I’m 56 and I Like It

My life has followed my own unique path that began when I was 19 when I dropped out of college to enlist in the Army, the first step to living “my way” instead of what was expected of my generation. I threw the rulebook out the window and thumbed my nose at convention. Since then I’ve never wavered in my dedication to following my own path and fulfilling my own vision of how life should unfold. At 56 I feel as young as ever and I strive every day, mightily, to keep educated and wise, fit, healthy, and strong. I am not ready to get old.

I’ve neither married nor fathered children and don’t feel my lack of either has affected me negatively. I live well below my means by design, hell, I don’t even own a car and my income can afford me whatever I want should I desire one. But I don’t. I am happy riding my bicycle and walking everywhere. I live downtown in a huge city, with everything I need close to me, so I keep things simple and easy.

As I grow older I feel I’ve lost a great deal of the radical liberal idealism of my younger years, but I’m still a strong advocate of a European-styled social democracy, which, in these strange times in America, seems a distant dream as Middle America becomes more and more radicalized to right-wing, white supremacist madness and ultra-religious intolerance.

I have never believed in god nor do I think the white race holds any great advantage over any other, which probably puts me at odds with a large majority of white people in my country these days. I’ve quite often found far too many people to be irrational and petty—call me an intellectual elitist if that helps—but it certainly doesn’t make me wrong. Those who reject science due to religious or political beliefs that are contrary to scientific fact irritate the fuck out of me. And in the USA, far too many citizens reject science due to their nutty and irrational belief system.

Having said all this, I spend little time worrying about the state of global, national, and local politics or American culture. Nor do I think we live in times that are better or worse than any other era in my lifetime. The good old days were often bad, and the current times are often good but also bad. What I seek is a balance in my personal life but also with the world around me. It’s a difficult process to feel balanced in a world that is in constant turmoil, but at a personal level I can control my own life despite what’s going on around me, which is actually the best I can do. I can control my health and fitness and how I interact with my fellow citizens and the rest of humanity. That’s about it.

Old age brings wisdom but no more certainty than when I was younger. I still have grave doubts about everything around me. I remain skeptical of human intentions and the ambitions of others who wish to tread on my personal space. I remain an eternally optimistic person with a joy for living, my strongest quality and most cherished basis for all else about me. I still read voraciously and have a great curiosity to learn more today than what I knew yesterday. I work hard at keeping healthy and feeling younger than my years, indeed, I am 56 going on much younger.

Life is good.