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SUBMIT

In a mental bomb shelter? Come out and play, said Miller.

Mountain Oceans

Pushing it.
“I have very few friends or acquaintances my own age or near it. Though I am usually ill at ease in the company of elderly people I have the greatest respect and admiration for two very old men who seem to remain eternally young and creative. I mean [the Catalan cellist and conductor] Pablo Casals and Pablo Picasso, both over ninety now. Such youthful nonagenarians put the young to shame.”

Henry Miller said this On Turning Eighty.

Teenagers sailing single-handed around the world or superagers scaling Himalaya’s tallest summits, great climbers and explorers push limits of geography and the human body.

On the question why we do what we do, we should turn the table. Miller does, no mincing words:

“Those who are truly decrepit, living corpses, so to speak, are the middle-aged, middleclass men and women who are stuck in their comfortable grooves and imagine that the status quo will last forever,” he said, “or else are so frightened it won’t that they have retreated into their mental bomb shelters to wait it out.”

But what if you are stuck half-aged in the middle of the road, and don’t like it? Fight it!, said ol’ Henry:

“If you are young in years but already weary in spirit, already on the way to becoming an automaton, it may do you good to say to your boss — under your breath, of course — “Fuck you, Jack! You don’t own me!”

Luck has it you don’t even have to climb Everest. According to Miller, this is how you have it right before the curtain falls:

“If at eighty you’re not a cripple or an invalid, if you have your health, if you still enjoy a good walk, a good meal (with all the trimmings), if you can sleep without first taking a pill, if birds and flowers, mountains and sea still inspire you, you are a most fortunate individual and you should get down on your knees morning and night and thank the good Lord for his savin’ and keepin’ power.”

“… If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive your parents for the crime of bringing you into the world, if you are content to get nowhere, just take each day as it comes, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical, man you’ve got it half licked.”

More Henry Miller (1891–1980) on Brainpickings

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