A thought

I’ve probably lived at least two-thirds of my life, and as I progress toward extinction I realize that while it’s easy to read books and gain scientific knowledge about the universe, one part of our cosmos is impossible to master completely: how to deal with other people. Humans are so multifarious in their behavior, so complex and so different from each other, that treating them well and with empathy demands the skill of experienced therapists but not their emotional disengagement from their patients. After all, subjectivity is part of our emotional connection with others.

I think that I’ve improved at these skills as I grow older, because they come only with experience. We see what works and what doesn’t, and form general rules that have to be modified with each person we encounter. And so, though I think I’ve largely filled the well of my knowledge about biology, I’ll never stop learning about how to deal with people.

The sad part is that because that learning comes only with long experience, you become wisest about human interactions when you reach your dotage. At that point, you’re in a race between increased understanding of human behavior and feelings on the one hand, and on the other the curmudgeonly behavior, or even senility, that comes with age. What a pity that when we finally master the skills of social interaction, we’re almost too old to use them!



  1. Kelly
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    This strikes me as both true and sad.

  2. Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    You nailed it. I’ve been thinking along exactly the same lines these days, and we have reached a consensus of at least two here.

    So poignant, the fact of it.

    • Barry Lyons
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Make that three.

      • Ken
        Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink


        • Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          Five. I’ve probably passed 90% of my life, and nearly all I am capable of doing is lying in my bed and reading or watching good videos. WEIT is the first blog I hit every day. There are enough great blogs, books, and videos to keep me learning and thinking as long as my mind works, but I’m not sure what good it accomplishes for the world.

          • Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

            I tell my parents (who are 75 this year) that they need not worry too much about “doing right” all the time anymore, because I think they’ve done their part.

  3. Raymond Will
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah!

  4. Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Just when we’re beginning to get the hang of it …

  5. Jon Gallant
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Or alternatively, as either Shaw or Wilde pointed out, youth is wasted on the young.

  6. Steve Knoll
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Mien old grosspappa used to say

    “Too soon ve get olt, und too late ve get schmart”

    • Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:55 am | Permalink

      …thanks Steve….that’s going on the headstone…..

    • Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Thanks Steve – I learned the shorter version – too soon olt, too late schmart 🙂

  7. Janet
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I agree as well. Sometimes I shudder at remembrances of how I spoke to or treated another person decades ago, having no insight into how hurtful or unhelpful those actions were at the time. I wish my current more-aware self could relive those events.

    • nwalsh
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Exactly, Janet

    • freiner
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I have those shuddering moments of memory, as well, and I can go through spells where they happen more frequently (3 AM seem to be a good time for them). Perhaps there is some consolation for we shudderers, though, in recognizing that the shuddering itself contributes to whatever greater self-awareness we might achieve. MIGHT achieve … tomorrow I might behave in a way that will we get me shuddering again at some future 3AM.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      I think of things I said when I was younger and cringe. These days I usually work out where I went wrong soon enough to at least apologize, but then it sometimes took me years to work out what a prat I was (if I ever did).

      I’m just glad there was no social media keeping a record back then.

  8. BobTerrace
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Some thoughts/observations on the topic:
    1. If you learned the skills, write a book on the topic to teach others.

    2. My observations tell me that few actually learn those skills.

    3. A little bit of this is “get off my lawn” and a little bit is the grass is greener on MY side.

    4. I will welcome extinction as it gets closer and care less what others do or think.

  9. JezGrove
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    As one of the trailers on BBC Radio Four used to put it, “You live and learn. Then you die and forget it all”. Ah well..!

  10. mikeyc
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    The worst thing of all about getting olde is just when you begin to understanding the people you love, you start losing them.

    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Totally agreed. It’s hard to watch friends disappear.

  11. S.K.Graham
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Odds are quite good that within the 1/3rd lifespan remaining (~25 yrs?), technology will double that.

    And within 50 yrs, technology will extend life indefinitely.

    So, with a bit of luck, you might get to apply those hard won social skills much longer than you think.

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Indefinitely? The horror!

      • S.K.Graham
        Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        I prefer the term indefinite to immortal… there’s probably no cure supernovas, close-range gamma ray bursts, etc.

        And on the smaller scale, accidents will still happen.

    • freiner
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Or would an indefinitely extended life also be one that indefinitely postpones the acquisition of those skills?

      • S.K.Graham
        Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        …or the needed skills become ever more complex.

