Sunday, May 06, 2012

In the middle

Middle age is an interesting place to be. For starters, it's tough to imagine that I actually fall into the category of "middle aged". If I'm going to be truthful with myself, I'm mostly likely beyond middle age at this point. Sure, I live a clean life: mostly vegan, no drugs (aside from the ones that keep me alive), virtually no booze, and my relationship status is married and monogamous. Will any of this help me live beyond 90 years old? Probably not, but I think I'm OK with that.

So what DO I get from this self-proclaimed "clean living"?  I suppose I get the gratification of living according to my values & principles. Integrity is something that I care about. One of the benefits of middle age is years of acquired self-knowledge, which comes in handy if you happen to care about living according to your principles. If you don't happen to care about principles that's just fine. My guess is you'll probably live longer and happier because of it.

A couple of months ago I decided that there was something to be said for the blind & often misinformed idealism of my 20's. I had my causes that I cared and fought about, and little else seemed to get into my sheltered, white-privileged world. I didn't watch the news or pay attention to national affairs. In hindsight it seems that I was sometimes happier that way, but would I do it again?  No thanks - once was enough.

I've decided that I'm an "informed idealist" -- I can choose to pay attention to world events, but I can also believe in things like world peace on a simplistic level, even though I know it's not likely to happen. I can choose not to stress out too much over the craziness in this world. In fact, to stress myself out over anything is arguably unwise, on account of the autoimmune, inflammatory bowel albatross around my neck.

I knew when I started this blog entry that it was likely to be chaotic and hard to follow, but I chose to start typing anyway. Middle age, I figure, is chaotic and all over the place. It's living between the youth that you see (and feel) slipping away, and the hopes you have for the future. Middle age is an opportunity to use what we've learned in the first half of life and hopefully put it to good use.  At the moment I am in a place of wondering exactly HOW I am going to make good use of the next chapter of my life.  Even though I have plenty of self-knowledge, I still feel like I've got less answers than questions.  Perhaps finding the answers to those questions is my purpose for the next half of my life. If so, I think I'd be OK with that.

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