidding? Who do you know who’s 144?
It’s not just about aging. By the time you’ve worked long enough, hard enough, real life begins to reveal itself as something other than effort, other than accomplishment. Real life wishes to be left to its own purposeless devices.
This isn’t sloth. It isn’t even exhaustion. It’s a late-arriving awareness of consciousness existing for its own sake.
The to-do list that runs most lives through middle age turns out, in this latter stage of existence, to have only one task: to waste life in order to find it. Who said that? Or something like that. Jesus? Buddha? Bob Dylan? Somebody who knew what’s what.