j’avais toute ma force

J’avais tout mon temps
J’avais toute ma force
On ne pouvait pas me bouger
Comme un roc

Johnny Hallyday “Comme un Roc” (Like a Rock)

I ran into a friend I’ve known for 25 years, I haven’t seen or talked with for almost a year I think, not since I quit Buddhism.

She said I looked the best she’d ever seen me.

She said it bluntly, almost a nonsequitor, she meant it.

No faint praise to a 47 year old man.

But I perpetually feel like I just got out of college and am looking at the world wide eyed.  Leaving a religion – and a religious organization – I had devoted 27 years to, has left me feeling I’ve never had an adult life.  In a lot of ways I didn’t – it was all my choice, I know that, but I used that religion as my excuse when I made flaccid decisions, when I turned away from fun and relationships and admitting I was angry those times when I should have been angry.  Or when I turned away from love.  That’s not how that Buddhism addressed life – it is more an “add-on” religion than an “admonition” religion.  But through a convergence of things that’s what I did with it.   Maybe I was expecting the organization, or someone in it, to get real and tell me to get real and look around and relax.  Maybe they did and I just couldn’t hear them.

Of course, not admitting the clinical depression I was silently taught by my parents not to acknowledge wasn’t normal until I finally sought help in my 30s, didn’t help either.

Take all you want
And leave them the rest to die

Ultravox, “Reap the Wild Wind”

So now, when there are guys I went to high school with who spent the past 30 years in marriages and raising children and greeting grandchildren, I’ve jumped off the operating table and I’m toddling into my later years, just starting to grow into them.  Seeing hints of my ribs I haven’t seen since college, learning to trust my body as I swim, accepting a smile at face value.  Maybe I have 5 years, maybe I have 30 – on some days like today getting suspicious about my heart I wonder if I have a weekend.  But as I write this I have a smile on my newly-handsome face.

But I won’t cry for yesterday
There’s an ordinary world
Somehow, I have to find

Duran Duran, “Ordinary World”

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