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The Paradox of Living Life

By Leslie Ginnes February 19, 2024 Mindset

Landing here with suspicious alacrity, just peruse the landscape; it looks completely different than the tour guide in more youthful times said it would be.

Before Now There Was Then

Life was complicated as a teenager, wasn’t it? With hormones sloshing around while having to cope with DNA-induced existential threats and nurtured mistakes being made at dinner or in the bath, with intent or without.

Early adulthood was extraordinary. Its perfections were experienced alongside what seemed to be one long juggling act. Career finding, building, and solidifying while simultaneously bowing to the child-rearing demands of attention and energy while living on never enough money or time. But those sweet little beings, chubby fingers, chocolate mouths, were reason enough to lean in and continue.

There were complications throughout, clarity of purpose was not always readily available, and times got tough, yet life had such sweetness, a profound pulse, a force calling out, ‘Do! Experience!’ Live Life. Wind and water, salty masks from beach excursions, frozen lips catching snowflakes, being snow angels. The cool bed sheets pleasured the back of knees as eyes closed for sleep.

There was no map to suggest next steps. In or out, and up or down on life’s unstable, rocky, gorgeous, not well-marked path, directing attention towards something holy, ineffable, crystalline, and gleaming, giving the daily bread of purpose.

Now, What Happens?

The winged feet of time deposit the dusty, weary traveler at the door of Age. Already? Only wind-blown hair is a clue. Is it done? Why entertain that thought? With an uncounted number of surprises still ahead, like those that life religiously delivered – small, beautifully wrapped packages holding boxes filled with paradoxes gifting us with humor and perplexity; finished does not need to abide in our vocabulary.

Growing older allows experience to marinate into a form of wisdom or awareness, often wished for in earlier years. Simple things that could not be sorted become obvious. First, put the bag, book, water bottle, and hat onto the passenger seat, then go around and get into the driver’s seat. Less risk of vexing accidents. Less dropping and losing, but also a little less laughing at the minor foibles of silliness that remain.

The offer of a visit, a book to read, and the pressure to try ‘it’ is more easily delayed or dismissed with less questioning. Is it a good decision or a bad one found here? There are the burdens of parts wearing down, looks fading out, love leaving, love dying, losing it all, and only now knowing what was had. If allowed, the abundance still exists; it has been reincarnated into memory.

It Doesn’t Make Sense, But Then, It Doesn’t Have To

Holding the paradox of better comprehension when what is being comprehended by the mind is incomprehensible to the heart. Bearing the truth more efficiently while getting answers is harder. Honestly, is this how business is done, how gratitude is shown? Knowing differently takes work.

Realizing how much was accomplished and how long the list still is, the food yet tasted all the recipes tried. The Winter’s sunrise and sunset, coming closer and closer together. The easy laugh that follows the oft-repeated, ‘the older one gets, the less one knows.’ Yet, discernment and understanding of a matter is now more easily spoken, but only if it can be pulled off the tip of the tongue.

To measure the quality of a day by other people’s metrics is known to be pointless, and yet it is still so tempting. Comparisons serve only to diminish. Look through photos on the page and the memories inside the mind, laugh and thrill and cry and yes, regret, being pleased and positive, angry and sad; a hand holding a full-blown summer rose still with thorns is a beautiful and painful thing. That is the only metric needed.

How can one’s body hold so much?

Taking on a Different Perspective

Happiness as a goal makes ‘no-never-mind’; a bit of peace, feeling contentment, and sensing a fullness in the heart are the rewards for which to aspire. But still, it is sought for; we were taught such.

Racing off here and there is neither practical nor necessary to gain delight; there are naps to had, conversations to seek out, and books to read. Sitting at a table in the wine bar, sipping between laughs, trying to hear through the din of the things left unsaid seems to be a hazard of age.

Old friends weave in and out, so many leaving for brighter shores, a precious few stick around asking questions, involved and aware, willing to take a hand and hold it for mutual comfort. How precious those few are.

Pride in repairing the hinges on the garbage can; when did they become so spendy? The laundry sits for days wet in the machine, only needing to be rewashed. No worries, the lint in the dryer still makes no sense. The list of to-dos need not be checked off so quickly.

