Yet I make these claims in spite of the world as it is today, which in my view is becoming an unhappier and more hostile place with every passing day. I am pretty sure the only reason I’m happy today is because I have learned to adjust and make the most of changing circumstances. My saving grace is that I am resigned to accepting whatever crap life throws at me, and not protesting and resisting it as I would have in my youth. Now I find sufficient fascination in the creative challenge of turning shit into compost.
It’s something I’ve become good at doing.
Yet when I put up those pictures of Twiggy yesterday, I’ll admit I engaged in a good deal of nostalgic yearning for the old days when the world was a better place for me in so many ways. Those pictures were probably taken in 1966 when Twiggy, the first “supermodel,” was only 17. Next month she will turn 63, and she is physically a much different person now.
We all are very different. The constellations of people of which we are a part are changed, too.
I continue to orbit extinct stars. Holly, who was almost the same age and general appearance as Twiggy, has been dead for almost 20 years. Jacie, my previous girlfriend, has been dead for almost 40 years. Both are frozen in memory as forever young, and I am still in love with them. But I have long since given up hoping for that kind of love to grace my life again. The old ladies who are still alive and single cannot compete with those youthful ghosts. (It’s not fair, I know. But life isn’t fair, and never has been.)
Pursuing younger women is not an option for me, either. Somehow it would smack too much of pedophilia, even if a particular relationship didn’t meet the legal or psychological definitions. There comes a time in life when one’s experiences create too great a gulf between old and young (even middle aged young) for physical intimacy not to involve the exercise of power differentials each way which would likely prove too problematic or even fatal for a relationship to be sustained.
Yet I have lived long enough to have learned that the only thing that makes life worth living is love. Love is, in fact, the only thing that survives when mortal life ceases. So as an old man, it seems that the main devotion in my remaining years of life must be to love—but what kind?
If you have been reading the Diary for any length of time, you have already guessed my answer: Parental Love. Fatherly (or grandfatherly) love provides a perfect model.
The function of parental love is to meet a child’s core need to be valued for who he/she is and to help the child develop a secure foundation of self-worth upon which life can be lived abundantly. The twin pillars of parental love are thus unconditional commitment (“I will always be there for you no matter what”) and absolute acceptance of individuality (“I will always value the person you are and who you become”).
All human beings come into this world with an inborn personality and a craving to be recognized and accepted for who they are. Regardless of age, we all have within us an “inner child” who wants only to be loved. I am old enough that most people I meet seem like kids in comparison to me. Fortunately, I am not a judgmental person and I was raised in a way that rarely interferes in negative ways with how I interact with these “kids.” Plus, I have discovered that we have a virtually unlimited capacity for projecting love onto others, and I have developed techniques for doing this in honest and genuine ways. So as you see, I have a ready tool kit for creating a sense of understanding with younger people and for creating circumstances for mutually satisfying problem-solving.
It seems to me that our whole purpose for being alive on this earth is to figure out how to use the experiences of life to achieve unification with God. Accordingly, I believe our aspiration for each and every day should be to be “God-like” to the greatest extent possible. I do this by mainly focusing my energies on two dimensions: creativity and love. (If I don’t always measure up, at least I do try.)
It’s the time of year when I must constantly remind myself the most important thing about love is not being on the receiving end of it, but on the giving end. Love is first and foremost a creative act, the projection of positive energy onto others with little thought of receiving anything in return.
Yet what I have discovered is that more often than not, love is reflected back onto us. And it always seems like such a miracle that we get back more than we give.
Please know that as I continue publishing my series of “Love Songs” posts through the end of the month, I am sending you positive vibes with deep appreciation for paying attention to me and what I write.
Thank you, with love.
Groove of the Day