I suppose you know that you’re getting too old and that you’ve seen altogether too much when you begin to say things like, “All the world has gone crazy.”
But, in fact, all the world has gone crazy.
— § —
I don’t know where I belong in the culture now. Nowhere, it would seem. I don’t quite know where I will take myself in that sense.
I do know that I’m not satisfied. I’m not satisfied with what I’ve seen, with the options I’ve chosen and had to choose from. I feel as though there must be something better. And I am actively searching for it.
Meanwhile, I would do well to care just a bit less about the world and to realize and to recognize that, in fact, the world will not be redeemed. Or, at the very least, it is not my place to do it and never was. The world is, I increasingly clearly see, a mad place—simply mad, and while I can stand up for what I believe to be right, I should disabuse myself on any expectation that it will “get better” or that I can “make a difference” in the ways that young people tend to prefer to imagine.
I must make my peace with what will be, with the world as it is. That doesn’t mean that I give up, but it does mean that I never postpone another thing or another feeling for “better days to come.”
— § —
One critical set of things that have always been missing from my life and that remain missing from my life—a lack that will have to be remedied—are rites of passage.
I have never had the right rites, the ones that other people have had. The regular high school graduation. The college graduation. The masters graduation. The big wedding. Now, anything resembling a rite of divorce.
Only one major occasion in my memory has ever been marked in any way by ritual or public appearance and presentation—my Ph.D. graduation.
But one event does not a lifetime make. The anticlimax is not a good way to live in meaning. It tends to enable everything to blend together, to lead to a frustrating sameness in all things, a kind of negation of the import of life events.
I don’t know what rite(s) will next be appropriate for me, but I do know that it is time to begin to do them publicly and traditionally, so that I can feel as though I exist and as though my life has mattered to myself and to others.