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Yes, it's about time!

Yeah, I've been back from CA for nearly two weeks, now, and am just getting around to this. Life is strange at 80. I'd tell you to avoid it if possible, but you'd never remember my advice :)

No, seriously, things aren't really all that bad. I'm amazed at how much mid-day vitality I've still got, how much walking I can still do, how vital life still seems for me. It's only the way it all fades by evening that has me less than thrilled. And, to be sure, how many of my old cohort have vanished on me. Don't believe what they say about lifespans of 80 and 90 becoming common . . . there aren't that many who actually make it.

I did see a few of them, on my trip south. My old high-school buddy, Frank, can hardly get around, for his sciatica problems. He spent 20 years as an Air Force navigator, and the rest of his life as a Deputy Sheriff, but I wonder if he is going to last another five. My advantage is that I haven't owned a vehicle for the past 35 years, which has been salutary for my health (not to mention my pocketbook, and my peace of mind).

I returned to find that some of my LJ friends have deleted, which is harder to take than my lost youth. And I reflect again on the strangeness of this so-called 'friendship' business, here on LJ. And the anonymity that seems to be quite alright with everyone. I admit, there is no reason for me to expect real friendship on such a thin basis . . . but why call them friends then? It needs another name, like 'contacts', or 'tryouts'. Or maybe they are friends in today's world . . . maybe I just don't understand how tentative such things have become. I'm pleased to tell you that in my world, I've got some thirty or forty friends who would happily put me up for a night or two if I should arrive on their doorstep. Even unannounced.

Now that is what I would call a friend. And it spoils me. I want to be in real communication with the people whose lives I follow, here on LJ (and I do try and follow everyone's, even if my own LJ input has been nothing to brag about). I try to absorb 'who you are' so when I do offer a comment or two, I feel like it could be coming from someone who knows you and thinks about what you're saying. I admit, it doesn't jell for everyone on my list (which should explain why I don't comment to everyone), but know that I think about you when I read your input, and I have some opinions about you (if you're ever curious enough to ask).

I wonder if anyone knows what happened to Bridget McClellan, one of the deleted whom I really do miss. (You see? I wouldn't even ask that, about a contact or a tryout. And why should I bother, if I already have so many friends? Only because real friends kind of rely on each other being there. It's part of what makes life worthwhile . . . Yes, even up to the age of 80).

I did want to say something about the way this year is opening. I'm picking up on a lot of tension out there, with odd kinds of hangups in the way things are happening. It's like a huge energy-buildup is underway, and somewhat worrisome for what the summer might be like. Normally, summertime has all the year's intensity; but normally, the rise of it is gentle this early along the way . . . doesn't start to really register until late in June or beyond. So my advice is to be especially observant of things and generally looking out for your own well-being. You might have to lay back a bit, before summer is done with. Get into some early morning meditation.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 4th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
Hey, Tarin!

It's up there now. I actually had it ready on April 29th, but David had changed the server name, and at least one of the parameters besides, without ever letting me know . . . and then when I tried to reach him he vanished to Chicago, where his email connection stopped working until this morning. This is a beautiful example of what I meant by "odd kinds of hangups in the way things are happening."

And as to my screed on friends, I'm sure you noted that you were the only one who gave me any return comment! I wonder if it's my recent emphasis on becoming 80 . . . Maybe I've pushed my friendship-value too far? Or if it's just more of the same "odd kinds of hangups."
May. 9th, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this post, but the LJ gremlins ate my lengthy reply when I hit "comment." :(

I agree that there is a lot of confusion about internet "friends." I know many people - myself sometimes included - who are very confused about what is expected of them, and what they should expect from their online "friends." I wish they'd call them "contacts" or something else instead. "Friend" is a bit misleading, in my opinion.

I hope I have half as many friends as you do by the time I'm half as old as you. ;) Seriously, I can't imagine having 30 people who'd put me up at a moment's notice. I can think of maybe five, and most of them are family members, and I'm not even 100% sure about all of THEM. ;) haha

Anyway, great post. I enjoyed reading it very much.
May. 9th, 2007 05:55 am (UTC)
Thank you very much. Interestingly, both of your responses actually reached me by email, even though only this second one is here.

It's good to get the affirmation. And in a way, the lack of much response at all also affirms it. I really shouldn't get into that scolding mode. But it arises from frustration. Although from what I've observed of your own postings, they seem to have a pretty good response pattern and they don't register (to me, anyway) the kind of 'social uncertainty' that underlies my complaint.

As to my view about what constitutes 'real friendship' it owes its origin entirely to that vanished hippy culture that is so often derogated today. I have observed what seems to be a generational thing, a kind of 'icon-bashing' that hits out at whatever was socially current in those days: feminism, integration, new-ageism, and much else from that period. Yet, people are driving themselves into the ground, today, with their pursuit of what so many of us disdained: the so-called American Dream. Community was paramount in those times, and today - thanks largely to technology and the pursuit of the 'private sphere' - it has pretty much gone underground . . . or been left to those less sophisticated.

