The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 February 2005

On putting away childish things

Francis W. Porretto on why the damn Baby Boomers should grow up already:

The older we get, the more easily we tire, and the less change we can withstand without needing a good long nap. But the Universe is inflexible about its rules, and persists in not caring a whit about any man's preferences. The refreshment of body, mind, and spirit requires effort, and the effort must include a willingness to embrace change, at least in moderate degree.

Not all changes are good ones; nothing is more fatuous than a commitment to generic, unspecified "change." One must be able to tell good changes from bad. But that capacity is seldom lacking in the man who's lived well.

How many of us Baby Boomers have lived well — well enough to know that the things of youth must eventually be surrendered in favor of other pursuits? How many of us have learned that two is not always better than one, and three not always better than two? And how many will embarrass themselves by pretending to be wrinkled teenagers, forever partying down as if their bodies and brains could still take the punishment and reap the full rewards, rather than admit that the time has come to seek a newer world... a world the young man, lacking the perspectives bestowed by time and chance, could never reach?

What popped into my head when I read this was a lyric by Tom T. Hall:

It's faster horses,
Younger women,
Older whiskey,
And more money.

I haven't played the ponies since the 1970s; it only seems as long since I've dabbled in drinking or pursued the fairer sex. And I have come to grips with the fact that The Donald's Visa limit will forever be higher than mine. But I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to complete the transformation from Average Insufferable Dude to Putative Elder Statesman; the latter position implies a level of wisdom I don't think I can legitimately claim to have gotten.

Maybe I need a nap.

Posted at 8:55 AM to Dyssynergy