The second half of life
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
It's raining in Devon; and driving to work was replete with accidents, white vans trying to wreak havoc and ponds to trap the unwary.
I decided not to hit the keyboard at 5 am. Instead, in the pissing rain, I took Alfie out; it was nice to hear the bird song and not being ensconced inside my small, sometimes overly-warm office.
As is my way, I've an audiobook on the go. No surprise — to me at least — that I've dialled in (again) to the wise words of Stephen Jenkinson (the book is Come of Age). It's a long listen but every time I play it, I find a nugget of wisdom that slowly burrows into my psyche and makes the me think carefully about my life and where I'm headed.
Actually, it's not so much where I'm headed, it's where I'm at, namely the second half of life. It feels, post 40ish, that I've passed the point where career, money, keeping up with Joneses and all that other ego-driven stuff has dropped out of view, only to be replaced by a more thoughtful, sometimes quieter persona.
But what do I want to do with this passage of my life? Or, to be more accurate, what drumbeat am I marching to? Truth is, as these slightly self-absorbed posts lay testament to, I don't really know.
Oh sure, as you'll know by now, I don't want to be devoured by law; and, yes, I want to see the world — or the UK at least; but how, in all truthfulness to my soul, do I want to live?
Do I, for instance, want to continue to be troubled out loud?
Or should I, allow things to flow, as they must, and wait patiently to see what shows up?
Does anyone care?
I doubt it.
And to a degree, neither do I.
You see, despite my often erratic, nihilistic posts, I'm pretty happy with life. I'm working, I've got my health, my family are contented and all things considered, there's not much else I need.
But, still, there's something that quietly haunts me.
I won't even try to put it into words but I've got this low-grade sense that what I'm doing isn't enough. And, despite how the words might appear and be interpreted, I find that exciting. (I accept there's a contradiction between the dull ache of expectation and the aliveness of life but I can't think how else to describe my current state of mind). Sure, at times, it drives me crazy trying to find a few words to live and work by but the potential to be, in the second sojourn of life, is pretty damn cool.
In a way, and you may think it contrived, writing down my musings and hearing from you is very precious — and thank you. These days, I don't get to share my prognostications, less still where my head is at, and these posts and what happens on social media is what I've increasingly come to rely on to put flesh on the Summerhayes bones.
Hey, you never know, one day I might have another eureka moment and announce my grand plan, but until then I'm going to keep doing my thing and wait to see where that takes me 🛣️.