Almost Everything is Worth a Thought or Two

You probably do not want to read this post. Whether you read it or not depends on how you feel about the day. And about me. And it depends on your mood. And what matters to you. Whether you read it or not, I wrote it with you in mind. Whoever you are. But, if you read it, I think you know you were on my mind when the topics I’m writing about came tumbling out of my head and through my fingers.


I doubt I am unique in feeling like I continue to unfurl—like a flower or a flag or an idea—as I age.  There was a time—long, long, long ago—when I believed a person who reached adulthood had completed his or her intellectual and emotional development. I saw life as comprising a fairly limited number of stages, each with distinct beginnings and endings. I must have been very young to have believed that. I’ve long since come to the conclusion that my life, and probably the lives of everyone else, is a little like hair or fingernails. We do not reach the ideal maturity and then stop growing. Like hair and nails, we continue to develop every day of our lives. But unlike hair and nails, our evolution is robust and dramatic, leading us through phases that are in some cases so similar to one another that we can barely see the differences. Sometimes, though, we reach a point at which our evolution erupts in change so exceptional that we can barely contain ourselves. And at that point we hardly believe we are the same person we were the day before. Those changes continue all through one’s life, I think. Some are gradual, some are sudden. While there is a thread that weaves through us the entire time, the thread is thin and not always visible.

Today, at age 68, I feel strongly that I will be a very different man when I am 70 and yet another man when I am 73 and so on and so on. Between now and then, whenever “then” is, I will evolve. I will see the world through different eyes that have different experiences. I will think about the world around me in different ways because I have undergone the kinds of transitions that experience always brings. Change is good. It is not always welcome, nor does it always feel safe or comfortable, but it is good. We need to change so we don’t rot, like apples left on the ground long after the harvest is finished.


The “new” house closed yesterday, in spite of promises made but broken by the title company and the developer. We closed on the purchase, opting to accept another promise that promised paperwork would be provided to us today. At least we have copies of emails confirming the paperwork was completed; just not FedExed in time for delivery yesterday.

I have grown increasingly skeptical—maybe “distrustful” is a better description—with age. Commitments seem to be treated with less gravitas than once was the case. But, wait. I wrote less than a month ago that my advancing age has led me in precisely the opposite direction. I wrote these words:

“Though I remain skeptical, curmudgeonly, and more than a little suspicious of the motives of humankind, I find myself mellowing in my old age.”

But, then, in the very next paragraph, I said this:

“The older I get, the more certain I become that many people—maybe most—simply are fundamentally rotten to the core. “

Which is it? Or is it both? My answer is “both.” And that ambivalence is an enormous stressor.  Regardless, the house is ours, subject to our payment of the 30-year mortgage. The next steps include cleaning up the new place, getting some work done on it (e.g., replacing some light fixtures, painting some rooms, and a few other odds and ends), and moving our “stuff.” And, of course, preparing my house for sale and actually selling it.

Stresses associated with major life changes amplify the more mundane tensions of day-to-day living. That matter has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I secretly wonder whether little aches and strains, and more acute pains and such, are my body signaling me to relax—telling me to shed some of the unnecessary worries over which I have no control. Easier said than done.


Last night, we watched Miss Sloane, a political thriller about an extremely powerful lobbyist whose ethical breaches both get her in deep trouble and lead her to exceptional outcomes. One of the major underlying themes of the film relates to her efforts to get major gun control legislation passed. I thought the film was excellent. In reading about it this morning, I learned that it was a box office failure but did receive critical acclaim. It’s worth a watch, in my opinion.

We finished watching Tales of the City, a limited series set mostly in a San Francisco apartment building owned by a grand old dame who is something of a “mother” to all manner of LBGTQ renters. The story is fascinating. I wrote several days ago that I found the overabundance of scenes of gratuitous sex unnecessary; though I still feel that way, I think the series was well-done; though-provoking and engaging.

I have a huge list of both films and series I want to watch. My IC’s reaction to my list has confirmed that I tend, strongly, to favor very dark and sometimes very violent storylines. Most of the shows on my list are hard-hitting dramas that have virtually no humor of any kind woven into the stories. And most are psychological thrillers (some with ample action sequences) that dig into the seedier side of humanity. The heartwarming aspects of Tales of the City were rare exceptions.  I think I need to insist on my IC making some selections and, then, be willing to sit all the way through them without complaint.


My IC and I share musical and many theatrical tastes, but a number of distinct differences are obvious. And we have very different tastes in architecture and decorating. I gravitate toward more modern architecture, with its clean lines and absence of overly-ornate elements. She likes craftsman style houses; I like prairie style and Usonian. I am a fan of muted greys and mid-century-modern style. While my IC likes some similar things, she prefers more ornamentation. She leans toward beige, in place of my greys, but wants a great deal of color in the mix (with respect to décor). I like bright colors, too. But in less volume. I think the new house illustrates, in many ways, our differences. Unlike the current house, the new one does not have a very open floor plan (an environmental sensation I especially like). But I like the place, too; it will just take me some getting used to a somewhat different sense of spatial volume.


Speaking of architecture, I appreciate Frank Lloyd Wright’s rather arrogant assertions about architecture. He dismissed architects who, in his view, did not look far enough into the future. He proclaimed that great architects also are great poets. He advocated for buildings to be “of” a site rather than “on” a site. I like Wright’s linear approach to building design; to me, that approach mimics the layers of sediments left by an environment over time, as if the building was crafted out of the ground by forces of wind and water.

It’s 7:04. I’ve been sitting in front of this monitor for too long. I need to get up, stretch my legs, and explore what the day might have to offer.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Almost Everything is Worth a Thought or Two

  1. Susan Berkley says:

    I love how you are willing to adapt to change. Not many at our age are. You leave the sky views to go in the forest. The tree connect us with the earth. So go frolic my friend, and we will be beside you and IC

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.