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Zen, age, and welding

Stella,

I’ve been thinking about your worry over aging. First, you are incredibly beautiful. I think, underneath, you know that. You tend to overcompensate–the marathon running, the constant workouts, and the weight lifting. But that’s a neurosis that will lead to heart health and mental well-being. So, you’re dong fine.

Second, anyone who lives past 49 turns 50. Age is inevitable. I mean, you are alive. After waking, really, everything else in gravy.

You ask if I ever think of getting old and what I think about again. Of all the things I don’t like about me (including me), I don’t mind getting old. It’s curious to me. I wonder what’s next, what physical, mental, and soulful complications, loves, impulses, worries, joys, and sadnesses come next. It’s kind of cool, really. I mean, how often do I get to live and experience aging? There may be other lives–afterlife, reincarnation–but this life is the only one that will be just like this. (And, by the way, I’m all right with dying and ceasing. No afterlife. No karma. Nothing.)

Try this book. It may help:

The Art of Zen by Alan Watts

Then, this one:

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki

Killer diller. Regardless of what you think of eastern thought or the weird woo-woo that it’s been stained with, they are good reads, and interesting on top of that. Both books helped put my own trials into perspective.

Now, this sounds crazy to most people, but it makes perfect sense. How long does suffering—in this case, aging—last? Will this suffering ever happen again just like this? If not, can I experience this suffering as a unique occurrence in a life of endless uniqueness and unique occurrences?

It’s all cool, Stella. Well, kinda. I’m not really cool. I’ve never been cool or fit in with cool people.

Talk about aging…I have ironworker school next week. Weld. Weld. Weld. I can’t tell you how quickly an afternoon disappears when I’m welding. Gone. Zip.

Good fun like welding tends to speed aging up since life just flies by.

Patrick

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