I feel this year to be a crossroads for me, as I try to look at where I've been and draw up a plan for where I want to go.
MEDDYPEDDY's blog today discusses a philosophy class she attended this week. Regarding the 20s-something group, she said: "Three women, nine men...is philosophy a subject for men?" That prompted this morning's contemplation about perspective and outlook on Life.
A few days ago I ran into a girl who's always struck me as having uncommon good sense. I met her some twelve years ago, when she was about 19 and starting her first "real" job. During that year she moved out of her parents' house, bought a cheap used car, and began to build her future.
She was thoughtful - not as in "considerate of others" (though she was that, too), but as in "carefully weighing options before making decisions."
At that age, I was more apt to bemoan what I didn't have, what I couldn't do, and to gnash my teeth with impatience to Arrive At My Destination (that destination being happiness and contentment and prosperity, with none o'the misfortune living can bring).
At that age, Emily had a clear vision that whatever the future might hold, she would meet it head on, cope with what she had to, enjoy what she could, and live Life to the full. She's a girl of rare and remarkable vision.
Back in the day, she was once chitchatting about this and that, then said "The world is my oyster--!"
So it was. I had enough age to appreciate what she was saying - and enough age to feel a twinge of jealousy that I had not been so wise when I was 19.
A chance remark from GREASYJOAN a while back contributed to this internal dialogue. Of Melville's classic she wrote: "I think it is cruel and unusual punishment to inflict 'Moby Dick' on anyone under about 30. You need to have known loss, passion, and a bit of obsession to appreciate it. ...fast forward to age 50 and I can really get into [Melville]... There are some books that should be put in an Al Gore style 'lock-box' until a person is 30 or 45 or 60, I think. This is one of them."
During my 20s I worked at a small liberal-arts college. One of my bosses was the resident Shakespeare scholar. As an English lit major I was less than enthusiastic, shall we say, about Shakespeare. I read what was assigned, with heavy support from Cliff or Monarch notes, and managed to muddle through.
This fellow used to say that no one under forty could read and appreciate "King Lear." (He used to say similar things about other Shakespearian tragedies, but that's neither here nor there.)
I'd hear him pontificating and think "He's full of it. EYE can read 'Lear,' if I want to, and understand it perfectly well. Old man with a couple of spoiled brats, neglecting the only child who genuinely loves him, losing his grip on power, on reality, on Life itself. What's not to understand?"
Forty years on, I hear the old prof outlining the necessity of bringing experience to the mix, of having some years to season perspective when reading a complex story of psychological depth.
And I think about where I've been, and where I want to go...
Have a good'un, Sparklers - carpe diem!