        Whether its memes or genes, the Law of Evolution (mathematical reality) guarantees “we” will always be in some sort of life&death struggle.

    • Posted July 23, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      How good are the odds really that in the next 25 years lifespan will be doubled? I always thought of aging as a complex process with no single overriding cause, and therefore a very tough nut to crack.

  12. Greg Geisler
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this. I frequently have these same thoughts. I tend to feel like I am in this perpetual sociology experiment. It’s challenging and often disappointing but I feel like I have sharpened my intuitions about people over six decades.

    I find that insecurity is at the root of most of my frustrating personal encounters. Most Americans seem to be deeply insecure and I think that this is also why there is such rabid consumption of social media.

  13. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s a given that we have to get curmudgeonly as we get older.

    Sure, if you’re in pain, or painfully lonely, or you never found any empathy to begin with, but not necessarily.

    Some people give themselves permission to be ugly, but then, some don’t. I have watched several people age and die now. Two of them, both stroke victims, experienced personality changes. One went from being sweet to being nasty, the other went from being hypercritical to being sweet.

    One stands out, though. He experienced a stroke at the end of his life which rendered him unconscious. But right up until then, he was kind, gentle, thoughtful, and wonderful. I hold him up to myself as my role model. If I am physically able (i.e. not experiencing a personality change due to brain damage), I plan to do my level best to emulate him.


    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      I agree: I don’t think it’s inevitable that one become a curmudgeon. It often happens, but not always.

      • rom
        Posted July 22, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        But having become curmudgeonly it was inevitable?

      • Posted July 22, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        With all due respect, I’ve detected an increasingly curmudgeonly tone in WEIT. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Angry Cat Man. 🙂

      • Johnman
        Posted July 23, 2018 at 4:08 am | Permalink

        To paraphrase something I heard recently: “Old men don’t become curmudgeons,they become honest!” But then it’s usually a bit too late.

    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      I’m on your side, Linda. But, in addition, I want people to know that I don’t believe in God. When I die I hope somebody will say, “He showed that atheists don’t deserve the reputation they have.”

  14. Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    If it’s any consolation, some of us never learn.

    • phar84
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I like your camp.

  15. Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “Youth Is wasted on the young.”

    — George Bernard Shaw —

    • nicky
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I think the quote was: “Youth is the most beautiful thing in the world – and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!” or something like that. It has also been ascribed to Oscar Wilde.

  16. Simon
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    What strikes me as my structural integrity diminishes is how far behind some of my peers I, and most of us, are. There were people we used to take the piss out as youths who were way ahead of the rest of us in their understanding of life and people.

  17. µ
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Are we sure we get that much smarter with age?

    Or ist it that we just don’t live long enough, say to an age 110, to reflect back and realize that when we were in our 60s or 70s, we made just as many stupid decisions as when we were younger.

    So that, although we thought at age 65 that we had mastered the skills of social interaction, by age 110 we reflect back and realize that we actually didn’t.

    (Maybe the centenarians here could comment on this?)

    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      While not aged enough to comment on the veracity of what you say, I believe you’ve actually hit on the more accurate postulate.

  18. Stephen
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Perhaps it’s a mistake to equate age with mileage, age isn’t always a sufficient guarantee for relational wisdom. Either way any amount of sympathetic rational compassion that we can offer at any point in our life is worth the effort. Let’s not use the old addage of ‘if only the young knew and the old were able’ as a statement supporting our inactivity. All said you still make a generally solid point.

  19. Frank Bath
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    There’s no arguing with this. I imagine it was a lot easier before Homo Sapiens put themselves in cities rather than move about in small bonded groups.

  20. bingingonabudget
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Great post, you make so many great points on here. Thanks for sharing.

  21. rom
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of extinction, some ten years ago I found myself standing by some 120-My-old footprints of some lizard like bird ‘osaur and found my self wondering what footprints I will leave.

    The conclusion was lots … but they may be washed away as the universe unfolds. And that wanting to leave recognizable footprints was an understandable conceit.
    Here is that footprint moment:

    About that time I was losing my belief in free will, (mostly lost by then) and that understanding people cannot be otherwise is OK. Sort an ‘acceptance’ that people cannot have been otherwise given the circumstances. If we have been kind or unkind, understanding or crass in any given moment, it is OK.

    • S.K.Graham
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      This post is one of your footprints.

