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Wind

File:Max Liebermann - Strand in Nordwijk bei Sturm.jpg

 

A few weeks ago, my mother told me something I found interesting. We were talking about windy weather. Somebody had told me that he did not like wind at all. But I just love it, even when the wind is very strong (and some people are already calling it “storm”). My mother told me that recently, she found that the wind is becoming strenuous to her. “So with growing age”, she said, “you may get a different experience from the same things again”.

There was a time when I was young. I no longer am. It does not make much sense to try to define a moment when you stop being young. These are vague concepts. There is probably a time in the middle as well. Some people used to address me as “young man”, some still do but it starts sounding a bit ironic. I am not yet old, but no longer young. My daughter just finished secondary school, no longer a child. I don’t have grey hair, but that is probably because instead of becomming grey, my hairs are just falling out.

Many of the young people I am observing, e.g. in the tram, seem to live in worlds that have very little resemblance to my own, both that of my past and that of my present. I have always been an outsider, going my own ways, but that feeling of not belonging is getting stronger. Maybe that is what is happening when you grow older: bit by bit the world ceases to be your own. It is somehow gliding out of your hands. But at the same time, you get a kind of a bird’s eye view of it, seeing things you could not see before. So this loosing of grip, or losing of involvement, is not a negative thing although it leads to a feeling of melancholy sometimes. Maybe “loosing grip” is the wrong metaphor. The type of grip changes. It is becoming more abstract. You don’t feel the bumpiness of the road so much again, and that is a gain and a loss at the same time.

Some of you are in my age group, a few are older, many of you are younger than me, and in many cases I simply don’t know; the followers of this blog a a very diverse bunch. Some of you are more than 30 years younger than I am. The subjective and objective “world-lived-in” of many of you probably differs a lot from my own. But it looks like many of you still find some of my thoughts interesting. I am happy if I can contribute a little something some of you have a use for. I don’t know in what directions I am going to develop over the next years, but at this time I like to write and I still love the wind.

(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Max_Liebermann_-_Strand_in_Nordwijk_bei_Sturm.jpg).

9 thoughts on “Wind

  1. This expresses exactly what I have been feeling about life and my place in the world. My recent illness has intensified it and also made me confront the changes from the way I saw things when I was younger. I know I don’t want to go back and I don’t long for the past. I feel a sense of satisfaction in looking back. And I enjoy it (mostly) my new perspective on things. It is true that things change their effect on you as you get older. Somehow I had not expected that. Thanks for this post.

    • This is the kind of experience I had in mind.
      My mother told me about a friend of my grandmother who was living in a house at the north sea coast before the dike. The door of the house was facing west (the predominant direction of the wind in this area) and opening to the outside. When a strong wind was blowing, it required some strenght to open the door. The woman had told my grandmother that she would have to move out one day because she would become unable to open the door on stormy days, and so it happened. Eventually she had to move behind the dike into the village.
      My grandmother herself had such an experience with the wind. When she became old, she was a bit frail. When visiting her brother, she had to cross a big street on a pedestrian bridge. On windy days, she could not cross it, The wind would have thrown her to the ground so she could only visit her brother on calm days.
      She developed some philosophical thoughts about this, see http://asifoscope.org/2012/12/08/old-memories-how-my-grandmother-went-away/.

  2. I love this post, I am at a point where I do not belong in the young world any more and the good thing is I am okay with it. Sometimes I get a pang of…. I wish I could still do the things I did twenty years ago…..it is the children that remind me how quickly the years are passing.

    • It was my daughter’s graduation from secondary school that made me think. It is not that long ago that she entered primary school. She is entering her upper school phase now, another three years and then she might enter university. One phase of life is finishing and something new is starting.
      You can do things now you could not do twenty years ago.

  3. Interesting and enjoyable post. I’m 70 – and have silvery hair – but feel (and maybe act) as if I’m in my mid-40s. After losing my wife, and a major heart attack in the past year, I have come out of these events stronger and more positive than ever and feel as if I am bursting with creative energy – although the physical improvement is being taken more gently as I only have my own two legs… and a fixed-gear bike as wheeled transport!

    An interesting comparison with age, I have found since living in France for more than a decade, is that people in the UK rarely like to tell you their age, and if they do they often deduct a few from the true… but here in France people are proud to tell you their real age, especially women – and their wealth of various experiences are of course all the more interesting.

    • There is a German proverb “Man ist so jung wie man sich fühlt” (you are as young as you feel).
      Maybe you are lucky and have some centenarian’s genes. On a visit in Cameroon end of 2012 I met a woman 115 years old (the mother of the Cameroonian cardinal Tumi). I think she is older than the official oldest woman (from Japan), but I think she does not have a birth certificate, but I think she is actually that old, possibly the oldest human being currently alive. The grip of her hand was still strong and she was vividly telling stories from the 1930s, when she was living in what is now Nigeria. There is a longevity hot spot there in the Bamenda highlands with lots of people reaching an age well beyond 100. (It was quite strange to see my then 15 years old daughter sitting besides a woman who was full 100 years older).
      Maybe you have such genes and will experience what I described here only beyond 100. I am in my 50s and I have not yet reached this point myself.

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