I am hoping for a rebirth, with the present turning of consciousness that is underway. But it is still an 'iffy' thing.
May. 9th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
On a personal level (concerning LJ), I have one LJ "friend" who gets upset if I don't comment to each and every post she makes, and is constantly asking me why I don't talk to her anymore. I'm not ignoring her at all - I just don't feel compelled to comment to every post she makes, and I don't go around counting my friends list every morning to see who's unfriended me or whatever. I've never met her, and don't mind when she doesn't comment to personal posts of mine, but it feels like a double standard. I don't like to feel like I HAVE to ALWAYS comment to someone's LJ for fear they'll be upset if I don't.

On a societal level - I agree with your observations about the disintegration of real communities. I don't think people realize that capitalism tears families apart. I'm not totally anti-capitalist, but you can't ignore how this "one family, one house" culture undermines traditional family cohesion. I live thousands of miles away from my family - so does my husband. There are no jobs in my hometown. In my husband's, the cost of real estate is so prohibitive we can't afford to live there.

I'm glad someone your age can find something good to say about "hippies." ;) Seems like nowadays we're contemptuous of anything having to do with "feelings" or "emotions" or "unmitigated kindness."

Anyway. I really do enjoy your posts. It's really refreshing to hear thoughtful comments by someone of your generation, besides hollering at all us kids to get off your lawn. haha

I remember one guy in our old neighborhood, he waws about 70 and from Russia or someplace similar. He was a nice enough man, but he always looked angry or disappointed, and when he saw us walking without our son in a stroller, his wife was delighted but he just declared, "WOLVES!! Children are all WOLVES! They suck you dry and leave you to die alone! WOLVES, I tell you!"

We figured he'd had some sorrow in his life.
May. 20th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
You really sound very youthful for your age. I am guessing it is becuae of your spirituality.

You say a lot of interseting things in your post. The first one that comes to mind is how you haven't owned a car for 35 years. That really would help with fitness. I have had a car for the past few years, but before that, I used to walk everywhere and often up to an hour each way nearly every day... Often I would walk right past the waiting bus and decide to walk into town instead... needless to say I have put on a lot of cushion since those days! hahaha.

It must be hard to see so many people your age struggling with mobility and loneliness. It is good to hear your have so many good friends.
Have you always found yourself a social person?

Also, I think your advice is a great reminder. It is so easy to forget important simple things, such as looking out for your own well being. I was in a habit of meditating every day for a few weeks there and before that I would mditate every few days, but now I have stopped completely... I'm not sure why. But of course, everything is impermenant and I am bound to start again sometime soon.

Stay happpy,
May. 21st, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)
Living without a car is not for everyone, but mainly because most have organized their lives around having a car. Accordingly, it requires some specific organizing to live easily without one. There are now organizations that make it easier to do so. Seattle has one called Flexcar that makes it possible to just use a handy car for particular or exceptional instances.

Yes, I used to walk much more than I do now. It's a great habit to get into, and enjoyable as well as a good prompt for doing a lot of 'out-and-about thinking,' because your mind does not have to be engaged or interrupted by anything else.

It isn't so much that I'm such a social person, for I usually keep to myself when I am out and about unless someone speaks to me first; but I've done a lot of thinking about what is worthwhile in life, and while creativity ranks perhaps at the top, the next below it is friendship, which I see as a counterweight to the alienation implied by our existential solitude. I mean, when I once realized how terribly alone each of us is, after leaving our family (and often our town) of birth, and that this is what makes personal relationship so essential to us that it takes over our entire emotional world, I began to see at the same time how hugely significant friendship could be. And then when I put materialism and money on a lower tier in my life, it encouraged me to put more focus into seeking and maintaining friendships, and discovering ways to find them.

In a sense, the latter half of my life has been all about the nurturing of friendship. The only friendships I now have from the first half of my life are those few that have been regenerated from the days of my youth. I have not a single friend dating back to the period from age 20 to 45 in my life, because the world I lived in then did not support the creation of friendships.

I think that all of this later background contributed to maintaining a lot of youthful attitudes (and realities) over the course of my more recent life. Yes, spirituality has been a large part of it, but operating as a backdrop.

Thanks for your thoughtful response, Tia...

May. 21st, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
I find I'm not much o a social person either. With me I dont really make friends easily... I make aquaintances, i guess. But that is because I see friendship as something deep, meaningful and even spiritual, so that the few friends I do have are true friends.

I too went through a stage that was not conducive for real friendships. I was very wary of people and that is because of the sort of circles I traveled in. Since I have changed from that sort of person, I am finding that my 'aquaintances' are closer to being friends than before when I was into a life of hard partying.

You say you live in Seattle. I hear it rains there a lot and is lush and green. Is this true. I love the rain. I love that fresh smell that comes from the trees and the land when it has been raining.
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