At The High Calling, we’re finishing up the last chapter and epilogue of The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks. And now I’m considering the story of Harold and Erica at the end of their lives, and what does that mean.
I’ve discovered I’m becoming more conscious of time, and its passing.
It’s not moving any faster than it ever did, of course; I’m simply becoming more aware of it. And it’s in the little things, like it takes five and a half minutes to unload the dishwasher.
I know this has to do with age. Chronologically, time is catching up with me. And I’m trying to stare it down.
I’m doing things at 60 that would seem more natural at 25 or 35.
I published a novel after I turned 60. I’m working on the sequel. Depending upon how the sequel does commercially, a series lies behind it. Another novel, completely different, has almost 70,000 words completed, with another novel idea rolling around in my head. And this novella thing I’ve been working on, all because I heard a piece of music. I’m experiencing a literary flood that’s almost overwhelming, at a time and an age when I thought ideas might be drying up.
My day job involves social media. I was a speechwriter who started with electronic communications in 1993, moved on to the web. And then it was blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the rest. I am not exactly what most people think of as the correct demographic for social media. As the King of Siam told Anna, “Is a puzzlement,” except that I think what’s different – why I ‘get it” when others my age and younger don’t, is that I bring a lived life to the understanding of communications technology.
I’ve become more aware of the impact of my parents on my life. I spent 18 years under their roof in direct, day-to-day contact, and 42 years later, I can see the influences they had far more clearly than I could years ago. Earlier this month, I spent a long weekend with my mother in New Orleans, and we talked in a way we never really had before. I should say I asked questions and she talked. I wish I had had a tape recorder, but I didn’t anticipate the level of conversation we ended up having. But I did take notes.
It’s no coincidence that I can look at my own two children, my two sons I love so much, and I see my influence.
Part of what Brooks says in The Social Animal is that so much of our lives is actually directed, influenced and shaped by the “dominance of unconscious processes.” It’s likely true, but it’s an incomplete statement.
His perspective is largely biological and sociological; mine is increasingly spiritual. I don’t see unconscious processes directing what I do. Instead, I experience how God has wired me, both collectively as a human being and individually as me, and I’m only gradually becoming aware of the totality of it all.
And it is awesome.
“We are not who we think we are,” Brooks writes.
And he’s right. We aren’t.
Until we understand that we are the children of God.
And then everything changes.
To see more posts on the final chapter and epilogue, please visit The High Calling, where our discussion is hosted by Laura Boggess.