Friday, November 4, 2011

The tipping point

Today, people in the northern hemisphere find themselves at the midway point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice (you people in the southern hemisphere find yourself somewhere else). With fall half gone and winter not quite here yet, last week’s big snowstorms in the northeastern part of the U.S. notwithstanding, some of us don’t know whether we’re coming or going, weatherwise. We’re between Scylla and Charybdis, between the devil and the deep blue sea, between a rock and a hard place, climatalogically speaking.

It’s a delicate balance. One is never sure how to dress, for example. Today's high temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit but tonight’s low is expected to be in the 20s. Our sasanqua camellias and encore azaleas are still blooming their guts out profusely today but they could all be dead by tomorrow.

For that matter, so could we. We could lay our heads on our pillows tonight and just not wake up in the morning.

No one likes to think about death and dying, but it happens to us all. One day you’re here and the next day you’re not, just like the contestants on Project Runway. At some point in every person’s life cycle, there comes a time when it’s all downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on whether you're a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full sort of person. That time, that place from which there is no recovery, is called the tipping point. [Editor’s note. Okay, so maybe it’s not, but work with me, people, I’m trying to sound profound here. --RWP]

I’m sure you younger people don’t waste a minute thinking about your eventual demise and just want to get on with the partying, but for us old codgers the thought of it (our eventual demise, not yours) occupies more and more of our waking hours.

I want to see my grandchildren grow up, get married, and have children of their own. If it were possible, I’d like to see my great-grandchildren grow up, get married, and have children of their own as well. But it’s just not possible, unless the scientists make some really great advances quickly.

I am hoping to be around for the U.S.’s semi-quincentennial celebration in 2026. I’ll be 85 then. By the year of our country’s tercentennial in 2076, though, the likelihood of my being here to help celebrate is slim to none since I would be 135 years old.

Some of you reading this may make it. Take Punk Chopsticks, for example. She’s a 17-year-old girl who once lived in Brooklyn but now lives in Malaysia who reads this blog. In 2076 she’ll be, let’s see, divide by 7, carry the 4, a mere 82 years old.

I’m 70 now and grateful to have lived this long. I hope to be around for quite a few more years. My grandfather lived to be nearly 96 and I want to beat his record.

But I could go to sleep tonight and not wake up tomorrow, and so could you.

I’m not trying to be morbid, just realistic.

Each and every last one of us has a tipping point.

The earth gets to go around its orbit over and over and over. You and I get to go around ours just once.

Make it count.

And Punky, if you’re still here in 2076, raise a glass for me. You’ll recognize my glass. It’ll be the one that’s half-full.

[Editor’s note. Reader Elizabeth S. from England expanded my words “make it count” in her comment and said just what I was trying to convey: “Make it count. Shout it from the rooftops. Live every moment with abundance,never fail to tell people how much you care about them, to appreciate this beautiful, amazing world and the astounding people within it, each with significant, special, individual stories to tell, to build meaningful memories in the hearts of both yourself and those who will be left behind and to celebrate every precious, valuable second as though it was your last. Make it count.” Thank you, Elizabeth. --RWP]

11 comments:

Punk Chopsticks said...

Ahahahaha this is one of the reasons I love Buddhism, you contemplate on death each time you meditate and it helps with a lot of things, like irrational fears. I'll definitely raise a glass to you *sets alarm on my phone clock* if I live that king. Heaven forbid some dumb car or train ruins my plans. Ah well, that's life.

P/s, love this post! It so very well written xD

Mountain Thyme said...

Oddly, I never think of my demise. It will happen when it happens and my life will be over and done. But in the meantime, I will live life full and without regret for anything.

Putz said...

for being a teetotolar, i don't have a tipsy point<><>buddism must be for me<><>multiple lives or deaths, what i would like to be is the incredible shrinking man going downwards or upwards{if i were the incredible expanding man} into the worlds of atoms molecules particlules forever

Putz said...

ing i forgot i said good by world, so goodby world

rhymeswithplague said...

Punk, I think it was John Lennon of the Beatles who said life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Mountain Thyme, obviously you're still young.

Putz, comment #1, a tipping point, not a tipsy point!

Putz, comment #2, I am going to take a wild guess and say your fingers were at the wrong place on the keyboard and you meant to type omg, not ing....

Carolina said...

No tipsy points for me either. That's a lie. Last week we had dinner with friends and he has a cellar full of wonderful wines. He has a little bit less now. That evening I reached my tipsy point.
Still, that isn't what this post is about. I sincerely hope you'll live to be 135. At least and in good health. Last week I read something about a breakthrough in research concerning that topic and it seems that chances are increasing for us all to reach the age of 110, 120, perhaps even 130. So... :-)

Putz said...

omg

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I was feeling quite cheerful before reading this post, now I just want to find a jagged piece of glass for my wrists. I thought the "tipping point" was when your waiter/waitress gives you that dead eye look as you stand up from your table.

Elizabeth said...

I've not abandoned you, Bob. I read this when you first posted, but, as you know, it is all a little too close for comfort for me, at the moment. In actual fact, it has little to do with age - that tipping point can come at any point in anybody's life and YES, YES,YES, I concur wholeheartedly with your statement, 'Make it count'.Shout it from the rooftops. Live every moment with abundance,never fail to tell people how much you care about them, to appreciate this beautiful, amazing world and the astounding people within it,each with significant, special, individual stories to tell, to build meaningful memories in the hearts of both yourself and those who will be left behind and to celebrate every precious, valuable second as though it was your last. Make it count.
My love to you and Ellie. XXX

rhymeswithplague said...

Y. Pudding, that is called the apres-tipping point or the non-tipping point. It follows the tipping point by microseconds.

Elizabeth, I really like your explanation of exactly how to "make it count" -- I may even add it into the main post, giving you credit, of course.

Rosezilla said...

I have been told so many times (by doctors) that I was going to die... but I haven't died yet! My life is in God's Hands and when my work here is done, I'll go home. Doesn't matter, I have eternal life anyway, so once this wonderful journey reaches its destination, I'll be in Heaven seeing Jesus face to face! So it's all good. :)