I turned 49 a couple of weeks ago. On the face of it, this seems ridiculous. At this age, my grandfather was wrapping up his career and preparing to retire nice and early in his mid-fifties. When my father was forty-nine years old, he was just a half-decade away from heading to Hilton Head and concentrating on golf. They were adults, y’know? They knew who they were and where they were going. I didn’t observe any significant change in them after this age. (Not much before, either, to be honest.)
Your humble author, on the other hand, is far from being settled in any sense. I have no idea where I’m going to live in a few years. Don’t know what job I’ll be working, whether I will be richer or poorer. I might save up and buy my destination race car, a Radical SR8 — or I might sell all the race cars and never think about that again. Could build a new house, or I could live in a condo. No matter what happens, I still expect to be: intemperate, easily distracted, riding children’s bicycles, playing great guitars badly, continually and heartlessly tortured by the basest and most juvenile of desires.
Not a grown-up, in other words. And yet I can dimly perceive the edge of a certain… process… going on in my mind. The same way that one’s near-field vision is just great until it isn’t — but you knew it was going bad nevertheless. Something terrible is happening to me. Perhaps it’s accelerated by this oh-so-manufactured crisis all around us, perhaps not. Can’t say. Anyway. What’s going on is this: I’m losing what we will, for lack of a better phrase, call emotional elasticity.