They say that in the first half of your life you learn how to live and in the second half you learn how to die. For some reason men don't learn the lesson well. When the body finally says we are moving into the "learn how to die" mode, most men set out to defy the inevitable pull of gravity. "Don't sell property" is the general advice given to a man in his forties who is planning a career move, hobby move, house move, or all the other possible moves that serve to defy gravitational pull. Jogging and fast cars sometimes aid in the battle. Sometimes lots of toys help, although there are no pockets in a shroud and no roof-racks on a hearse. Although there is a sense of immortality with every new purchase or shrewd business deal, the reality is that mortality comes closer every day.

The most dangerous product of a mid-life crisis is the seven year itch. A line from the movie Moonstruck sums up the situation in the question "why do men chase women?" The answer is spot-on. "Because they are afraid of death." There is a little male Australian marsupial that wanders off to die after mating, and like him we just have to learn to live with the threat of the inevitable grim reaper.

Most of us resist learning how to die, and when we do, we can so easily act stupidly and end up destroying the many advantages we have built up over half a lifetime. Denying gravity is no way to be happy.

I have no secret solution to this peculiarly male problem, but I wonder if our tendency to live in the past, while planning for the future, at least aggravates it. Jesus gives us a good piece of advice on this subject: "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has troubles enough of its own."


[Pumpkin Cottage]