© Aron Hsiao / 2006
I had this whole thing typed up on another topic.
Then I got to looking at some photos. And developing some photos. Looking at beautiful images. Making other images into black-and-whites, because they’re meant to be memories, because things are ending.
Deleted the other post. Put on Simple Minds. Sitting here next to a bunch of roses that my daughter picked for me, drinking iced tea instead of whisky, thinking about the past and the present instead of the future.
— § —
And on Thursday I was all hot to write a blog post about beauty. Still am in some ways, but I’m moving on. Painful to do so, but necessary.
Getting older happens. You look in the mirror and you try to rationalize your age. You tell yourself that you still look good. That you’re still interesting. That there’s time to make plans.
But things are different. You can do cost-benefit calculations too well; the element of excitement, of exciting danger, has gone out of risk. Now you just know; now you have judgment. This is good, I suppose. It’s supposed to be, in any case.
Thing is, it’s not as exhilarating. It’s not youth; that’s gone.
You look around and you find so many people to be unattractive. You’re bored with most everyone—and of course everything—you encounter. The things that aren’t boring are now timeless and deep and all of that nonsense. They’re outside of you; they belong to everyone. The narcissism won’t stick. Sometimes you try to revive it, but the narcissism of youth can’t be sustained. You know better.
When you spot beauty, it’s not for you. Rare enough that I find someone to be interesting, but when I do, they’re in my kids’ circles, not mine, or they’re a kid themselves. Rare enough that I find something lovely or desirable in the world, but when I do, it’d look silly on me; it’s something for people twenty years younger than I to plan for, not for folks like me to reach backward to obtain.
Life has passed you by? No. Not really. Life has changed, that’s all. The difference is black and white; the difference is inescapable.
— § —
Endings. People leaving.
Different when it’s your kids’ endings.
You get over all of that in your own life sometime in your late twenties or maybe in your thirties. That unsurvivable bittersweet of the present at its apex, that longing that brings you to the verge of tears but won’t let you cry because it’s not time yet and never will be; that all goes out of your own life. You get used to it. Something—I’ll bother to say meaning—is lost.
© Aron Hsiao / 2017
Now you watch your kids begin to go through it. People come, people matter, people go. Things come, things matter, things go. They now have to learn, not to understand, but to live with it, to embrace it, to paint sepia photos of last moments and haunting memories in their minds and cherish them without dying of need and unalterable, unavoidable gone-ness.
It’s all back. They say that you live your life through your kids once you reach a certain age as a parent.
I can see this happening to me.
The things I can’t feel for myself any longer, I can feel for them, both in the same way I once did and in entirely new ways.
Life hurts. And life is lovely. People hurt. And people are lovely. Things go wrong, but they’re nonetheless still right. You want, and you can’t have; you have and you can’t hold; you hold and you can’t move forward; you move forward and you paint the pictures.
— § —
Black text, white screen.
That’s been most of my life.
Every now and then, I am witness to a miracle; I see a holy image. Time is that I know better and I move on. Keep typing. Time is that today is gone and tomorrow is predictable; only the past is unstable, and more unstable it will become.
Until everything is painted in sepia and shot through with unsurvivable longing for redemption.
— § —
Simple Minds / Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Crowded House / Don’t Dream It’s Over
Duran Duran / Come Undone
Led Zeppelin / Ten Years Gone
Ivy / Edge of the Ocean
Allman Brothers Band / Melissa
Concrete Blonde / Joey