Fame is a vapour, popularity an accident and riches take wings. The only certainty is ageing. Getting older is like being fined for something you didn’t mean to do. Since I am on the wrong side of twenty-five. All right, thirty-five. I find myself in a curious situation. With one or two exceptions, I am not, it seems capable of friendships with people of my age. They are secure and boredom flourishes when you feel safe. It is a symptom of security. When they invite you for supper they show off relentlessly. “He buys all my clothes for me. Do you like this ring? He chose the diamond. Had it reset. He won’t let me cook. He does it all.” You are forced to take a tour of the house, each room accompanied by a before and after explanation. “THAT over THERE was a tiny little window and then we decided to OPEN IT ALL UP…” etc etc . You sit on the patio with self-pity rising inside you like a pair of wings. You have no-one in your life who buys you clothes or cooks for you.
I have yet to find an American chum who can be counted on for a jorl. (And yes, I do request acknowledgement for the fact that I coined the phrase jorl. (*Not to be confused with jawl which rhymes with brawl.) They are not up for midnight jaunts to the local pub for ‘one and done’ after a shift because they are watching re-runs of EastEnders. They don’t drink because they are diabetic and in any case the sulfites in wine gives them a headache. They have one small sherry before supper. They don’t eat giant slices of pizza because it gives them acid reflux (whatever that is) and too much salt causes oedema. Being with people of my age depresses me. People of my age are knitting bootees for their umpteenth grandchild. They are always going in for colonoscopies. They refuse to come with me to see Pink Floyd. (“Are you nuts? The traffic will be impossible!”) The only thing they exert is caution.
My co-workers, on the other hand, are more fun. They live life at a helter-skelter pace, go kayaking in the moonlight, drive to New York or Atlantic City on a whim – even if it’s raining shuttlecocks. One pretty boy insists that when he is a famous model, he will buy me a baby blue Rolls-Royce. Or is it a Bentley? Optimism such as this is marvellous to be around. As the old German proverb goes “Youth is a period when we believe many things that are not true, in old age we doubt many truths.”
According to the Seven Essene Mirrors of Relationship about which Gregg Braden writes so eloquently, the mystery of the Third Mirror has to do with reflections of loss. “As you journey through the waking dream that is your life, pieces of you may be lost, innocently given away or taken away by those who have power over you. These portions of you are your compromises, exchanged for surviving your experience of life.“
The pattern of losing, giving away or having it taken away is a path I know well.
To the degree that you have experienced losses to survive, there remain emptinesses waiting to be filled. The voids are like empty charges. When you encounter someone with a charge complementing parts of you that have been lost, their charge is a gift from the universe.
My bestie is a kid about a third of my age who succeeded where many others failed. He inspired me to write this little blog. The friend who understands you creates you.
He is a brilliant linguist, recently graduated, and has the kind of poetic soul, limitless curiosity about the world and compassion that men will grow to envy. Despite the fact that we have never met – he is almost in constant motion – now in Genève, now in Jerusalem, soon in Spain – but a recent kindness was putting a prayer for me in the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
I have pondered often on our friendship. Perhaps he is the embodiment of the Third Essene mirror. He brings to my life that which I have lost, given away, had taken away from me or forgotten within myself.
Perhaps I find companionship with the young moderns because in the end youth has to do with spirit, not age.
As Henry Miller remarked “Men of seventy and eighty are often more useful than the young. Theirs is the real youth.”