“Beware when casting out your demons, lest you lose the best thing in you” (F. Nietzsche)
I can’t help but think lately, that I really like getting older. I’ve changed – though maybe not at all really – maybe I’m just getting better at being myself. Or maybe I’m just getting lazy enough to become comfortable with myself. I don’t know if there’s a qualitative difference.
I remember moments in my life where I wished I could just fit in somewhere and play nice and get along with what the rest of the world was doing. If only I could have slipped out of my skin for a while and taken a vacation from the neurotic ride of my existence. Thankfully those days are a blip in the past – a reminder to those who haven’t yet experienced learning to let parts of yourself die and slip into the rear view mirror, into the realm of discarded thoughts and things you laugh about – eventually it happens. You can let go, laugh about the clothes you wore, the worries you had, the doors you struggled to open only to find them lacking and disappointing upon entry.
There are little things along the way, of course, which find you on odd and unremarkable days that make you realize life in a different manner. Life is that way exactly; it’s seldom an earthquake, or lightning bolt that hits you and makes you realize that suddenly everything is different. It’s a mosaic, a tile that is a slightly different hue, or catches the light a bit differently. It’s a poignant quote that you stumble across while thumbing through a book, or the woman next door who stops coloring her hair, letting it turn into the most exquisite color of silver, finding yourself fixated on how incredibly beautiful she’s become as a result. It’s little things like watching a pork belly cure into pancetta, air drying and becoming denser and earthier as the days drag on. Things that stick in your brain like a splinter that is never going to be removed, something that itches and makes you come back to it again and again… It is the smallest things which make the biggest difference… Simple notions that become life long lessons on appreciation, humility and beauty.
It is change, of course, and it is the healthy and vital aspect of living – recognizing that you are always changing, that the world and the circumstances of it are too. Often it’s the case that you grow apart from some things into others. Eventually the cream rises to the top. Eventually, if you seek any sort of genuine existence, you become a better version of yourself as a result of it. Some times you realize you never really knew who you were, what you loved or why. Sometimes you never find it until you let go of things and surrender to the unknown, take risks, allow yourself the luxury of temporary pain, confusion, the need to improvise and find out what you’re capable of.
Really, I think it’s no more difficult than not resisting – it’s a natural course, a river that flows in you or that you float on – sometimes we cling to things like rocks on the bank and stop moving down stream, towards a vast ocean of the unknown. We fear proceeding, losing what we have, what we are comfortable with. We fear death to the point that it paralyzes the possibility of life. It is a strange facet of humanity…
I fear none of it – death, change – because they are all inevitable and come eventually, no matter how much you resist or cling to the rock on the bank. The only thing I fear is missing life, living to the fullest, growing a little bit older every day…