October 2nd, 2006

cat quilt painting

No more denial

I turned fifty-six on Saturday.

What an odd time to suddenly not mind being the age one is. The first half of my life is in all probability behind me, and there's no avoiding that the dreaded designation "middle age" can't be deflected from a person in his mid fifties. I'm as old as I remember my father being when I thought he was, well, ancient.

I'm as officially grown up as I supoose I'll ever be, and my reverence for the patron saint Peter Pan has not diminished perceptibly. I still have a recording in my head of Mary Martin singing "I'll never grow up." Poor thing, she grew up, grew old and died, but she still lives on in that song in my head.

What I have noticed, however, is that there are very, very few real grown-ups in the world, and almost none of them ever get elected to high office or appointed to run federal departments. Playground games of name-calling and "He started it!" "Did not!" "Did so!" ad nauseum just get played out on bigger, deadlier playgrounds, and "King of the Mountain" is still how the big kids like to spend their recess.

Halfway through or so, I've nevertheless got to say that life has not been half bad for me. I never did care to be King of the Mountain; But so far, I feel like a winner anyway.