I suppose I should mark the occasion in some fashion. So I will. About eight minutes ago, I turned sixty-four years old. That doesn’t sound like much, I’ll admit, but it is monumental to me. I’ve reached a point in my life at which I have to admit, “I’m old.” That is odd and ugly. Not that I admit it, but that I feel I must. I know people decades older who are not old. But I am. I don’t know just what it is, but I feel spent. Used up. Finished. This birthday is one I’d just as soon not have. I feel as if it’s the last one I’ll experience. That’s macabre, I know, but it’s just the way I feel. I’m alone on my sixty-fourth birthday. My wife is in the next room, watching television. Yet I’m sitting here alone, watching my computer screen change with every tap of my fingers. And, so what? Nothing. That’s what. Nothing.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to Nothing

  1. Pauline, sometimes I just allow myself to wallow in self-pity; it’s meaningless stuff that feels “good” for the moment. As for purpose, I do have one and I hope I’m fulfilling it. I write to express ideas I think need to reach the eyes of people who think. I write to clear the cobwebs that sometimes blur the clarity I know I need and want and desire. I write to enable anyone who stumbles across what I’ve written to think about things they might not otherwise think. I have a book…a dozen or more books…in me. They constitute, collectively, my purpose. And I’m beginning to realize there’s a community of people who think the way I do (you’re in that community), even here in the heart of red-state Arkansas. Sharing ideas, encouraging expression, those are my purposes. And I get more every day. I truly appreciate your admonitions, Pauline, more than you can know. Thank you for them!

  2. John, you need a purpose. Having a purpose is like the fountain of youth. For years you had a purpose and now you don’t. Time to get one. Maybe it is volunteering somewhere, or maybe it is writing that book that you keep posting thoughts about. Without purpose you feel lie you described here. With purpose, the world is rosier again and you look and feel younger! To my years, you are still a youngster, but then again, you are as old as you feel. Next post from you, I want to hear your new purpose!

  3. It didn’t happen quite that way, Robin, but my mood changed radically and I’m now quite content and smiling at the world. Thank you for the comment; it helped boost my spirits!

  4. robin andrea says:

    I’d like to think after you hit “post” on this post you got up, laughed mightily, ran into the next room and gave your beautiful wife a big happy hug. Then you said, “Let’s eat something really exotically yummy for my birthday, then let’s go for a walk and say hello to strangers, and then, let’s end the day with a smile about everything and nothing at once.” Happy birthday!

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