The Hook Gets Philosophical.

When I was a boy I could never have imagined a time that my existence would be over.

When I was a young man at the height of my perceived invincibility, I was convinced I was going to live forever.

Now I am in the throes of a middle-aged crisis and my mortality is an ever-present issue. From the persistent aching in my knee to the breakdown of my stomach function, it has become inescapably apparent that my existence is indeed finite.

And when my golden years envelop me fully the Reaper will be ever at the corner of my vision, waiting to extend his icy hand forward and accompany me to what lies beyond this veil.

Pretty uplifting post so far, right?

 

Ideally, my golden years would be reminiscent of those rapscallions in the BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine; traversing the English countryside with a spring in my step.

 

Today I met two travelers who have journeyed together for over 58 years. They have been friends, lovers, husband and wife. And now it is clear to them that the journey is nearing its inevitable conclusion.

“She has stomach cancer and I have emphysema. We both know the end isn’t far off,” he said without a hint of bitterness, only acceptance, “and we’re okay with it.”

“We sure are.” she echoed his sentiment. “Even the worst days of our lives were the best because we had each other.” And then she brought to my metaphorical knees.

“I wouldn’t want to be in this life without him. I want us to pop together.”

Her vocabulary was simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious. As is my lot, my time with these lifelong traveling companions was brief but poignant. They came into my life at a time when I am wrestling with my own sense of self and mortality. I’ve been burning through far too much time asking myself why I’ve failed at certain goals, why I have yet to scale specific mountains; I have been demanding answers from the Universe that it is under no obligation to provide.

That needs to stop.

Today.

But let’s face it… it won’t. I’m human (I know, I hate it too) and this means I am riddled with self-doubt, anxiety and millions of other psychological issues. But that’s okay. After all, challenges are the fire in which our mettle is tested and our true selves are forged.

And so I owe my new friends a debt of thanks for providing me with some much-needed perspective. I hope they find the timed closure they so desire.

I hope I can find the balance I have so desperately been missing in my own life. 

I hope Stephen King doesn’t sue me for totally ripping off The Shawshank Redemption.

I hope.

See you in the lobby, kids…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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41 Responses to The Hook Gets Philosophical.

  1. As you get older there are so many unanswered questions…like who will change your poopy diapers.

  2. Allie P. says:

    I hope you can find the balance too. Some days I think if I just inch my foot a little to the left or right the balancing board might not wobble so much, but it always seems to be just slightly off. But I hear that all that effort balancing is good exercise for the core, so perhaps it isn’t so bad.

  3. Allie P. says:

    The couple also sounds adorable.

  4. renxkyoko says:

    My mother doesn’t want to go before my father. ” Who will take care of him ? ” , she asks.

  5. Doug in Oakland says:

    You seem like you’re doing pretty well to me, for whatever that’s worth.

  6. Hook my man. I have lived long enough to learn one thing. Looking forward is much more pleasant than looking back.

  7. I’ve always enjoyed the real in The Hook’s philosophical book. That’s where we all live – up, down, twisted this way and that. Anyone who pretends different are the ones losing out. We’ll find our way along the next steps. We always have…

  8. davidprosser says:

    I’m nearer seventy than sixty Robert and still with all the plagues upon my house I still haven;t accepted my mortality. Somehow I think at the last minute I’ll wriggle out of it an carry on. Maybe in a few more years…………
    Hugs

  9. oceanswater says:

    Also, Hook, tomorrow is promised to no one! I believe in living life. Doing whatever I can to assist others, traveling, spending my children’s inheritance… 🙂

  10. I hear you, Hookey. Getting older sucks, and I’ve just lived through a year of cancer (my lady, not me) and the untimely death of a good friend – not to mention my childhood heroes dying off, some way too soon.

    I think I get wiser as I get older, though. When I’m dead I’m gonna be real smart. (let’s hope Francis Ford Coppola forgives me for cribbing a line from Godfather Part Three.)

    Enjoy the changes if you can. Step back and figure out what makes you happiest, and try to do more of that thing. Avoid the things that just frustrate you and make you miserable if at all possible. Laugh. Cry.
    Like I said – I’m a regular fucking Buddha these days. This past year didn’t break me. I think I may be unbreakable. I’ve just had to let go of so much shit that wasn’t healthy.

    Dunno if this helps. But I hope so.

  11. umashankar says:

    Balance, sir? I believe there is no better balance than middlescence! It is a period when you can look forward as well as backward, when you still hope you can make it to whatever it is you have been dying for, before you pop, now that it is a certainty. The lives of the fading couple contain a lesson on the meaning of existence. Do keep shifting to the philosophical gear oftener. Nice to have touched the other side of the hook.

    • The Hook says:

      I don’t show this side often, but I’ve been in such a strange place lately that I literally didn’t know what else to do.
      Thank you for dropping by and elevating my cyber-haven once more.

  12. jlheuer says:

    My husband turned 70 last December and I hit 68 this month. Yes, we are more tired than we were 20 years ago and the yard work and gardens and stuff like that just don’t get done as fast as they used to. But we travel, and we cook and entertain, and read, and create art , and fight for causes and probably will continue doing all those things until they carry us out. Why? Because it just seems a big waste not to. We do look at each other on occasion and say, “How did we get old?’ And then we acknowledge that it doesn’t matter how, we are here so make the best of it. Btw, nice to hear that you have nice customers in between all of the crazies. Bye. I have mulch to spread and Curt is whipping up a marinade for the ribs he is grilling tonight.

  13. Absolutely beautiful post, Hook. Folks like your visitors come into our lives for a reason. Thank you for sharing the moment with us – I certainly appreciated your perspective. Xo

  14. Yeah, mortality haunts me every day, now I’m over 50. I just wish the weeks wouldn’t go so damn fast!

  15. Austin says:

    You’re turning into a Modern Philosopher. I’m so proud! 🙂

  16. Two out of our three children tell me they will put me in a home, the other one will keep me at home and wipe my butt.

  17. Tara says:

    I rarely pondered my own mortality more than I do today, knowing I have these two children and thinking about how they would get along without me. It’s soul-crushing. My cousin was just diagnosed with NH lymphoma, younger than me and with two children younger than mine. Mortality seems to be a constant conversation. My husband could get along fine without me, but he says he wouldn’t, now that we’ve found each other again. My in-laws have joked that they want to drive out west and find a canyon and do a Thelma and Louise.

  18. curvyroads says:

    The couple sound very lucky, and really at peace with their future.
    I wish you peace too, friend!

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