Several things have been going on in my life of late. I don't want to give them too much personal weight or make it appear that I am complaining in a selfish way about them, as I'm not really the one going through them directly. But I did want to make note of these things via this blog as a means of recording my feelings about them whilst still fresh.
Of late, the following things are happening, strangely to the female compatriot of a good friend, and direct female friend. Both are fighting cancer. I suppose it is a right of passage to adulthood or middle-age-hood, and I really shouldn't be too discombobulated about them, and frankly, I'm not. But they are a source of concern. Whereas one of them assured of recovery, the other is not. As for my health issues, I broke my foot approximately seven weeks ago, and it still bothers me even though I'm fully capable of walking on it and putting weight down on it. The psychological effect on me, however, was not what I thought it would be.
It is a strange feeling for me, particularly since I always thought of myself as an indestructible force of nature, to actually confront the fact that a.) I'm getting older, and b.) my body isn't recovering in the same way that it always has. I'm still feeling pretty well; I still have pretty good zip in my legs, but not what it used to me. Now it registers, that line from a Rush song "Dreamline": We're only immortal, but for a limited time. In a sense, it is true. The feeling of immortality, either consciously or unconsciously brandished, ebbs away. It might be several decades before I "shuffle off this mortal coil", as Shakespeare's Hamlet put it, but I no longer feel the need to test the limits of it all. Through my young adulthood, I have jumped out of airplanes, hand-glided over a rain forest in Brazil, rode several cables throughout the rain forests of Costa Rica, not to mention getting lured into one of the most dangerous areas of the Rio De Janeiro favela by an attractive female (came out unscathed, but with quite a story), found myself in Manhattan after-hours clubs at four or five in the morning with some of the more decadent denizens of Gotham, coached a hockey team in a predominantly black urban neighborhood for five years (without incident, for the most part), as well as a few other things that will go without mention that were considerably dangerous. Perhaps what Hemingway postulated was true: a man is never more alive than when he skirts the edges of death. I would say that was somewhat true for me, though it never really felt "death-defying" when I was doing it. But I don't feel the need to do these things further. Again, a nod towards mortality...or perhaps, I value my life now more than I have in the past.
The last few years I've delved into the philosophies of the Stoics: Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus in particular...both Romans: one an emperor, the other a freed slave. Their writings are dedicated to mitigating, through some intellectual conclusion or another, the physical and mental pains that we as humans will, with all certainty, endure. Per Epictetus, "We all must die, but must we die bawling?". Perhaps not; but hopefully not before we've gotten everything we could possibly get out of life before we're asked to leave by the biological gods that put us here.
All these existential thoughts brought on by a broken foot and subsequent curtailed mobility. I hope not to endure any like injury for some time, as being thoughtless, shallow, and devoid of introspection sounds pretty good at about this point. Plato said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". Perhaps true, but Kurt Vonnegut's rejoinder was pretty clever, too: "What if the examined life turns out to be a clunker? Then what?" Clever, clever.
This is all somewhat stream-of-consciousness drivel. Mild apologies to those that have the misfortune of reading this doggerel, but I needed to say it. May I post no existential crap for some time, even if another extremity is damaged.