The driveway is littered with pollen from the recent rains. The rains pushed the pollen from the trees, but they didn’t take the time to kindly remove it from the driveway and the car. This is the extent of my middle-aged, suburban problems. Everything else is what you might expect. An oversized mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, raising a child, etc. The dog is growing old and will soon be hard to manage, but that’s to be expected as well. With all of this time on my hands until Monday, you’d think that I could come up with something brilliant to write.
It might be nice to find myself waking up inside of a dream or inside the hypnogogic state, and trying to figure out if there is a greater reality of Mind beyond this one. It seems more productive most days to have a conversation with someone else about consciousness, though. When you start to really interact with someone while asking questions about what constitutes our consciousness, you begin to feel like you could just float away outside of yourself into some higher dimension.
The need to no precisely what will happen when I die is only a marginal nag that comes up now and then. For the most part, I don’t care. I try to keep my bases covered by asking for forgiveness of my sins, but also try to practice mindfulness so that I’m not reincarnated into an inferior plane of being. I also make sure that everyone knows I wish to be donated to science so that if that’s all there is to me, then science can gain some profit by studying my corpse instead of letting it rot in the ground. I have no problem with joining the other bodies in a traveling bodies exhibit to showcase one of the systems of the body and educate young med students.
It’s far more interesting to try to pay attention to what is happening with my consciousness in the here and now. How does my awareness and control of self change as I drop into sleep? How much of my reality apprehended by my senses is trustworthy and absolute? Can I develop a more acute sense of hearing if I just practice listening more closely to the sounds around me? What will happen to my mind and sexuality as I age? As I push more and more closely into being a Senior Citizen, will I suddenly wake up one morning and start finding old ladies to be quite attractive? For the most part, my biochemistry seems to prefer women who are about my age, but if I wasn’t married and had to choose between someone 15 years younger vs. 15 years older, I am certain my biochemistry would favor the younger person, though my head and soul would favor the older one.
But, if all things considered, if I could ideally pick what happens with my sexuality, I would be happy having it all turned off after about the age of 60–if my wife goes before me, I would rather read books and meditate than chase women my age, like my dad has done.
For me, this business of aging is mostly a process of curiosity. It is weird no longer dyeing my hair, which I did in my twenties and thirties, and seeing how differently I am treated. For the most part, people treat me with more respect, but that isn’t always the case. I would say I receive a fair amount of inordinate and undeserved judgement as well as respect for appearing to be a much older man with a younger wife and son, even though my wife is only six years younger than me. For whatever it’s worth, from the pictures my wife has taken of me, I have to say that I probably wouldn’t care for me much, either, if I passed myself on the street. I seem to carry about a rather contemptuous, holier-than-thou look upon my face a lot of times, even when I thought at the moment I was merely casually observing something.
You might think that I am obsessed with myself in a narcissistic sort of way, or that I walk around with a mighty inferiority complex, but it’s more a matter of pure curiosity. I am a curiosity to myself. I mean, my outside form and the way that he interfaces with the rest of the world. There is certainly a disconnect between the inner me I know so well and the outer me that often feels like a clumsy turtle lifting up an awkward, heavy shell just to poke his head out and engage with others in a way where he can be understood.
Others are a curiosity as well. I have no doubt that every single human has as many varied thoughts about existence as I do running around in each of their heads. Some are much more articulate than I am about what they are thinking, many others probably think in pictures and sounds and the words they produce in verbal or written form seem crude and unintelligent–but they are actually every bit as full of brain power and curiosity as I am–they just weren’t given the tools and advantages I was to express what’s happening inside of them.
With all of these vast worlds running around, it seems like even the amount of books and online data we’ve collected on being human is but a tiny percentage of what there is to be known and understood.