per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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age and cunning beats youth and energy four falls out of five
So, I'll be turning forty next month.

I was going to save this for some time later, closer to my actual birthday, or perhaps for my 40th post. But interactivearts's lyrical and moving meditation on the aftermath of the Victorian Tea started me thinking. And anyway, he and
sjo most graciously lent their house to host an early birthday party for myself and Rochester right after the Tea, and deboranter used her wonderful powers to organize it, so why not ruminate on the subject now?

For some reason, it's not such a big deal to me, at least not in a negative way. Sure, it's one more milestone, one more step in the process of aging. I don't deny that it's happening; what with the accumulated little (and not so little) pains and aches, the grey accumulating in my beard and hair, it would be foolish. I will die someday, and it will almost certainly be sooner than I wish. I can't and don't deny that, and I have acknowledged it in ways that vary from having a last will and testament to giving thought to my final act of Will in this incarnation- the working that will lead my soul to the place it is meant to go, to rest and regenerate until the next time.

But other than that, so what? Forty is no longer what it once was. I look at myself and I am not as worn as my parents were when they reached this age; hell, I look and feel better than a lot of my boomer co-workers did when they reached this age. I looked at the picture they put up at the party to horrify us, and I think, "I look so much better now than I did then." It's looking like my genes are conspiring with my general life of dissipation and excess to make me age gracefully.

I've often stated that one of my goals is to live forever or die in the attempt. All levity aside, I know I won't live forever, not am I willing to make many sacrifices for a dubious amount of life extension. monsteralice and I are in agreement- we want to live for as long as it is good, and die peacefully when we are in our right minds and happy, much like Tolkien had the Numenoreans do. Of course, we also plan to live at least 120 years. In that scale, forty isn't even the middle of my life yet.

I find a great deal of amusement in the number of my friends who are technically (or not so technically) young enough to be my children. And I've recently found a most amusing comeback to those who think it's taunting to remind me of it. ;-) But in all seriousness I think that this is one of the strengths and wonders of our community- that there are not artificial age barriers to friendship.

I walk a few steps behind my lovely wife on this path, and partake in the joy she feels in embracing her age. I'm more creative, more secure, happier, healthier, wiser and more wealthy in the important things of life than I was twenty years ago. It's by no means been unalloyed good, but in general it's been an upward trend. There is a certain shape to my life now, a feeling of meaning and direction, a sense of perspective.

"I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move."

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Well said. I don't mourn my age, I find that what I have gained more than makes up for what I might have lost.

No matter your age, you're still among my youngest friends, Hugh.

I wish Diane & I could have been there on Saturday, but at least I get to wish you Happy Birthday early...and my memory willing, on your birthday, too :-)

No Regrets, live it to the fullest.

Which you seem to be doing.

Again Hugh, Happy Birthday...I wish I knew you as long as some other people...and I look forward to having you around for a long itme yet to come.

dang I tried posting this once before!

Evcelt, you make forty look darn good - just as you made thirty look darn good ten years ago! I think you have a wonderful outlook on this birthday and on the life journey overall. Forty is a special milestone, not one just to be ribbed about getting older, but just as a midpoint in our trip on this planet. Forty is a great age - so much already learned and so much more to experience. I look forward to being forty and also being sixty and eighty. I hope that I will be able to travel and keep learning through my golden years as well as savor those quiet moments on the front porch soaking in the sunsets. There is a wonder and grace to every age - it's what you make of it. Wishing you many more happy birthdays to come, dear pal.

Re: dang I tried posting this once before!

Amen to this! You have said it very well.

(And V, please add me to your Friends list!)

It's looking like my genes are conspiring with my general life of dissipation and excess to make me age gracefully.

Yay dissipation and excess!

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