From Ian Brown’s, Sixty: A Diary of my Sixty-First Year:
The redeeming trait of old age—or of aging into old age as the gerontologists put it—is that finally, you can begin to look at the unlived life and appreciate it is still life. If you take the trouble to write down the details, paying attention to the truth, and not the official version, you get a second chance to live it. That is the real discipline of getting older: to force myself to pay attention to details, as if they matter still.
I’m not exactly sure where middle age is. I would guess that once they close the cover, they can take a total of your years and establish that mid-point. In our culture it’s been fixed close to the age of 50. If that’s true, then I appreciate the optimism.
Truth is, those of us who have reached this age, or beyond, have developed a history to look back on and we are very conscious of the context in which those details exist. And, if you’ve faced your mortality, and the trauma that comes with it, those details become very clear. If you’ve faced it twice, then they’re clearer still.
Yet, as clear to us the history, the more conscious we become of the present. Not only of where we are, but where we can be. Although the marketplace, and society, considers us done, we’re just not quite yet finished. And there’s still such an incredible amount to see.
Ian Brown has written a book about his own details. There is humor, observation, and sometimes melancholy. Some of his insights are common felt.
I would recommend the book to those of a common age although anyone can pick it up and enjoy his writing. But worth a read…and a bit of thought…