…just ended yesterday. I’m entering my 76th.
Here’s what I can report, more or less long-term: compared to the state of my heart, soul, mind, and strength as of, let’s say, ten years ago.
- Time — or rather, the passage of time — really does speed up.
- But nothing really settles down either, or comes to a steady state. I have, if anything, changed more in the past ten years, since 65, than in any previous decade except perhaps my first, from 1940 to 1950.
- I know I’ve changed, because the world looks different from the way it looked to me ten years ago. Call this a shift in perspectives.
- The language of elder generations is very different from the language of their juniors. Though it’s composed of the same words, it does not carry the same meanings. Not even close. Maintaining decent communication with younger generations requires more energy, every year, than the year before.
I have a useless, and not quite honorable, interest in comparing my longevity with that of people I have admired, or emulated, or been in some way close to.
My father died in 1977. He was only 67; I’m eight years older than that.
His father was 92 when he died in 1973. It’ll take me seventeen years to reach that from here.
J.S.Bach only made it to 66. I have 9 years on him.
Socrates was executed at 70.
Ludwig Wittgenstein was 62 at his death in 1951.
The philosopher J.L.Austin was only 48 when he died in 1960.
Olivier Messiaen, the French composer, died in 1992 at the age of 84.
Charles Taylor, the Canadian philosopher, is 83. God bless him.