There are two sure signs that you are getting old.
1. When all your friends are married
2. When all your friends are dead.
Midlife is that point in between the two, when some of your friends are dead and others are getting divorced. This is the point where many delusions are lost but even worse are the number of equally bad delusions that take up residence. Delusions like:
A) With the right diet I’ll live forever.
B) I’m just as strong and nimble as I used to be
C) I can still party like its 1999.
D) I’m washed up and over the hill and there is nothing I can do to be better.
It is the combination of the factors listed above that causes some men to buy new sports cars, get a toupee, dye their hair and start hitting on women half their age. But is it really necessary? Can we not avoid becoming creepy old farts? Is what the western world calls a mid-life crisis, unavoidable?
Image courtesy of Yooperann
Can we commit to a life of continuous improvement? Can we not be happy with who we are throughout our lives?
Whenever the yearning for things that are past becomes too strong for me to bear by myself I look to the sages to help me accept my future as an older man but also to improve the life I have today. If you are approaching midlife, read the following by Tecumseh and see if it does not have the same effect on you.
Attitude toward Death
Live your life that the fear of death
can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views
and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life,
beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long
and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day
when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting
or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die, be not like those
whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray
for a little more time to live their lives over again
in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.