Today is my 50th Birthday. I now have a half-century of living that brings forth a contemplation of what is this life for.
I am definitely on the other side of living. No longer am I building for a future as that future is now. My wife and I have accomplished the material and parental goals we set out for. Our children have launched themselves into their own lives and I am in the early stages of thinking of retirement from my career of almost 25 years. Yet the future does not look bright and how can it? While it is possible we have many healthy years to live, there is nothing more to attain for even if attained, the Lord of Death will take it.
It is time to think more about what life means in the context of inevitable death. What I am witnessing is the the birth of death.
From the middle of life, only he who is willing to die with life remains living. Since what takes place in the secret hour of life’s midday is the reversal of the parabola, the birth of death … ~Carl Jung; Soul and death, CW 8, §800.
The things I pursue now give me delight but the delight is imbued with an ache. An ache that what I’m witness to isn’t and never can be something to take refuge in. I take delight and slowly become aware I shall leave it. I cannot return because the same stream cannot be crossed again.
This ache is like a tenderness in my chest. That which I love and appreciate will not last. The brain can know this but it is now the heart’s turn to feel this realization. All I can do is give thanks to the Present’s present in the now.
Below is a poem I wrote to commemorate my mid-century. I also wrote a poem Middle of the Muddle when I turned 40 that you’re welcome to read.
By Christopher Billows
Leaving my past life.
I found a beautiful woman.
Who gifted me a base from
where my dreams have flown.
Watching the children evolve.
Maturing and becoming grown.
They leaved to learn that
which could not be shown.
Gains have been earned.
We’ve had comforts and travel.
Yet these pleasures and joy
cannot keep as we unravel.
The heights of titles beckon.
The shine of the corporate way.
To fit in and compromise
was rejected to keep my say.
Renouncing the worldly.
Just enough to avoid strife.
Finding delight in the benign
allowed growth of a secret life.
A secret life is the one for me.
Finding peace in not revealing.
Savoring time left and the
inward joy that gives meaning.