Ego absolvo nobis

Posted by rebecca.mcswain on January 14, 2019 at 1:35 PM

Gobsmacked in November 2016, I fell silent.  Well, not silent exactly.  Spoke a lot (often in a shout), over the next 2 years, to the TV and Yahoo News, and around my head the air turned blue. 

Do young people (i.e. those under 50 years old) know what "the air turned blue" means?  I know what it means but I don't know where it came from, the saying, and apparently neither does anyone else.  See https:/ for some ideas. Language changes and that process is no more stoppable than the progression of aging - delaying tactics, yes, but in the long run, well, you know... 

It's not just language, though.  The whole damn culture changes.  For the last 15 years or so, I'm finding myself more and more isolated on a cultural island, and the sea is rising.  Don't know who the celebrities are in the magazines in waiting rooms.  I could wait forever (and sometimes do), studying their faces and their stories - the new projects, the weight gain, weight loss, divorces, pregnancies, vile secrets - and be none the wiser.  The vast majority of celebries I know are over 50, or maybe over 60.  Or dead.  They sneak off and die on me, like Tab Hunter last year.  That's not right.   And recently I met a young woman who did not know who Bob Dylan is.  OMG. (Does anyone use that abbreviation anymore?)

On the other hand, at my 50th college reunion this past fall I definitively noticed that I'm no longer nostalgic.  I wonder if this is a common phenomenon among people lucky enough to survive, marbles intact, past the biblical 3-score and 10 (Psalm 90, verse 10)?  I remain fond of my past, vaguely - that was nice, wasn't it? - but who cares?  It just doesn't matter any more.  In terms of things I need to atone for, I've either done it or the moment has passed.  In terms of pleasures, yeah, sure, glad I did that, but they're not things that I'm going to be doing again and even if I did, the pleasure would be entirely different if not nonexistent.  (I can go sit beside the Seine in Paris and it's swell to do that, if it's not snowing or too hot, and if the chair is comfortable, but the delight of doing it for the first time has happened and will not come again.)   My old college classmates are a current joy, their value, so to speak, based upon whom I see before my eyes today, their intelligence, their accomplishments, their craziness, their stories, their empathy, their talents - nostalgia has nothing to do with it.  As for all the stupid crap we've all done, forget about it.  I forgive everyone and also myself, and that's the end of that. 

Meanwhile, as a friend so succinctly puts it, we're Not Done Yet. 

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