Skip to main content

I turned 60 recently. That's at least a couple of hundred in hippie years, though I don't know if anyone has ever worked out the conversion formula to any degree of precision. I should've asked Ben Masel. He would've known. But I missed my chance.

Every human age (as in individual chronology) has its conundrums and epiphanies I guess. Each year brings with it new challenges and new powers, or loss thereof. We constantly learn new things as we go, we non-conservatives at least. And the experience of getting old seems so different than anyone could have imagined. It's just a strange thing coming to grips with becoming old.  

It's funny how it sneaks up on you.

One thing you come to realize more and more as time goes by is how our experience of time itself is altered by the passage of time, how everything seems to go by so much faster as we age. Another birthday? Already? Relativity and mortality. However long our lives may sometimes seem, they are brief. Generations come and go.

To seize time by its particulars
Making an eternity of a fleeting moment
To cast in amber our existence
So that we might ponder the fine details
At our leisure


At the end of a long life, I have it on good authority, it seems in retrospect little more than a brief moment in the sun. Some people hate that. But this is how it is with we humans. We come in. We go out. The interesting part, AFAIK, is what happens in between...and there's only so much of that.

You've lost a lot of friends by the time you're my age. They just keep dropping off as time goes by. In what seems like no time at all we've lost Exmearden, Ben Masel, Grannydoc, jimreyn and any number of others here in this community. I still miss exme and I miss Ben something awful. I often think about him. What a noble character he was. Here's a Photoshop painting I did of him based on a photo I took in Austin at NN08.


I lost another old friend recently, John Cashin, the well-known civil rights leader from my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama who once ran against George Wallace for the governorship of Alabama and the guy who introduced me to Hunter S. Thompson.  He'll long be remembered for his civil rights work and all-round liberal activism, but what I'll never forget is how much fun he was to be around – at least twice as fun as the law allows. His good nature and bright spirit were radiant. Like Ben, he seemed to have more good will than should be possible in a single human being...more than enough for everyone.

It's hard to see these old guys go, and yet what could be more natural?

Of my many living contemporaries, there are many I admire and revere, all the more so because of the fleeting nature of our lives. I miss them before I have to for I know that some day I will have to miss them...or they me. Ah, but that is the sweet and sour of it all, the yin and the yang, the sublime duality, the paradox that is our universe and our existence.

It's strange how powerfully people can affect you, for better or worse. The effect another has on you can change you, transform you, lift you to a higher level of existence even. A good friend can sometimes do that with a word or a gesture, or just by their presence. And when they go it can tear a hole.

“I hear the voices of friends vanished and gone.”

Springsteen, Streets of Philadelphia

My advice is cherish your friends and loved ones while you've still got 'em. We're all just passing through here folks. We're all just passing through.


