Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Over the Hill

November 29, 2009

One of the pleasures of working at the house is quality time spent with the iPod.  And one of the particular enjoyments of late is the wonderful playlist that The Wife put together for my upcoming birthday (it starts with a ‘four’ and ends with an ‘oh!’).  Not only is it some great music, but it perfectly captures her wry sense of humor and her affection for both me and irony.  Behold, the wonder:

“Oh Death”                                                                    Ralph Stanley
“Old Man”                                                                     Neil Young
“All My Mistakes”                                                        The Avett Brothers
“Careful Not to Draw Your Maps in Pen and Ink”       The Cobalt Season
“Long Time Comin’”                                                     Bruce Sprinsteen
“In My Time of Dying”                                                 Led Zeppelin
“Make Yourself”                                                            Incubus
“Rebellion (Lies)”                                                         Arcade Fire
“Wither”                                                                        Son Lux
“Everything in Its Right Place”                                     Radiohead
“Time is Nothing”                                                         Resident Hero
“40″                                                                               U2

All of which makes me laugh, and take my increasingly obvious mortality a bit less seriously.  It is truly a cliche to talk about how the young yearn for birthdays, and the older among us are less impressed.  While this is undoubtedly the case, what is even more interesting to me is the way in which this shift takes place:  it’s not as though a balance tips one year and a person suddenly begins backpedalling away from their grave.  No, the shift happens slowly, giving you several years to think about all the years you’ve amassed, instead of being only cognizant of the decreasing number of years ahead.

Or maybe that’s exactly the balance we ought to seek:  a simultaneous consideration of what we’ve done, even as we think about what we’d yet like to accomplish, all the while making peace with the grave that awaits us all.  And maybe it’s because my life is in a happier place than it’s been for a few years, but this is where I’m at as I turn 40:  grateful for (most of) what’s gone before, and hopeful about what’s yet ahead.  Which is no small thing to be thankful for. 

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6 Responses to “Over the Hill”

  1. s_gamma says:

    Happy 40 Mike! (tomorrow) I love Robert Plant! and Zeppelin! I used to have LZ posters in my bedroom in high school.

    Anyway, I hope you have a good birthday & that it is a good decade. I have to say 40 was a little hard for me, I had a mini mid life crisis in a way. But I don't think that will happen for you, you still have little ones & all.
    Mine were all in high school & it was a bit of a dreary time for awhile, but it passed. Now I'll have to see what 50 does for me. I've got a couple or three years left.

    Think young!

    Suzy

  2. I hear a lot of talk about age and getting older. It usually seems silly and vain to me until I go through it myself and realize that I'm as silly as the next guy. I'm still working on it, but having a faithful perspective sure helps take the edge off for me. Peace brother, and happy B-day.

  3. I hear a lot of talk about age and getting older. It usually seems silly and vain to me until I go through it myself and realize that I'm as silly as the next guy. I'm still working on it, but having a faithful perspective sure helps take the edge off for me. Peace brother, and happy B-day.

  4. Moff says:

    Fabulous post, fabulous playlist, and those pictures of Robert Plant make my gut twist. Way to make your point in images, Stav. Beautiful.

  5. Matty G says:

    Michael -

    Do you remember your Jimmy Hendrix days? Practicing your yo-yo and listening to Hendrix – it's my MOST vivid memory of you.

    - matt given

  6. Matty G says:

    Michael –

    Wait, that was my second most vivid memory of you. The first, was you drinking beers in the shower. No wait, that was me. Let's skip the second and go straight to the third most vivid memory of you; when you yelled at Cliff Williams to thaw out his brain. Classic.

    - Matt

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