AARP is building strength through unified numbers, giving surprisingly helpful information, and making age now in bronze, not ceramic. To love it and hate it makes perfect sense.

Another paradox: Returning a box of bulbs at Target, commenting to the attendant when asked, ‘Nothing is wrong with them, they are perfect, but they just don’t work’ pretty much sums it up. Two great opposing truths can be held at the same time.

However, there is still the paradox of feeling that what had been will never be again; it is a strong force inside as strong as a tornado through the body. A complex, weird, but genuine way of experiencing the thing believed lost to time. Memory is dense with details. There is so much to be brought to the surface. But the experience is delivered albeit differently; it is remembered, and it is reimagined, and it is not lost.

The paradox of becoming invisible to most of the eyes that pass by but being all so much more now than ever before. The words bobbing along inside your mind of the “what and the why” while living in an age where such postures are incrementally fading and being lobbied against; in this, there is a type of grace, our legacy resides, brushing a patina of eloquence over ‘we had the best bands.’ That internal tape that used to play back spits of anger, worries, and less-than-useful comments cracks and frazzles to the ground.

Ultimately, When Finally Settled In

All of this is what the time paradox offers. Every thought, memory, and experience are coins of the realm; each has two sides. Each may be considered as a whole, considered simultaneously, but may only be seen one side at a time. Each side offers a bigger something to behold than just the thing itself.

No longer becoming but, finally, simply being.

It is enough.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Which paradoxes of life have become clearer with age? Is life easier to live now than it was 50 years ago? How have things changed for you in the course of those years? Have you reached the point of simply being?

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This was such a beautifully written article. I find the rules I thought were for living are actually bars to living fully. I’m not talking rules of course.
Thanks. You’ve really got me thinking.

Leslie Ginnes

Thank you, Janice. I am glad you found this piece stimulating and enjoyable. In the writing, I found that just like the life we lead, the rules get tossed about and thrown out upon occasion, this different writing style evolved in much the same. Damn the pronouns. I think, too I wrote it as much as an observation as a reminder. Keep well.

Leslie Ginnes

Hi, Janice. I forgot to request permission from you to use your very kind reaction to this piece. I am taking my writing skills and now offering them as a service to those who need content. Would you mind my using your reply on my yet-to-be-launched website? l hope you have a lovely day.

Brenda Hillhouse

Simply excellent! Thank you!

Leslie Ginnes

I am happy, very happy that this piece rendered your kind opinion. It is certainly a great way to start my day! May I have permission from you to use your very kind reaction to this piece on my yet-to-be-launcehd? I am taking my writing skills and now offering them as a service to those who need content. W


so many poignant, spot-on turns of phrases here!

i’m going to share this for the poetry alone!

and i am saving it to re-read myself

thank you for the validation, the smiles, and -oh,yes!- the Memories!!!!

Leslie Ginnes

I am so chuffed you responded to this piece because not only is it my experience (thank you for the validation), but it is a different direction in writing style for me. Poetic is what I thought too, but I am only the writer. And thank you very much for sharing with your group.

Sherry Bronson

I love your elegant way with words. It is similar to that of a friend in California whom I met at a Writer’s Festival in Bali. He explores life’s questions in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking, as you have.

At 74, I have to say that I doubt I will ever reach the point of simply being. There is so much to learn and experience, more all the time, and each new adventure adds to the sum of my parts. My life is a journey of self-discovery and I guess that is, after all, ‘simply being’ who I am!

Leslie Ginnes

Thank you for your kind words. It has me considering the phrase Simply Being needs a modifier that embraces growing as part of simply being because I completely concur.I am taking my writing skills and now offering them as a service to those who need content. Would you mind my using your reply on my yet-to-be-launched website? l hope you have a lovely day.


The Author

Leslie Ginnes’ goal is to freely share the expertise and care given to her, which nurtures her creativity. She is 65, looking back and looking forward and wondering how we can lift what is too heavy to carry. Finally, accepting everything will change, and it does in a split second.

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