Sunday, April 21, 2013

Feeling the years

It’s been kind of a tough week – I think I’m feeling too close to “older” with the passage of the birthday.

In part, I know it’s malaise from Berlin, from watching a peer turn 60, from contemplating the injustices done by men onto men, generation on generation.

There have been three hours of brainstorming the future with a friend over beers.

Three friends with prostate cancer scares.

Three days since my father re-entered the hospital for an  emergency.

In part, I’m feeling like time is running out on my businesses (and maybe on me), echoes of realists reminding me that if I don’t get going on a startup I won’t be able to, that people won’t give credibility or money to anyone past 60.

It’s been how I find myself dividing the generations into ‘young’ and ‘older’ for the first time. 

It’s partly looking around the trains and busses and finding everyone is younger than I am.

And it’s partly that I am still on a train or bus at all.

I’m becoming cynical about the media

Not just advertisers,

Not just airport security.

Not just rude fellow travelers.

It’s being called technopobic for wanting to have my transactions done in person.

And for finding that MP3 players are disappearing.

It’s the tragedy of the Boston Marathon. bombing.

It’s a bit of reflecting on the speech that Aaron Sorkin wrote for The Newsroom:

We used to be great.  We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest.

"We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, and we acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy.

…but, too, I know it’s only theater.

It’s a bit of helping my daughter move into her new flat, remembering my first after college, not so long ago. 

My son is taking severance from the Air Force, where he’s really succeeded, to return to college,where he didn’t.  But I know he can do it.

So it’s returning home to toss out furniture from the empty nest in Seattle, thing chosen lovingly and with purpose, now outgrown and worn.  And so to the dump with them.

And it’s the mementoes that I find among the emptied drawers.


It’s partly a creaky shoulder and a stiff ankle, tossing out skis that I’ll never use again while friends are still going to Big White,

and a bit of feeling that I’m not as clever as I thought I was.  People get judgmental after 50.

and under 25.

It’s too much winter in Maastricht and Cambridge, now Seattle, then a flash of summer as I head to the plane.  Again.

Of feeling like I have 50-some years behind me, and maybe 20-some ahead.


It’s jet lag, awake in the darkness wondering whether I’ve missed something important during the day, or had a nighttime epiphany that I’ll lose by morning.

It’s having employees.

And knowing that I will drop the hammer on a former business partner in three days.  But won’t tell him that over breakfast tomorrow.

And reading papers, and the paper, and feeling like I may be understanding it all too late.

or too slowly

or maybe not really understanding at all

In part, it’s my  lawyer saying that we really don’t know anything about business, I still think like a scientist,

even though I do.

And how he says that nobody wouldn’t have predicted what I’d be doing today

Living remarkably.

Or over my head, I wonder, finishing the sentence but not asking.

I know it’s all just too late a (cheap) flight, a little complementary wine, and the kid in the row ahead who plugged his laptop into my outlet even thought I asked him not to.

and it shouldn’t matter.

but it might.


Andy Leask said...

Dave, what can I say? You are so clear in your insights and write so well which I'm incredibly envious of. You're not alone in your concerns and regrets about where you are and where you thought you'd be. Time is definitely not on our side but I still look at you and admire all that you have achieved plus all the muck and mire that you are involved in right now. Most people don't ever get to play in the arena that you are involved in. Screw the nay-sayers, they have their own personal demons to battle. It could be that you are caught in a bit of a funk and time will clear the air. I get to live vicariously through your adventures so don't hang it up yet.

Dave Hampton said...

Thanks, Andy - there are some days that things don't come easy. I think that I'm finally getting them hammered into shape; we'll celebrate with something rare and strong when the big bucks arrive.