      4793 years from now, some Digital Archaeologist will discover it in a long forgotten web archive.

    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m curious where those footprints are.

    • Diane G
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      “…and found my self wondering what footprints I will leave.”

      Whereas my brain goes, “in a world of 7+ billion of us, what are the odds that any of our footprints, least of all mine, will ever be noted after we die?”

      Which I find alarmingly comforting.

  22. Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    As they say, youth is wasted on the young.

    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Ah. I was beaten to the punch.

      • freiner
        Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Better than being beaten to a pulp.

  23. Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Pass your wisdom to the next generations as best you can.

    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Great point. We may eventually lose the chance to apply what we’ve learned ourselves, but if we pass our knowledge on to those who are younger than us, then our learning will not be for naught. =)

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      The way to do that is by example.


  24. Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Long ago, a friend helped me master the art of conversation. He told me that people in general do not care about what YOU have to say, they care about what THEY have to say. This insight greatly improved my ability to interact socially.

    • Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. It became much less stressful for me to socialize when I realized that I don’t need to have interesting things to say. I only need to ask questions and listen.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      I finally figured that out, too.

      It’s quite a reassuring thought if you’re of a shy disposition.


  25. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I always fall back on something my grandfather said to me. Too soon we get old and too late we get smart. You can take that one to the bank.

    If you end up in a career where you manage lots of people (that is where I ended up) then you attempt to work on this problem of how to deal with other people allot. How to actually become a “good” manager of people. It takes a lot of work and for some people, they simply cannot learn this skill regardless of how long they are at it. I do not think is is a skill you can lean completely in school or on the job. It takes both and a good deal of time measuring yourself. I suspect all teachers try to master this to some degree and it may be even harder for them to do.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      That is an important point. I was in a succession of posts where I had to manage teams of between 12 and 70 people. Looking back, I now realise what a pig’s ear I made of so much of it. Like you, I had to work hard at it, as well as taking good advice from those who could see what I was doing wrong. I reckon I’d just about got the hang of it by the time I had to retire!

      As regards our host’s main point, what he says is indeed both sad and true; but the upside is that we can learn, improve, and get a kick out of doing so however old we are. Some of the happiest people I have known are those who have kept their intellectual curiosity and, above all, their abiding interest in others.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        That last part is really true. Maybe lots of patience is the main asset, I am not sure. In my time I have seen lots of others in the management business and sometimes I thought it was a talent you either had or you didn’t. But you find out there is much more to it. I also saw some who took the wrong path and didn’t really become managers at all but instead became those who spent most of their time pleasing the boss. So instead of managing the people they attempted to manage the bosses above them. Far too many take this approach and it is not pretty.

  26. JB
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting on in years and still have no idea how to deal with people. I fully expect to die this way… in front of a web browser wondering what’s going on in the world.

  27. Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    “Age is a terrible price to pay for Wisdom.”


  28. mfdempsey1946
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    The unbearable lightness but also, simultaneously, the unbearable heaviness of being.

  29. Diki
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Frenchies have a nice idiom for this:

    Si jeunesse savais, si veillisse pouvais…

  30. Martin X
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m skeptical that increased social skills necessarily comes with age…often the reverse seems to be true. It may be that the edges get worn off of some of the more obnoxious attributes. My mother at 85, doesn’t yell, call people names, and throw things any more, but it’s probably due to a lack of energy more than increased wisdom.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      You may have that right. There is often no indication that age has done it’s job on the mind in this regard. We have this guy in the White house right now that would be a good example. However, we should probably not include the mentally disturbed in this stat.

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 22, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        And remember the average age of Fox’s viewership is 60. I wouldn’t consider those millions of folks wise.

    • Robert Bray
      Posted July 25, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      My mother would say to me, ‘people don’t change as they age, they just become more themselves. . . .’

  31. Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Well said. It is tough growing old and realizing all the past relationships where, with what we know now, we could have done so much better. Still, you have obviously done well in your personal relationships, admittedly judged from afar and through a narrow lens. After reading your essays, this one included, I am often in awe of your graciousness and ability to deal with people.

  32. Claudia Baker
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Who was it said: “People are hell”?

    I find that the older I get, the more I believe this. It never gets easy for me to deal with them. Except, it seems, for a *select few. These few can be added to from time to time, but its’ a very selective process. “Do I see books by Ann Coulter on your bookshelf? Sorry, don’t think we can be friends.” Oh dear, am I a curmudgeon?

