While the world seems to be rushing into chaos (these are just a few clues or some evidence for my statement: Coronavirus causing a worldwide pandemic with disastrous economical and social implications; a different pandemic of widespread mistrust in science and experts, giving birth to numerous self-proclaimed holders of the real truth calling for the people to disregard the precautions; migrant crisis in Europe causing long-hoped-to-be-forgotten nationalistic and racist sentiment to rise again (smells like the beginning of the last century not a new millennia), systemic racism giving cause to oppressed peoples in USA to rise up and wreak their own havoc because they are fed up with the promises of a better future; Brexit weakening European Union that has been the source of centennial stability in this historically very unstable region of the world; and there is Trump who, I think, will win the election on November or he will be the first president in the USA that will not recognize the results of the election if he loses), I have found myself on the precipice of a personal milestone, the big and fat(tening) 40.
The world sometimes feels like electrical storms raging across the planet and all you can do is wait for one of those lightnings to strike at you and ruin the peace we have had in this part of the world for a better part of a hundred years (which is a naive statement in itself and not worthy of a 40 year old man who has experienced a war-like state in his own country and has seen firsthand the devastation a war brought in our neighboring countries that were once a part of a federation of states).
While 40 is the new 30 (at least this is what I hear), I admit I feel the 40 year old monkey on my back. I really do feel it. Especially on my back. The persisting pains and aches in my lower back have made a timely appearance with the obvious aim to guarantee a physical reminder of this new step in my life. Well that and the bald spot that is not as much a spot anymore but a continent of nothingness, the wrinkles on my face, the deteriorating eyesight, the sounds my joints make when I try to do karate (yep, I no longer do it, I try to do it), the shortened endurance when it comes to work and other exertions – are all signs that I should be more…more adult-like and basically that it is time I should stop playing computer games. The last will, I am afraid, not happen until they stop releasing awesome games. The former I think happened when we got kids, I just try to trick myself I am still fun and playful.
Even if I try to ignore all of the personal signs of aging effects on my body and the surroundings and just when I feel I am succeeding in this effort, one of my kids will show up, all big and almost adult like, will ask me a really smart question or comment on the silliness of me playing a computer game that involves an apocalyptic world and plasma weapons, and I will again feel very old and very immature at the same time – which could be considered an accomplishment in itself. The kids have started to go to their fifth grade, our daughter-from-other-partents Ruby in Scotland started her secondary school three weeks ago. If this is not enough, then the fact that the kids pick up the mail when they come home from school, alone, should be a clear reminder that it is their time and ours should be coming to a close. And this is how it should be. That is why we should really make an effort to preserve the freedoms, the peace, the quality of life (meaning also the effort to achieve equilibrium with nature and sustainability on the cost of some of our luxurious habits) with the mind on our kids, people that will take care of the world after we are gone. At this point the evidence that I presented in the first paragraph is a clear indicator that when we get older (most politicians have clear signs of this behavior) we get in touch with our mortality and we seem to lose our minds, trying to hoard all the wealth, power and stuff in general that we can while we can, with an excuse that we are doing this for the benefit of our descendants. Myself, I just show signs of a pathological need to play as many computer games as I can, before I kick the bucket. If the nature is no longer able to support us (scratch that – it already no longer can, we are just living on credit now, and that credit will have to be repaid soon by the descendants that we so eagerly use to defend our self-preservational urges) then it will not matter who is the president and who will admit the refugees from war-torn places. We will all be refugees, refugees fleeing from our planet, but there is nowhere to go.
The last reminder of how old I am is our old cat Kara. She has been with my wife and I since before we had kids. The other day I was observing her and all she does lately is sleep with occasional intervals of eating and defecating and “I am annoyed for no apparent reason” meowing. There is no more playing and running around the apartment. At times I can still see a sparkle in her eyes when trying to motivate her for a play-session, but that is only a glimmer, not a full flame of interest, that soon disappears into a look of utter boredom and goalessness.
Here I am trying to tease Kara with my toes, but she is content at watching my futile efforts from her makeshift home and resting while she does it.
Sitting in our cozy apartment with coffee at the side of my computer, my wife reading at the window, kids quietly (reminder: when the kids are too quiet, there is a strong possibility something has gone terribly wrong) playing in their rooms, it is impossible for me to finish on such a negative note. The sun is slowly scaring away the mist above Ljubljana. It is a Sunday, a day for relaxing and being with family. We will have a good day. A day of play and plenty. Not much more we could ask for really. And the world is suddenly much much nicer than the picture above. Let us just leave it at that.