Monday, January 13, 2014

Crawling into a hole

My birthday week is here, and I don't feel celebratory at all. I feel sad today. I can't articulate what's got me down.  But I seem to not be able to reconcile the idea of being one year older and closer to not being able to do all those things that I feel keep life meaningful.

I had a happy week on the sailboat, doing the usual things that I like to do in spite of the chilly weather.  I also had a good day yesterday, rowing to one of the popular creeks in the area, meeting up with some old friends at a restaurant along the creek, having lunch and then rowing back up the creek to the landing.  It was a good row, not too vigorous but just enough to get the heart pumping aerobically.  Working my arm muscles on the oars and having people wave as I went past. It was a good time.

But today has found me feeling anxious and nostalgic for being young again.  A song came on the radio the other day, and I actually could feel myself being transported back to my 20's and that feeling of having a long life ahead--the invincibility and joy of something new every day. I felt it right there in my mind and spirit, and it seemed so real.

And now I have all the things that I could possibly need, but my body feels tired after several hours of physically working, and the aches remind me that the clock is ticking away my life--counting down the minutes and hours towards oblivion.

This is depressing writing, and most likely, a lot of my feelings here will be gone in a few hours. I hope so, at least.  I'm going to a meeting tonight, forcing myself not to isolate and stay home.  And if I wake up tomorrow feeling sad, I'll go for a run/walk on the dirt road.  I'll stir up some endorphins and hope for the best.

But right now, I feel like crawling in a hole and curling up.

“When you're young, you always feel that life hasn't yet begun—that "life" is always scheduled to begin next week, next month, next year, after the holidays—whenever. But then suddenly you're old and the scheduled life didn't arrive. You find yourself asking, 'Well then, exactly what was it I was having—that interlude—the scrambly madness—all that time I had before?” ~Douglas Coupland


30 comments:

  1. I get stuck in anxiety about time remaining, and it's awful. I try to tell myself it's a waste of time, that fretting over the end does nothing but ruin the present. But I find it hard to let go of at times despite that I hope I'm closer to midlife than the end.

    Wishing you better feelings. Running always makes me feel better, so I hope it helps you too.

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    1. The irrationality of sadness and anxiety--hitting when I have nothing dramatic happening--is vexing. I am thinking a good night's sleep is what I need.

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  2. Oh, Brother Syd. I know exactly and I do mean EXACTLY how you feel. It catches up to most of us, I believe. And it's hard. No two ways around it. I suppose we just have to learn to accept a new normal and that, too, is constantly shifting. I had always supposed that when people got older, their lives would be settled, their hearts too. Oh what a false belief that was!
    I don't have one word of advice. All I can say is- you ain't alone. And here we are, all of us at this age, figuring it out together. At least there's that.

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    1. I know you know. Thanks for saying we are in this together. That does help.

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  3. I'll say it too, you are not alone in this feeling at times. It's not enough to just say "shake it off" to someone. I actually think it is good for us to contemplate our own mortality at times. I sometimes spend a little time thinking about the "what if's". Keeps me grounded about the "what is's". Let's me spend time on an appreciation process. Just remember the what if's need to include all the stupid things that by nothing more than luck you arrive where you are today. That always helps me.

    As far as crawling up into a hole......I stay away from holes. I'm sure if I get into a hole there will be two guys there with shovels. ;-)

    Play some more of that rock and roll from a long time ago and TURN IT UP!

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    1. Thanks, Ron. I had a lapse in psyche. And I did listen to rock yesterday. It lifts the spirits. Feel a lot better today and am staying in this day!

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  4. I am blah too, Syd. Crawl into the wheel barrow and let God push you for a bit. This too shall pass.

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    1. It did pass, Christina. Thank you!

