So, i'm thirty-three today. It seems like more of a novelty than anything else, perhaps a little excitement in wondering what people bought for me. It's something i was trained in for many years as a child but ultimately, when i get presents i do enjoy them, but i also feel weird. A freebie. Who gives freebies in a world like this? The paradox affects much of life, and a choice is to be made. I stand on the wall fearing falling to either side, not because the fall might hurt, but of the consequences of not having the other side. Or perhaps, not having enough reason to support one way or the other.
King David said it long ago that man's life is seventy years. Mid-life is considered by many to be thirty-five. What is mid-life? That time of the "mid-life crises". When we are faced with the challenge of our oppsoites and we must accept it or run away. When death becomes a reality or a nightmare. When the life-cycle must be accepted or avoided.
It doesn't happen all at once, The feelings of despair, of missed opportunity, of being gone, of wondering one's accomplishments or the meaning of life, wanting to commit suicide, wanting to live forever. All these thoughts, complete with feelings and emotions takes a few years to develop. At thirty-three i know i've started this dark journey and i don't like it at all. But the nightmare has just begun.
At adolescence one's ego is so strong, that all thoughts are personal. If the feeling or logic expressed in a statement is proven incorrect, the person's ego takes a hit. All teenagers knows they could run the world better than anyone else. All teenagers wonder why noone else has their depth of understanding and feeling. All cringe thinking how everyone else is so self-centered. Why anyone holds on to the knowledge that defines them, if all knowledge should be objective and free. There are no individuals, just him and the world. Thank G-d we have our twenties.
At thirty it happens again. It's not a result of the ego developing one's character. According to Jung (as explained by Jacobi, the meshumedes) it's the ego moving into the third function and facing one's anima (or animus). Being directly opposed to the two functions developed thus far, they are tread carefully. And the first time someone really uses the third function and it disagrees with the outcome of the second, it's erstwhile authority is challenged, and the person must accept his different parts. Who cares about the changing world around us, when such a terrific battle ensues inside?
Many people, however, do not accept. Like a Nazi without a gun they cower away in fear and run to their masters. They supress their full self and relive adolescence. Life for them is a life of fear, and they must keep running lest they catch up with themselves. Little do they know that it is their very own shadow that attacks them. There is nowhere to run; they cannot lose aggro.
Acceptance is the only way. It's darkness gets us to the door, and when opened we shall be thankful for the room it brings. But before then, acceptance seems to be the wimpy way out. Can people win by putting down their guns? Are the French really onto something?
Acceptance is mostly hard because it defies that which came before. To accept something means one did not accept it until now. And, barring ignorance, it was an action taken before based on a decision. Our decision defines who we are, or at least the paths we take. It's a primal force in defining our uniqueness. To now accept, to say it was incorrect, is to challenge one's very being. To start each day as a new person.
Plenty of people will say this is being open-minded. While i begin to realize that is what it is, my feeling tells me the open-minded ones take it too far. Perhaps because they have no convictions. Like the difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic. The Agnostic may go either way, depending on the (lack of) evidence presented. Atheists, however, know clearly there is no deity. Perhaps a better term, then, is maturity. Accepting the situation and responding accordingly.
Someone recently challenged me on my convictions. In summary, according to my version of the events, she asked how could i believe in something so ardently, yet keep myself open to alternatives. Was i not fooling myself, or even worse, being a moderate? I responded (and response is important to me, for it makes me put thoughts into words, which may well be the first time the thoughts take true form), that i have to believe. I must try my best and believe in what i find. To believe i do know all, and to be able to respond to any situation. Yet, when shown otherwise, to concede and accept the facts. Even to revel in it. So, it is sort of a contradiction, to go on believe that i am correct, but realizing i just may not be. Where does the line of personality stop? When does objectiveness overrule subjectiveness? Or perhaps, just maybe, they exist simultaneously, with the appropriate one being used for the situation? Hmm.. i think i need some time before something like that comes clear.
Being thirty does have a distinct advantage over being a teenager. The thirty-something has the experience of once being a teenager. So now he takes a more subtle approach, though revisiting the same issues that the world is shallow and wrong, and only i am correct. Only i have depth, only i truly understand.
However, in adolescence the fight is without. It is against the world; I must make them accept me. And maybe this point defines it all. In the thirties, the fight is within; I must make myself accept the world.
Ah, to be forty, to be over the hill. Will it be then that i can finally enjoy life?