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August 21, 2016


The 21st century has turned out to be time of great certainties. It’s just those extreme certainties are in raging violence against each other. The are few doubts about Right and Wrong – I am RIGHT and You are WRONG.

We are either GREAT or OUTRAGED on the InterWebNets where our minds and hearts have shrunk and distilled to Emotocon proportions. States of being like “ennui”, “confusion” or simply feeling “awkward” are largely left in the screaming wake of bellicose expression.

Into the InterWebNets a little reality must fall. There are times when things are neither PERFECT or TRAGIC. In fact it’s most of the time.

But there are times when unresolved futures – times that are not so much threatening or joyful as unsure and undefined. The Awkward Age is typically defined as those pre/early teens where humans are children with hormones. Where growing has not stopped but emotions are both random and unprecedented, and roles are not there to live to: Not Adult, Not Child, Not ready for sex, but thinking about it constantly, becoming smart in a sea of ignorance within a young brain, the Awkard Age is simply the breaking voice and new pubic hair invading our hearts and minds – everyone had that time in their life.

But there are other Awkward Ages: that time just out of college, first job: college spousal equivalents vaporized by, what? – but gone. I met my my wife when we we both there and now our children are experiencing  that odd period of suspension – when the dozen-plus years of school have ended and life has tilted to a threshold, not not yet become a life.

Neither fish nor fowl, feeling uncertain in an age of Extreme Definition Screamed Loud is even more awkward than it was in a quieter time. But Awkward does not end at finding the career, life partner, creating kids or “making a difference”: some awkwardnesses are just biology, like a 12 year old’s pubic hair.

I turn 61 today. What is that?

Old? Young? Wise? Lame?

Its Awkward.

I find birthdays absurd for the lucky. Survival of disease, Holocaust, or even a bad family is nicely celebrated by the reality of more years achieved. But I have been given most everything: the abilities to bring to bear, healthy children, my own health so good that an ingrown fingernail is a distraction.

If you have much, getting more is awkward – less is worse, and acheving something Great that’s of course better: but “Stay The Course” only worked for W against John Kerry, not against his sad inadequacies.

So whining about awkwardness has no brief: in a world that values certitude over righteousness, being in the crater after Great Events (graduation, turning a round number age, having a child) the odd inadequacy of “maintaining” is now more lame than ever.

The celebration of mere survival – continuity at the hands of unmerited Grace –  is absurd. But Everywhere. For those of us who were not at war, did not have cancer, or have not had to live any numbers of nightmares, a birthday has as much reason for pride and celebration as a sunny day.

I did nothing to survive to be 61. I am not old enough to sense the desperation of death, but I am old enough to feel its presence sooner than I am comfortable with.

Our children are grown and in a berth to sail forth, my marriage is a gift of 36 years, I have literally nothing to be upset about, everything to be grateful for,

but its awkward…





3 Comments leave one →
  1. Allen e Neyman permalink
    August 21, 2016 10:29 am

    Every year you will age into a smaller minority, a smaller minority than last year, until it’s too small to be considered a minority, anything but maybe unique. How awkward that might be.


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