    Yes, I know, the person could be doing research on Coulter. So, I guess I’d check the whole bookshelf and decide. Too much right-wing stuff? You’re out.

    *we happy few

    • nicky
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I guess you refer to Sartre’s: “L’enfer c’est les autres”?

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Yes, thanks. Much more poetic said that way!

  33. AC Harper
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I’ll go out on a limb here, paint with a broad brush, speak in generalities that don’t apply to everyone, and so on…

    As children we have little wisdom because we live in the now.

    As young adults we have little wisdom because we *have* to build status among our peers and gain access to mates.

    As adults have mere shreds of wisdom because we are driven to protect our family from all the others competing for security.

    As older people, our hormones have died down our children left home, and we are no longer in competition for security. In the calmer waters of old age and experience the even voice of wisdom has more of a chance of being heard. Mind you, we are not as bothered about righting the world’s wrongs because we have less at risk, although for some grandchildren are a delight.

  34. Ann German
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    So true. When my lovely mother was in her 80’s (around 1990), I took her to a concert in Bozeman, Montana, where all the musicians were lesbians who’d come up from California to visit some friends. She had never been exposed to so many gay folks and, on our drive home to Butte, she said, “Life is strange. Just when you begin to understand about people, you die.”
    Your post reminded me of her observation which I thought was profound.

  35. Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    “. . .though I think I’ve largely filled the well of my knowledge about biology, I’ll never stop learning about how to deal with people.”

    This is admirably humble, especially in its acknowledgement that there are indeed other ways of knowing beyond science and empiricism. Personally, I wish I’d devoted more time to learning about the latter.

  36. Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    In a world without god, there is no greater comfort than the knowledge that neither you nor others could have acted otherwise.

    Or in the words of Albert Einstein:
    “Schopenhauer’s saying “A man can do what he wants but not want what he wants” has filled me alive since my youth and has always been a comfort and an inexhaustible source of tolerance when seeing and suffering the hardships of life. This consciousness soothes in a pleasant way the slightly paralyzing feeling of responsibility and makes that we do not take ourselves and others too seriously; it leads to a view of life that leaves its right especially to humour.”

  37. Russell La Claire
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Listen more
    Talk less

    • Don Quijote
      Posted July 23, 2018 at 3:19 am | Permalink

      +1 This is what my father taught me.

  38. Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I have not yet reviewed the comments above, but I do not think it a pity that I, well into my 50’s, am still learning how to interact with consistent skill. I will still stumble at times, and say something awkward or even a little dumb.
    The learning part of life is one of its best parts.

  39. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Just to play the devil’s advocate here. Luck is involved in all beats of life. Some will never get or even get worse with experience (say, pedophiliacs). And statistically we are less satisfied in middle age, meaning there is a lot of self appraisal that is wrong.

    But in general of course we learn with experience.

    I think what set me off on this rant was the mentioning of therapists, which has no resounding cultural context around here. (And statistically is simply a scam AFAIK.)

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      “Some will never get” – Some will never get it.

  40. Posted July 22, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    So soon old, so late smart!

  41. Posted July 22, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Before my mother died (at almost 93) I apologized for not having been a better daughter; one with more of the skills and behaviors she lived and admired. She was shocked. She stated that “I was a gift from God”. I never, ever had to doubt that my mother loved me, with my flaws and all. And, she always, always cared for people; especially those hard to love. Thank goodness for me. I try hard to live my life according to those particular loving standards of my mother. She was not perfect, but she was an exceptionally caring person. May I carry on her tradition.

  42. Blue
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Five saws given me from Daddy as a wee kiddo
    help with my dealings within this dotage:

    i) Even IF I am a minority of One,
    the Truth is still the Truth. Mohandas Gandhi
    ii) Nobody can be in good health if she doesn’t have all the time fresh air, sunshine
    and good water. Flying Hawk
    iii) My friends .ARE. my estate. Emily Dickinson
    iv) It is better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone. Marilyn Monroe
    v) She who tooteth not her own horn … …
    the same shall not be tooted. My Daddy, an utterly reserved individual


  43. rickflick
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    A thought sounds like a book in the making…

  44. azwangster
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I heartily agree with Jerry on this one.