Originally posted to One Pissed Off Liberal on Thu May 17, 2012 at 05:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Protest Music and DKOMA.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, jbou, a gilas girl, Direwolf, Renee, Velocity, Ed in Montana, OkieByAccident, Terri, Bill in Portland Maine, scribeboy, Chi, Common Sense Mainer, BOHICA, Radiowalla, Odysseus, melo, samizdat, ogre, copymark, teacherken, roonie, Trendar, glitterscale, Liberal Thinking, mickT, Joan McCarter, Rolfyboy6, TrueBlueMajority, mimi, alicia, DR RD, Shockwave, donna in evanston, SanJoseLady, OLinda, rhubarb, celdd, eeff, moira977, Sandy on Signal, devtob, WI Deadhead, SallyCat, expatjourno, rasbobbo, labradog, TheMomCat, TracieLynn, annrose, nyceve, whenwego, djMikulec, Agathena, themank, cosmic debris, chimpy, JuliaAnn, CanisMaximus, ivote2004, oneworld, splashy, Cedwyn, Alna Dem, revsue, Quege, kharma, psnyder, annan, MrSandman, TexDem, figbash, ranger995, MA Liberal, brainwave, crackpot, Damnit Janet, JimWilson, texasmom, DSC on the Plateau, dwahzon, Steven Payne, rlharry, RebeccaG, wordwraith, riverlover, outragedinSF, exlrrp, zerelda, side pocket, Kitsap River, lurker123, Maggie Pax, Blueiz, Julie Gulden, Skennet Boch, humphrey, maybeeso in michigan, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, jrooth, UncleCharlie, m16eib, revbludge, Lying eyes, Militarytracy, KnotIookin, ccasas, basquebob, KatGirl, ChemBob, juliesie, Kdoug, Brooke In Seattle, Laurence Lewis, FutureNow, GreyHawk, Burned, Kayakbiker, Ice Blue, gerardbellavita, markdd, LucyandByron, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, WisePiper, Blu Gal in DE, Ginny in CO, FindingMyVoice, Pluto, bunsk, hairylarry, bookwoman, Ekaterin, Box of Rain, mightymouse, kathny, begone, berko, Mother Mags, Born in NOLA, Knucklehead, gwilson, Debbie in ME, vigilant meerkat, Clytemnestra, Kimball Cross, tonyahky, kestrel9000, Audri, dougymi, Loonesta, New Rule, Magnifico, sailmaker, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, Blue Wind, DarkestHour, triv33, agnostic, funluvn1, gooderservice, Crashing Vor, real world chick, katrinka, JVolvo, joe shikspack, NearlyNormal, CTLiberal, Zwoof, OMwordTHRUdaFOG, Unitary Moonbat, MBNYC, BlueMississippi, CA Nana, Persiflage, doingbusinessas, zeke7237, Stripe, Cassiodorus, WarrenS, Dreaming of Better Days, zedaker, Mr Horrible, Friend of the court, markthshark, jobird, cpresley, BentLiberal, Thinking Fella, seabos84, pale cold, RWood, bluicebank, dotsright, Cronesense, jessical, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, SpecialKinFlag, Debs2, devis1, Dartagnan, offgrid, EdSF, blue71340, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, la urracca, daveygodigaditch, dclawyer06, bnasley, artisan, jayden, World Patriot, rontripp, jnhobbs, millwood, CT Hank, uciguy30, bewild, cloudbustingkid, on the cusp, TomP, Empower Ink, chicago minx, Mighty Ike, jgilhousen, MKinTN, rogerdaddy, Justus, Roger Fox, JeffW, TX Freethinker, MikePhoenix, scooter in brooklyn, zerone, poligirl, OleHippieChick, Sixty Something, Tchrldy, Fiona West, bythesea, filby, CDH in Brooklyn, lineatus, KJG52, VL Baker, jamess, Therapy, rssrai, hwmnbn, pickandshovel, temptxan, Horsefeathers, petulans, Cobbler, luckylizard, LaEscapee, priceman, Quilldriver, sydneyluv, shortgirl, legendmn, Bule Betawi, ceebee7, lostinamerica, LinSea, BigAlinWashSt, The Dead Man, dharmasyd, Dopeman, Carol in San Antonio, h bridges, shopkeeper, dRefractor, geebeebee, COwoman, sanglug, Denise Oliver Velez, Shelley99, winkk, nancat357, mahakali overdrive, astral66, angel d, citisven, Leftcandid, Larsstephens, Words In Action, Just Bob, confitesprit, rb137, LaughingPlanet, politik, blueyescryinintherain, leftywright, UTvoter, SeattleTammy, Prairie Gal, boriquasi, Proud Mom and Grandma, Polly Syllabic, ATFILLINOIS, Eddie L, gulfgal98, pixxer, Lady Libertine, OnlyWords, Johnny Q, rja, Texnance, Betty Pinson, elengul, ericlewis0, Floande, Actbriniel, verdeo, Colorado is the Shiznit, kerflooey, mama jo, gauchiste, Bob Duck, lady blair, cv lurking gf, freesia, moonbat666, cooper888, FarWestGirl, Hatrax, deeproots, smiley7, mrsgoo, Cinnamon Rollover, floridablue, tardis10, nogo postal, voicemail, enhydra lutris, Calvino Partigiani, chira2, cap76, blue aardvark, SteelerGrrl, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Book of Hearts, zenox, stlsophos, jadt65, vexed weasel, annecros, PrometheusUnbound, drawingporno, Azazello, Only Needs a Beat, jacey, Pixietrixter, anodnhajo, damfino, greenbastard, Siri, wordfiddler, dance you monster, Eric Nelson, S F Hippie, Joieau, 420 forever, Ginger1, congenitalefty, Lorinda Pike, This old man, Mike RinRI, peachcreek, reginahny, BusyinCA, ricklewsive, notdarkyet, Margd, wxorknot, Denver11, Diane Gee, Glen The Plumber, Spirit of Life, dotdash2u, wasatch, mumtaznepal, Melanie in IA, maf1029, Robynhood too, Hammerhand, Foothills of Oblivion, SwedishJewfish, onceasgt, SanFernandoValleyMom, dear occupant, broths, goodpractice, weck, helpImdrowning, bob152, thanatokephaloides

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site