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  5. Some of the most beautiful old people I know, are the ones who have graciously accepted the passing of time and remain filled with gratitude for all that their lives have been filled with. I think you have a long way to go before you are rocking in your chair on your porch reminiscing about the good old days, but Syd, our program teaches us in all of our affairs how to live a gracious and full life. We all are brought to difficult places of accepting things that we don't necessarily want to, or letting go of ideas and expectations of how we think things should be. And I know that you know that once we walk through those feelings, we find our serenity on the other side. Embrace your beautiful life my friend and I'm with Ron, turn up the music and dance with C. Happy Birthday!!!

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    1. Love you, dear Annette. Some day I will remember that I don't have to believe the feelings. I can just get some rest and let the feelings pass.

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  6. I feel it, too, man. Deep winter brings that out in me sometimes, those old thoughts and new looks at them. The remedy seems the same to me: avoid isolation, move, do something. I'm getting better at it, and if middle age is teaching me anything it is that nothing lasts forever…and that is a good thing too. Peace to you.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Will visit you soon. Yes, getting out and not isolating is my remedy because my tendency to isolate is strong.

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  7. Syd, Hello again!
    I'm glad THIS happened:
    "...I'm going to a meeting tonight, forcing myself not to isolate and stay home."...

    Gotta tell ya, I've thought many times about death and dying. But never considered it as "oblivion"...but rather as another level of life, a continuation, and AWESOMELY better. And I'm a lot closer than you, my friend. (age 80)

    After all that, I'm betting that the morning will shower--Literally?--grin!) a whole new light from yesterday. SO often a meeting does that for me...
    Blessings.
    Steve E

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    1. Thanks, Steve. Amazing how a brand new day can bring a different perspective. I know that the feelings pass but it sure is difficult when the mind goes down a bad path.

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  8. birthdays are not the easiest things...a mix of emotion...be glad the moments that make you feel young...enjoy life, you know...none of us really know how many days we have left and that can rob us of one we do have...

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    1. You are right, man. I good thing to remember and take each day as it comes.

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  9. Been there too Syd -- and sometimes it passes quickly and sometimes not. Take care and good wishes on your birthday

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I know that you get the feeling. And thankfully, it does pass.

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  10. I just turned 60 and though I know I am "slowing" down I am enjoying it and I think that is the key for me. My goal in the next couple of years is to be exactly where I want to be....less stuff...less responsibility...more time to do exactly what I want to do. Truly...ambition for ambition sake has left be and I like that feeling. And I agree with Brian...we never know how long we have...one day at a time.

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    1. I have that goal too-- to let go of so much stuff. We have been doing that by taking a lot of things to auction. It feels good to start eliminating things now.

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  11. Aww shit Syd get over your self. Damn dude I was forced to retire at 45 years old I'll be 60 this year. That sucks monkey butt!

    Look you worked your way through your childhood problems, did a fair job of working to save the oceans that you love, have a beautiful wife, could probably out distance me in everything except swearing AND I NEVER had a birthday party. Not that I care, my father taught me it's just another day on the calendar.

    So you're getting older, you ache more when your body says slower and your head says faster, damn Syd what do you want, to stop time? Why, why the hell would you want to go back to being young and dumb and afraid of everything except expectations of excellence for yourself, and believing your self to be a failure at any thing less.

    You want to curse the days that led you to this birthday, hell let me help you! The fucking world would be far more advanced if I'd never been born because I have done nothing to contribute to the world at large or my microcosm of it.

    You know what I say on my birthday Syd? Shit I hope I remember to up the number if I have to write my new age down. You don't want a birthday this year cool, don't have one just keep writing the old number down. Want to be depressed about it all, that's cool too--won't change a damn thing--but go ahead and worry about the number of days you have left and how they are going to go. I know a lot f this is coming from the multitude of people around you who have passed in the last year--hell son that's all the more reason to want to turn the page with a party of unconscionable expense, have a $500 cake made, call all the friends you have intentionally been isolating from for no reason other than you wanted to be alone and party the night away, put on the 30's swing music you grew up to and you and C dance the old number away doing the Lindy Hop.

