Welcome to the Realm of Aging
Are you aging? I am.
I am old enough to remember the Korean War as a current event. I was young and immortal then. Things are changing now.
For various reasons, I no longer do certain things that formerly gave me great satisfaction. But if I no longer do those things, I am no longer the person who did them. If I am no longer that person, who am I? Deep in my core, that question resonates with a sensation I sometimes interpret as sweetness, sometimes as pain. My intention is to explore that sweet pain. If that exploration interests you, follow me. I want to caution you that reading this will not actually prepare you for the experience I am talking about. Your will either recognize it or you will not.
Whatever your gender, orientation, or life-style, I'm suggesting that most of your adult life you’ve been doing things in the external world to create satisfaction for yourself. In the realm of childhood, you had very little power to really create your own satisfaction. As you moved into the realm of adulthood, you began to have some power to achieve satisfaction through external actions. You’ve been turning the crank of that machine ever since. Sometimes this has worked well for you, sometimes it has worked less well. Sometimes the satisfaction has been large, sometimes it has been small; but it has been that same crank that you have turned, on that same machine.
And if you are aging, as I am, you may be noticing that that machine is now starting to wear out, running more slowly, no longer producing whatever satisfaction you may have achieved from it before, whether that satisfaction was small or large. You are leaving the realm of adult power and transitioning into the third realm, the realm of aging. I may as well be blunt right now: The final transition from this aging realm of life is death. And, you don't have to experience depression or anxiety about that.
In the realm of aging you will – if you are wise – learn to turn the crank on a rather different machine. The machine you are going to begin to learn to operate in the realm of aging is the machine of internal – rather than external – satisfaction. You may already know something about this machine, in a peripheral way, but it will now become primary for you, rather than secondary. People who do not learn how to crank this machine end up starving for satisfaction. They don’t age; they just grow old.