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Bookmarker tag: topic/growing-older (21 notes)

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments
by David Foster Wallace

I am now 33 years old
by David Foster Wallace

I am now 33 years old, and it feels like much time has passed and is passing faster and faster every day. Day to day I have to make all sorts of choices about what is good and important and fun, and then I have to live with the forfeiture of all the other options those choices foreclose. And I’m starting to see how as time gains momentum my choices will narrow and their foreclosures multiply exponentially until I arrive at some point on some branch of all life’s sumptuous branching complexity at which I am finally locked in and stuck on one path and time speeds me through stages of stasis and atrophy and decay until I go down for the third time, all struggle for naught, drowned by time. It is dreadful. But since it’s my own choices that’l lock me in, it seems unavoidable—if I want to be any kind of grownup, I have to make choices and regret foreclosures and try to live with them.

—p.267 | A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again | created Aug 26, 2018

Salvage #5: Contractions
by China Miéville

you cannot choose what falls away
(missing author)

[...] Ellen had said, 'You're past thirty,' and now for the second time in my life I felt dizzyingly untethered, but whereas when I first moved to London that sensation was buoyed by the expectation of long-dreamed-of experience and ballasted with the deep resources of youth, now I had learned that you cannot choose what falls away, and every time you start again the possibilities are shockingly reduced. Presumably the last time we experience this is when we give up, so it's unsurprising that the panic is greater with every round. [...]


—p.41 | Available Light | created Dec 21, 2018

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
by Raymond Carver

what was waiting for you after the denim
by Raymond Carver

Why not someone else? Why not those people tonight? Why not all those people who sail through life free as birds? Why not them instead of Edith?

He moved away from the bedroom door. He thought about going for a walk. But the wind was wild now, and he could hear the branches whining in the birch tree behind the house.

He sat in front of the TV again. But he did not turn it on. He smoked and thought of that sauntering, arrogant gait as the two of them moved just ahead. If only they knew. If only someone would tell them. Just once!

He closed his eyes. He would get up early and fix breakfast. He would go with her to see Crawford. If only they had to sit with him in the waiting room! He'd tell them what to expect! He'd set those floozies straight! He'd tell them what was waiting for you after the denim and the earrings, after touching each other and cheating at games.

everyone struggles tho

(the old couple at bingo night)

—p.77 | After the Demin | created Jun 25, 2019

The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader and the Imagination
by Ursula K. Le Guin

who is that old lady?
by Ursula K. Le Guin

But it gets harder and harder to enjoy facing the mirror. Who is that old lady? Where is her waist? I got resigned, sort of, to losing my dark hair and getting all this limp grey stuff instead, but now am I going to lose even that and end up all pink scalp? [...]

—p.166 | Discussions and Opinions | created Jul 25, 2019

by Raymond Carver

dreams are what you wake up from
by Raymond Carver

[...] "Once, when I was in high school, a counselor asked me to come to her office. She did it with all the girls, one of us at a time. 'What dreams do you have?' this woman asked me. 'What do you see yourself doing in ten years? Twenty years? I was sixteen or seventeen. I was just a lump. This counselor was about the age I am now. I thought she was old. She's old, I said to myself. I knew her life was half over. And I felt lie I knew something she didn't. Something she'd never know. A secret. Something nobody's supposed to know, or ever talk about. So I stayed quiet. I just shook my head. She must have written me off as a dope. But I couldn't say anything. You know what I mean? I thought I knew things she couldn't guess at. Now, if anybody asked me that question again, about my dreams and all, I'd tell them.


[...] "'I'd say, 'Dreams, you know, are what you wake up from.' That's what I'd say." [...]

—p.200 | The Bridle | created Oct 18, 2019

Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?
by Raymond Carver

what was he going to do with his life?
by Raymond Carver

Now he was having an affair, for Christ's sake, and he didn't know what to do about it. He did not want it to go on, and he did not want to break it off: you don't throw everything overboard in a storm. Al was drifting, and he knew he was drifting, and where it was all going to end he could not guess at. But he was beginning to feel he was losing control over everything. Everything. Recently, too, he had caught himself thinking about old age after he'd been constipated a few days - an affliction he had always associated with the elderly. Then there was the matter of the tiny bald spot and of his having just begun to wonder how he would comb his hair in a different way. What was he going to do with his life? he wanted to know.

He was thirty-one.

something useful to remember: everybody worries about what they're going to do with their lives. it all ends the same way..

—p.154 | Jerry and Molly and Sam | created Nov 05, 2019

Collected Stories
by James Wood, Janis Bellow, Saul Bellow

what do you do about death
by Saul Bellow

What do you do about death - in this case, the death of an old father? If you're a modern person, sixty years of age, and a man who's been around, like Woody Selbst, what do you do? Take this matter of mourning, and take it against a contemporary background. How, against a contemporary background, do you mourn an octogenarian father, nearly blind, his heart enlarged, his lungs filling with fluid, who creeps, stumbles, gives off the odors, the moldiness or gassiness, of old men. I mean! As Woody put it, be realistic. Think what times these are. [...]

—p.13 | A Silver Dish | created Dec 04, 2019

the solitary death in store for her
by Saul Bellow

[...] He couldn't speak to Amy of the solitary death in store for her. There was not a cloud in the arid sky today, and there was no shadow of death on Amy. [...]