  45. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    … when we finally master the skills of social interaction, we’re almost too old to use them

    I nominate this to be known hereafter eponymously as “Coyne’s Law” (though, per Stigler’s Law of Eponymy, it will probably be named after someone else). 🙂

  46. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Too many variables.


  47. sang1ee
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know this secret. If anyone also knows the exact science of passing a person in a hallway, accounting for all relationships, friend, acquaintance or stranger, please let me know.

  48. Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    “I’ll never stop learning about how to deal with people.”
    this is not surprising given humans and our spectrum of behaviours and the novelty in the way we conduct ourselves.
    If brains can be as variable in volume, shape and the folded (gyri) and grooves (sulci) as unique as fingerprints… what’s wired to what and what is not, why not the behaviour that goes on within it?
    When you stop learning it’s possibly all that brain matter has restructured and altered itself, severely or slightly
    and in-between for it not to bother or sadly, your dead.

  49. Bernie Hernandez
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    A wise Mexican writer (Juan Rulfo) used to say: “life can only be understood in retrospective but must be lived prospectively.”

  50. Florent
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    The more I live, the more I realise how pointless it is to try and improve my human relationships. My wife has friends, some come home from time to time, but in my own circle of people, she’s the only one I interact with – except work collegues, but they too, I have shun off and just interact for basic needs.

    It’s like the Bible : the more I kept reading it, the more its obnoxiousness pushed me away.

  51. Posted July 23, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    For those of you in your 60s, 70s, and beyond…any advice for a young whipper-snapper of 42? I think back on my 20s and 30s and am aghast at some of the mistakes I made. As in, many of my decisions or actions (and inactions) then are so obviously wrong to me now, as in “2+2=5” level of wrong, but I was completely oblivious to the errors. It amazes me sometimes that I somewhat landed on my feet.

    I can’t help but think that at this very moment, I am doing or not doing things that would obviously be mistakes to my 60 or 70 year old self.

    This is a difficult question to answer because we all have different circumstances, abilities and personalities, but I throw it out here because this is an unusually bright and experienced group.

    What things do you see younger people do that seem to be, in the light of your experience, major errors?

  52. nicky
    Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I guess it is an old lament.
    Which one of us has never wished to be 20 again, but keeping our acquired knowledge and wisdom?

  53. Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    When some snotty nosed whippersnapper starts dissing on us old folks, I often say “Well, at least I KNOW that I am going to live to be 72.” 🙂

  54. Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Good thought! It reminds me of a reflection I read somewhere:

    +++I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you go live in an old age home. You get kicked out for being too healthy. Go collect your pension, then, when you start to work, you get a gold watch on your first day and you work happily until you’re young enough to enjoy your “retirement”. You drink alcohol, you party, and you get ready for high school. You go to primary school, you become a kid, you play and you have no responsibilities. You become a little baby. You spend your last nine months floating with luxuries like central heating, spa, room service…. then you finish off… an orgasm!!! Amen.
    [ George Constanza ]+++

  55. Posted July 23, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I am not as old as our host, but one thing I have come to realize with age is that it isn’t just that some people seem to understand other humans better than I, but some people *think they do*, and are full of the confidence of the unreflective. In a way this is an amplification of something I’ve always felt – that people guess what others are on about etc. on very little evidence. “Why do you believe that?”

    Human relations are *hard*.

  56. Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Alas, entropy … she be a cold-hearted mistress with a twisted sense of irony.

    Lucky for some of us curmudgeons, we are still loved and even listened too on the rare occasion. We just need to continue taking chances and live our lives with love in our hearts.

  57. Posted July 23, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    ‘listened to’

  58. starskeptic
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    A bit beyond perception’s reach
    I sometimes believe I see
    that Life is two locked boxes, each
    containing the other’s key.

  59. Andrea Kenner
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Very profound. I have hurt others but, conversely, I have also been hurt by others. And, although I regret the hurt I have inflicted, I wonder if those who have hurt me have similar regrets. More likely, those others have forgotten all about the hurts they inflicted on me. I guess the best thing I can do now is to be the kindest, best person I can be from now on. Periodically, it helps to hit the Reset button.

  60. Posted July 24, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Two locked boxes, each containing the other’s key. I like that image!
    It reminds me of the cartoon of two persons sitting in front of each other, each with a bowl of food and a spoon of more than one arm’s length. Thus unable to feed themselves, they discover the solution by each using his own spoon to offer rice to the other person, “saving two lives”.

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