Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

“We Grow Too Soon Old…”

Originally posted on October 18, 2012

So begins an old German proverb; and finishes with: “… and too late, smart!” It’s okay, though. I’m discovering in the elder years that much can happen: First, we grow smarter, but discover waves and mountains that we yet don’t know—and some of these are things that (a) no human knows yet—and there’s two categories here; what we know we don’t know—which is a list of wonders, mysteries, etc.; and what we don’t know what we don’t know, which is a million times greater; maybe even a billion million. (b) This category is known by a few but not by most. This too is mixed category.
   – There are tons of things being discovered or proven or clarified by experts in a thousand fields, and of these, there is a spectrum of relevance and another somewhat overlapping spectrum of  complexity. Some things are highly complex and I cannot understand them, or understand partly and with difficulty. Some things are simple but irrelevant to my interests. Some things may seem irrelevant, but in months or years from now, I will discover that some of these ideas or discoveries are indeed relevant to my interests.
  – There is stuff known by a fair number of people and not yet by me: Most of that I don’t care about, but some things would be fun and interesting to learn! There’s really learning how to do well; and learning how to do medium; and just getting a crack at the feeling of doing it; and similarly, there’s learning about it well or slightly.
  – There’s a lot of stuff that lots of people know to be true and I disagree with them! That’s a funny category: I don’t think this stuff is true at all, or it’s laced with misleading implications.
  – There is some stuff that I enjoy even though it’s more mythic or poetic, including some religious ideas that are sweet, even if I don’t buy the package of the dogma.

Mixed in with what (little) I know, there are interests—and again the funny paradox: I have very wide interests, but then again, there are many times that amount of things that I’m not at all interested in, though I know that many people are interested in them and not that interested in the things I find interesting. Funny world! And even these wide interests are narrowing as I get older. “The days dwindle down to a precious few, September, November…” is the verse from a popular song by Kurt Weill in 1938. And though it’s romantic and speaks indeed to my love with my darling wife, it also speaks to the sense of growing priorities.

(I hesitate to say, “urgency,” because this is no time to get greedy-graspy about life. I’ll die when my body and the angels decide and it’s none of my business. I need to practice a bit of Buddhism about this.)

But I do feel empowered to prioritize, and I am happy to say that even if I narrow my interests and desires to do or achieve this and that to a far smaller number, there are still a good many of those ambitions and interests and enjoyments!

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