In Consult with Saul
I’ve been consulting with my Daemon on a regular basis now for many, many years, and I have come to the conclusion that in old age the Daemon speaks louder to me than ever before. I should probably give my Daemon a name. Let’s call him Saul. Why am I increasingly talking to Saul? Because of time, which is not infinite – at least on this plane (or so I think) – but quite the opposite, it is finite. It will most assuredly come to an end at some unknowable point in time.
So the question becomes, how do I want to spend that remaining time? No, how “must” I spend that remaining time?
The Question of Who
And the lurking question that Saul keeps asking me is who do you think you are? That question defines how I will at least attempt to spend my remaining time.
At first glance the question of who you are waves across your thoughts with clear answers, especially since in older adulthood you have pretty much fined tuned your answer very specifically (at least seemingly). I’m a writer, you say. I’m a lawyer, a blue-collar guy, a financial expert, a builder, a father, a husband. (Sorry, for being gender specific - it’s just easier to write this way at the moment.) Ram Dass would call that the suit you wear since birth – in other words, not the real you. I tend to agree with him because the more I talk with Saul, the more he seems to bring that out in me.
The problem or conundrum, if you will, is that I can never seem to answer the who question. Or from another standpoint is it really a problem to not have the precise answer? Is the who question basically a foolish question? If Saul keeps asking me that question, then it must not be a foolish question.
I think if you really pay close attention, we are all many whos. No use pointing to only one or only a few because that basically limits the number of experiences you will experience (insert your own emoticon).
However, I find myself in older adulthood actually limiting the number of experiences I experience. I’m not about to jump on an airplane, take a train, or even walk to another full-fledged experience, like I would, in a heartbeat, in days past. About the only new experience I’m thinking about taking up is learning about and writing poetry. I’m feeling content just sitting here in my ivory tower, reading, listening and hitting the keys. It’s a very fine existence, and like every existence, it has its up and its downs.
But there is always a challenge lurking in the hallway. Without that things would be pretty mundane. Others would prefer to avoid any challenges, especially since in older adulthood you may feel that you’ve had enough challenging mountains you’ve climbed and now you’d prefer to just rest. But if you rest too long, a stagnation will sit in – and if you listen intently, your Saul will be screaming at you – but, of course, you don’t have to listen to Saul – and many don’t.
I frequently feel that I don’t listen to Saul as much as I should, especially when he tells me to take on new experiences. “I’m tired,” I tell him. I just want to sit comfortably in my lounge chair, take naps in between reading, write a little bit, watch some TV, listen to some music, avoid socializing. After all, it’s getting pretty crazy out there these days – all the lies and misinformation people are believing in – all the insulting and malevolence and intolerance.
Saul tells me, however, how that is not anything new – all that evil and stupidity has been around since the beginning of time. Pay attention to it for protection, speak against it if you feel you must, but don’t let it overtake you. Find, or build, a tribe where you can feel free to speak your mind without being judged or bullied or attacked. Screw all those fools – sorry, but I have to be honest – that is exactly how I feel. I’m not about to interact with them. It’s a waste of time and energy that in older age become your most prized assets. I’m not one to stay friendly when I know you have a penchant to believe in lies, when you have decided to be willfully blind. I’ll try to find a gray, neutral area; I’ll try to find some tolerant mechanism; but if it comes to a dead end where turning around is the only option, if Saul doesn’t point to a possible turn that was previously invisible, then asta la vista.