ON MY BIRTHDAY: An Observation


Yesterday, May 18, 2016, was my 59th year of life on this crazy ball of rock, this, our Earth. I had intended to post this article then, but the day – and my decisions – got the better of me and now I post this instead, and hope that you will allow me to expound, digress, remand and impress upon you all my views of this ‘birthday’.

When I was young (ten minutes ago, or forever long past, I can never decide which) I did not understand the way that our perception of time is changed as we age, transmuted from endless days to fleeting seconds, made to feel stopped in place or fast as a lightning strike.

In our youth there is no reality to the concept of ‘fleeting time’ or the ‘where has the day gone’, but as a senior citizen I have come to observe well and truly how it has changed for me. When I was young there was only the Next Great Thing, the Next Experience, the next, and the next. What I did not understand then was that Time is a great and monstrous thief and that there must be war waged against it even if the outcome is all but certainly against us.

We spend our days in the doing of the ritual, the ‘time-honored traditions’, the revolving door of life maintenance and it is merely fact to us, that which must be done, that which sustains us, the endless chore of making this temporal existence function as a construct called Humanity. And, true, the rituals and traditions are mostly made from love, the chores of our humanity honored as proud heritage, the sustenance we derive from them made ever more precious to us as we come to understand that the thief Time steals from us our ‘future’.

But being human has always had a price tag, and a big-ticket item it is, too: the recognition and acceptance of the fact that our temporal existence is exactly that, temporary, impermanent. Our exit from the world is unpredictable and we cannot hope to know it with certainty. And recognition of this fact is more important the older we become.

When we are young, we are woefully ignorant of the wider truth which surrounds and binds us as Humanity. We live only in the next moment, not in the now, nor in the past. But ah, how it changes!

Now that I am so much older, so changed and used, so ingratiated and so seemingly immovable, only now do I see the truth and, yes, the joy in becoming older by the day. Joy; I say joy because I know that there will come a time when I must face aging head-on and not only accept it, but embrace it, revel in it, be happy with it! If not Joy, then shall I face my later years with sorrow and regret?


Let Time take what it will. It does not change the fact that I am here, hell, that I was here, that I am forever a part of the universe and have my place in it, my time in it, and is that not the defining hallmark of being human? Is that not what existence IS?


Let Time steal what it can. I cannot and will not allow my remaining time to be spent agonizing over old, bad decisions. I will not be entombed by a past full of worry over events I was powerless to change, the paralyzing moments of fear, the hopeless idiot I have been and could not prevent being over and over and over – yes, all of my worst that I would change but cannot. I will not live in a past of regret.


Time attempts to take all manner of things from us; it takes our resilience and attempts to replace it with frailty; it tries to rob us of our happiness and replace it with compounded sorrow; it tries to steal from us our ability to be merciful and grateful, open and loving.

I say this to you:

IT WILL NOT WIN. Time will not take from me my joy, or my capacity for mercy, or my happiness which I have earned and for which I have fought long and hard; it will not be allowed to turn my craggy and wrinkled face, with its years of experience and strength for all to see as a badge of my life and turn them into ‘worry lines’ to be seen as impotence and embarrassment.

It will not take from me my ability to be thankful and humble that I have within me the ability to feel the one perpetual and eternal truth:


I leave you with this poem. Consider it each time you think yourself ‘old’, each time you worry about infirmities, each time you feel worn and used, each time you feel your mortality biting at your heels. Be well, be happy, and be free. We have much, much in the way of greatness. Be happy to be that one well-worn, rounded pebble in the Path of Humanity.


The Chase

You’re off and madly whirling,
Down the rabbit-hole, the toe-eared fox,
And chase you down the misted fen
To come to worry where you’ve been,
You’re never there or here again.

Oh, me, Oh, my, and there it goes,
The aches and pains this old fox knows,
Hard thumping heart and wheezing blows
Rock me insides, oh, lord, forefend
Their Mad intent that wicked Time extends.

Think again O Timid Men,
Be not against the grain, instead
Find comfort in the well-earned hone
And test again, and then again,
But don’t be fooled by an Amen.

Though I be old as my darned socks,
I know where rests the toe-eared fox!
I know the misted fen and more!
I passed the Human test and now
I’m Always There, And Here Again.

All My Love



3 thoughts on “ON MY BIRTHDAY: An Observation

  1. Jim, simply beautiful and inspiration to all including those who do not suffer from bipolar disorder. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Love the artwork over thinking on the bed was wondering who design the picture as we’re looking for a cover for our bands single and we’d love something like that

  3. Simon, thank you for writing. I assume that you are speaking of the photo of the goofy smiling guy that’s been posterized and edited. I took the photo and it is a self-portrait that I was having fun with and decided I liked the result. If you want to get in touch with me regarding its potential use please email me at jcglines@gmail.com. You can see other artwork at my Google+ site under my name, Jim Glines. Thank you for the interesting compliment (?).

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