An interesting short piece along the well-trod genre of "I'm old and here's some wisdom": https://www.glamour.com/story/how-to-be ... ith-viorst
? But, actually, I thought this was pretty good:
When I was younger, I spent too much time obsessing over what would make me feel better or how I imagined a certain set of circumstances would magically transform my life and career. But I learned, though it took me a while, to look around and pay attention to what—if I’d let it—could make my life feel better right here and right now. My book Nearing Ninety opens with a wonderful quote from philosopher George Santayana, whose proposition all of us should heed: “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” I believe he’s telling us that instead of wistfully looking back at what we once had, or anxiously imagining what might come, we ought to be seeking what satisfactions, what pleasures, what meaning, the season we’re in has to offer us.
It's trite and it's cliche, but, man, is it true. There is no constant but change. We change; our circumstances and surroundings change. What we want (or think we want) now and for the future is not some static thing, so we shouldn't cling to it as if it were.
To that end, I say this is my current season: I am a full-time worker and father who immensely enjoys his daily run. I do love the spring and summer and early fall, for the feel of the outdoors on my skin and for the way the blue of the sky and the green of the leaves assault my eyes and penetrate to my very soul. I love bathing in the forest and leaving the pollution of civilization behind, more metaphorically than literally, but that too. As the sights and sounds and smells of humanity are left behind, I love the feeling of pushing my body past the point of comfort, so that my focus sharpens to the movements of my body past tree after tree after tree. It is much easier to feel connected to myself when I can think of no thing other than putting my foot there, to the side of that rock and then there, over that branch and then there, avoiding the dead thing.
I have also found a way to carve out some good times in the late fall, winter and early spring (basically, skiing). Such cold times are not my favorite, but I am able to squeeze some satisfaction, pleasure and meaning from them. Like running, snowboarding and skiing become about the body's movement, about gliding down a mountain by simply shifting weight from side to side or front to back. Sharing this with my kids - the one thing I share with my kids that my wife does not, provides a sense of continuity that mere genetics does not. Having them adopt a thing that I love as a thing that they love is much more intimate than simply sharing DNA.
I've also been getting back into woodworking and biking, my sometime (sorta) passions. Biking is very similar to running and skiing in obvious ways, but woodworking is surprisingly similar to them as well, although the connection is more subtle. The commonality is the focus that these activities bring. It is very easy to get lost in the activity and to forget that anything else in the world exists. Like skiing or snowboarding, woodworking joins focus and skill to produce something beautiful. In skiing, the beauty is in the flow of the body, in the gliding down a mountainside. In woodworking, the beauty is in transforming raw materials into something beautiful and useful, in a manner similar to how it has been done for thousands of years, albeit with much more powerful and efficient tools.
The satisfaction, too, of all these activities is similar. Finishing a long run, a long day of skiing, a long day of woodworking leaves a feeling like...life was lived. There's just no other way to describe it. Like for those few minutes or hours, the very purpose of life was accomplished without a single wasted minute - or if you prefer Thoreau, that for a few brief moments, I am able to suck out all the marrow of life. I don't know whether such a state is sustainable for longer than a few brief moments - the body needs rest, the mind needs diversion and rest, etc., but these are things that THIS season of my life has to offer me. I have hated prior seasons, looking hungrily to the past or to the future for better times. But if I fixate on now, I see that nothing else need change. 'Twas simply the gaze that was wrong.