Half Empty or Half Full
My mother used to tell me when I was a kid (we’re talking somewhere between ages 8 and 10 here) that I shouldn’t read or watch the news so much because it made me worry too much. This is when I watched the 10 o’clock news on KTVU with my grandmother nightly, and read the old Examiner, back when it was the afternoon paper. Because I was a morose worry wart as a kid, I guess that I thought that my personality lended itself to pessimism.
And now today, I joke with friends about contingency plans for the impending apocalypse or about our falling place in the world, and attend talks about social collapse, but I’m now convinced that I am an optimist, of sorts.
This comes down to which camp that I fall into considering my attitude to my current age. I have friends who cringe that the creep of white hair in their manes because it reminds them that they are getting old, and that they will one day die. And while I do fear the slow dehabilitation of old age, death is not something that I fear. I share an affinity with Edward Hoagland’s thoughts in his beautiful essays* about aging in Harper’s. He is now in his 70s, but he admits that he has “few misgivings about getting old,” and “Memories, thank goodness–not omissions–make me wistful, if I am.” The solemn belief that my full life is still in progress provides me with comfort, and with that cliched feeling of, well, hope.
*I have to throw this in, one of my favorite old Hoagland quotes, “Essays, like butterflies, jazz (and God), more irregularly, not linearly.”