I’m growing older but not up
My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck
Let those winds of time blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m livin’ than live while I’m dead
— Jimmy Buffett, I’m Growing Older But Not Up
Two events happened concurrently over the last few days that rocked the boat for me. Jimmy Buffett passed away, following Gordon Lightfoot, Harry Belafonte and several other performers to Rock & Roll heaven, while signaling once again that the party doesn’t go on indefinitely. And less important to the world at large, a building I once worked at with many motivated change agents was announced to be closing. The subsequent rehashing of memories from people I haven’t seen in years triggered even more nostalgia for me. When things are subtracted from the sum of our lives, we inevitably feel the loss. But those winds of change keep blowing, and we must learn to navigate them as best we can.
Nothing drives change like time. And we have blessedly little control over the sweeping changes it inflicts upon us all. Realizing this is either the moment that panic sets in and we scurry to grab control over things we will never control or the moment we accept the circumstances of being born into this mad situation. Amor fati: love of fate. The universe isn’t ours to control, only our reaction to the forces blowing over us.
The thing we sometimes forget about growing older is how lucky we are for the gift of time. Those extra days offer an accumulation of memories and experiences that make life more complete. Alternatively, we might resist change and hold on for dear life to things that were never meant to be forever things. We ourselves aren’t forever things. Memento mori. So don’t postpone living. We can’t live when we’re dead.