The Hinges of My Mind
Today I'm heading to lunch with a co-worker and friend, and as we walk into the Chinese restaurant, there's a magazine whose cover is open sitting on the table just inside the door where people wait, by the gold Buddha statue. I turn the page shut, and see the cover: AARP (American Association of Retired Persons for you who aren't even close to this stage of life yet). I shudder. They keep sending me stuff in the mail. Why are they harrasing me? I still climb, still ride my bike to picnics, still run the lake.
Of course, I climb about three times a year, and when I run the lake I need to stretch like a Yoga Master afterwards if I'm to avoid the after-pain that stems from shortened hamstrings and falling arches. My ears ring after concerts... for a long time. Maybe they never stop. Today I moved a scone from Angie's office to my own, took a bite from it, and promptly walked to her office to get the rest of it, forgetting that I'd just taken it from her.
I'm getting old. And the one thing I'm hoping for, more than anything else, isn't to keep climbing... it's to keep learning, keep growing, keep nurturing relationships and being open to new ones. This is living - and I'm far from ready to settle into a routine that simply seeks to preserve my relational and ideological assetts - instead I want to keep investing them in the marketplace of people and ideas - open to changing and being an instrument of change, for I really believe that the two go together.
Here's a great quote for all of us... especially we who are growing older:
I'm not nearly as afraid of dying as I am of the hinges inside my mind and soul rusting closed. I am desperate to keep them open, because I think that if they close, that's one's first death, the loss of hope, curiosity, and possibility, the spiritual death. After that, it seems to me, the second one is just a formality. I wanted to oil the hinges, force the doors to stay open.
Taken from Running to the Mountain.