The Passage

“Man’s youth is a wonderful thing It is full of anguish and magic And he never comes to know it as it is until It has gone from him forever.” – Thomas Wolfe – Of Time and the River

I wonder if we waste our youth, always rushing, always looking forward, failing to just sit for a while and enjoy the moment. Somewhere between childhood and midlife the practicalities of life impose themselves far too often on how we live.

The innocence of childhood is replaced by the arrogance and confidence of young adulthood and then the uncertainty of midlife. Is this something that happens to everyone? I would have to say that most of the people I know who are in that midlife age range have not shown any outward signs of the confusion that seems to characterise this period. So is it actually common but something people are able to keep hidden or is it something that is comparatively rare?

“And in the passage from the cradle to the grave We are born madly dancing. Rushing headlong through the crashing of the days We run on and on without a backward glance” – Dan Fogelberg, In the Passage, 1981

The thing I can’t answer yet is how long the phase lasts, nor do I know what lies at the other end. All I can say is that the only definite is change. And I can only hope that the changes will one day reveal themselves to have been positive. So if the life journey can be the metaphor of a journey down a river, where am I now? I feel that I am out of the rapids, that I have found a quiet backwater where I have the luxury of time to reflect, to sort through the crap and baggage before I have to paddle back out to the mainstream.

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6 Comments

  1. Gypsy said,

    August 24, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    What a lovely analogy. I think I am in a swamp at the moment, amongst the reeds and trying desperately to find my way out…lol.

    I absolutely love your masthead (I think thats what you call it). Beautiful blog.

  2. meleah rebeccah said,

    August 24, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Hmm, now that I am “older” and struggling with some health issues, I was just recently reflecting on the fact that IF I HAD ONLY KNOWN that was going to be the LAST TIME I was ever going to be able to eat such and such, I probably would have ENJOYED it more. Taken the time to SAVOR every flavor.

    I tend to RUSH around all the time, or simply GO THROUGH the motions without really feeling or LIVING IN THE MOMENT.

  3. HollyGL said,

    August 24, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    I think rushing through youth is part and parcel of that stage. At least a good portion of it. I have always been at home with change, less so with consistency of place and purpose. So, for me, midlife has brought with it an urge for permanence. A “change” for me. Sure, I still crave the old ways of variance from “the norm”, but for the most part, I’m searching for a place of groundedness – within and without.

  4. Josie Two Shoes said,

    August 24, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Amen to this, Loz. In our earlier adult lives, we are often so busy making a living that we forget to find time to make a life. Then we comd screetching into middle years and realize we don’t know who we are, or what we are doing here, or why. Finally, I am reaching the place you speak of now – the calmer backwaters where I am, piece by piece, rebuilding a life – one that has meaning and enjoyment. At times it’s a little uncertain and scary, but it’s not a bad place to be at all. In fact I like it – far preferable to the miserable, chaotic years I’ve just come out of. I think I’ll know when it’s time to head back into open waters.

  5. paisley said,

    August 25, 2007 at 2:22 am

    oh loz.. my misspent youth.. i would misspend the rest of my days too,, only to be young again….

    i do believe we fritter it away… but when we are 70 we are going to believe we frittered away our 40-50 too… we are human,, and very basically to me that means never content…..

  6. Loz said,

    August 25, 2007 at 6:09 am

    Gypsy – welcome to another aussie blogger and the trick is to know when to paddle and when to drift.

    Mel – I think that learning to live in the moment is one of the hardest things to do.

    Steph – I think you’re right it is very much a search for home.

    Josie – I think we all have to head back out eventually but hopefully there is a wisdom found that we can take with us.

    Paisley – I have met people who seem content, I’m just not sure whether that is just a facade or whether the shipwreck of midlife has somehow been missed.


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