    Happy Birthday Syd, may your coming day be the best day of the year gone and the worst day of the year ahead. I love you brother but I challenge you to a cussing contest for your birthday! You're a sailor you might have a chance at winning. If I need back up I'll get Sarah!

    Fear Nothing Syd, except me and my wife and two dogs showing up at your doorstep and staying until at least you birthday after next!

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    1. Mark, thanks for knocking me upside the head and reminding me to get over myself. I get the shitz of myself sometimes. You and your tribe are welcome here any time. I mean that. But man, I grew up with the Doors and Led Zeppelin and Janis and Floyd. No Lindy for me.

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  12. Syd-
    I am sorry to read that you're having these feelings. I hope you are right and that they have already passed. I have had many birthdays as an adult where I get very reflective and contemplative and meloncholy. Not every year, but pretty often.

    I apologize for commenting so infrequently. My phone is not so smart and the only blog I can comment on without issue is Mary's (I'll be surprised if this posts) without getting on the computer...and I rarely get on my computer at home anymore. I'm sorry- I'm making excuses for being a bad cyber-friend. You've always been so supportive of me and I appreciate that. I will see what I can do about commenting more often.

    Take care Syd, I will keep you in my thoughts.

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    1. I miss your posts, Kelly. Thanks for commenting here.

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  13. Time/age ....they are strange things, Syd. Strangely I love being 80 (will be 81 in Feb.) and wouldn't go back if I could.

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    1. I like how you are accepting of yourself and live every moment to the fullest.

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  14. Hang in there my friend,I can relate to having the birthday day blues.Next week is my Birthday Jan 22 I will be a greatful 62.

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  15. Just read through your blog for today, and my first thought was:

    GET OFF THAT DANGED PITY POT!

    Now, if I wanted to be a real non-compassionate or thoughtless person, I would tell you that ---wait a bit - - - you'll be okay; patience patience. Perhaps an inventory of the past 8 - 10 years might reveal something. - - - Who knows? You know exactly what needs to be done to get out of this funk, and just now, I was feeling very guilty about not having returned your message. (okay - I do still feel guilty - because you have never neglected me).

    You've heard all this stuff before:

    Aging is not for sissies
    Age - getting older than you want - is very challenging,
    Aging is very inconvenient - in all ways: socially, sexually (well, sometimes), physically, and so on.

    I am now situated comfortable and fairly safe-feeling in a retirement community of about 135 other folks. For the first time in my life, I am embarrassed to let others know how old I am. The first day or so that I was here, I was asked my age, and of course, I told that I was 75. I was totally surprised at their surprise - - - when they told me that I was just a kid. (I am one of about a dozen or so who are 75 or younger) All the others are 80+, and one guy is 97, and he danced on his 97th birthday - January 1st. These people have taught me much about a different sort of humility - - - that of accepting the beauty of the aging person - as seen from the INSIDE - OUT. I had to be among them, and actually stand back and watch how they conduct their lives. I am also learning to whine less - since most have some of my ailments, some have more. I have been in the foyer when one of us died and was taken out on a gurney. The meaning of 'living a full and happy life' has taken on a completely different feeling for me. I am learning once again - as a child - to observe and to learn how to age gracefully, and still fulfill my own personal need of being useful to others as much as I can.

    In closing, I have learned to treasure the meaning of, 'it is far better to give than to receive.'

    All of these words may seem attacking to you - - - but I love you - - - as you already know. I am beginning to experience some forgetfulness (short-term memory, I think/hope), and of course the rapid aging process. A quick inventory has reminded me of my compassion, my care for people as well as critters; my gratitude for following a long roundabout way to find myself in my own 'backyard' - even if it is not my personal property - but not far away, and to know that my beloved friends, especially the program folks who are actually more of an extended family to me, who keep in touch, which makes me feel 'still necessary.'

    Your blog just made me want to reach out.
    Anonymous #1

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    1. You are right. And I inventoried it and got some sleep which made all a lot better.

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