—p.272 | Leaving the Yellow House | created Dec 05, 2019

What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World
by Robert Hass

acrimony, bickering, recrimination, thickened waists, life
by Robert Hass

[...] One of the great moments in “Neighbors” occurs when Peter parts from Vlasich and Zina. “Riding into darkness, he looked back and saw Vlasich and Zina walking home along the path—he with long strides, she at his side with quick, jerky steps. They were conducting an animated conversation.” Peter’s loneliness is in that last sentence, and so is the splendid and perfect blindness of the lovers, who will get immense mileage, maybe even years, from conversation about their situation, followed by conversation about how they used to have conversation about their situation, followed by—what? Misery, some happiness, children perhaps, the final collapse of the porch, acrimony, bickering, recrimination, thickened waists, life.

—p.28 | Chekhov's Anger | created Dec 08, 2019

Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch

the entire span of my life yawning out ahead of me
by Blake Crouch

There's an energy to these autumn nights that touches something primal inside of me. Something from long ago. From my childhood in western Iowa. I think of high school football games and the stadium lights blazing down on the players. I smell ripening apples, and the sour reek of beer from keg parties in the cornfields. I feel the wind in my face as I ride in the bed of an old pickup truck down a country road at night, dust swirling red in the taillights and the entire span of my life yawning out ahead of me.

It's the beautiful thing about youth.

There's a weightlessness that permeates everything because no damning choices have been made, no paths committed to, and the road forking out ahead is pure, unlimited potential.

I love my life, but I haven't felt that lightness of being in ages. Autumn nights like this are as close as I get.

—p.10 | created Jan 28, 2020

Socialist Realism
by Trisha Low

that's why the movie is called Amour
by Trisha Low

Amour is a movie about an aging couple. They live happily together in a charming Parisian apartment. They are still in love. That's why the movie is called Amour. [...] One day, Emanuelle has a stroke while they're eating breakfast. Time stops. When it starts again, she is bed-ridden and incapable of speaking. She blubbers. She is transformed from elegant pianist to invalid. She is a formless mass of flesh that cannot care for itself. Her fluids leak out onto the clean floors. her living decay begins to contaminate the regal antiques and charming ornamentation. Her husband tries to take care of her. He degenerates from loving spouse to cruel, resentful caregiver. He has dreams of drowning in icy water in the basement of his own house. His wife refuses to eat. She can no longer stand. He becomes so tearfully frustrated that he slaps her, hard. A rigid part of him dissolves. [...] The different rooms of the apartment begin to deteriorate from disuse. He covers the craftsman furniture with dead plastic sheeting. He goes out to the shop to buy fresh flowers. He seals the entry to Emmanuelle's bedroom with tape. Their home becomes a dusty and beautiful tomb for the two figures within it. He is trying to preserve the gently rotting vestiges of their life together.

oh my god

—p.120 | created Apr 27, 2020

The Best American Short Stories 2004
by Katrina Kenison, Lorrie Moore

no one had varicose veins
(missing author)

Whenever Marilyn sees the Pepsi cooler she is reminded of those days. Just married. No worries about skin cancer or lung cancer. No one had varicose veins. No one talked about cholesterol. None of their friends were addicted to anything other than the sun and the desire to get up on one ski - to slalom. The summer she was pregnant with Tom (compliments of a few too many mai tais, Sid told the group), she sat on the dock and sipped her ginger ale. The motion of the boat made her queasy, as did anything that had to do with poultry. It ain't the size of the ship but the motion of the ocean, Sid was fond of saying in those days, and she laughed every time. Every time he said it, she complimented his liner and the power of his steam. They batted words like throttle and wake back and forth like a birdie until finally, at the end of the afternoon, she'd go over and whisper, "Ready to dock?"

Her love for Sid then was overwhelming. His hair was thick, and he tanned a deep smooth olive without any coaxing. He was everything she had ever wanted, and she told him this those summer days as they sat through the twilight time. She didn't tell him how sometimes she craved the vodka tonics she had missed. Even though many of her friends continued drinking and smoking through their pregnancies, she would allow herself only one glass of wine with dinner. When she bragged about this during Sally's first pregnancy, instead of being congratulated on her modest intake, Sally was horrified. "My God, Mother," she said. "Tom is lucky there's not something wrong with him!"

—p.281 | Intervention | created Jun 25, 2020

Granta 148: Summer Fiction
by Granta

her skin now roughened, turned to rind
(missing author)

The doctor prescribed a mode of treatment that was short-term sustentative and long-term palliative. Hearing this, I looked to my mother, whose eyes were closed; who her whole life had never changed, until she did change; who since babyhood I had known as the worldly portal for all of life’s other-worldly grace to emerge through; her skin now roughened, turned to rind; her prematurely gaunt face desaturated of colour and cross-hatched with lines. It felt as though too illogically short a period had passed between her initial diagnosis and present state of ill health, as though the full duration of her sickness had been time-lapsed.

—p.155 | Good Progress | created Nov 01, 2020

A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan

let’s make sure it’s always like this
by Jennifer Egan

As Ted sat, feeling the evolution of the afternoon, he found himself thinking of Susan. Not the slightly different version of Susan, but Susan herself—his wife—on a day many years ago, before Ted had begun folding up his desire into the tiny shape it had become. On a trip to New York, riding the Staten Island Ferry for fun, because neither one of them had ever done it, Susan turned to him suddenly and said, “Let’s make sure it’s always like this.” And so entwined were their thoughts at that point that Ted knew exactly why she’d said it: not because they’d made love that morning or drunk a bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé at lunch—because she’d felt the passage of time. And then Ted felt it, too, in the leaping brown water, the scudding boats and wind—motion, chaos everywhere—and he’d held Susan’s hand and said, “Always. It will always be like this.”

—p.231 | created Apr 11, 2021

Red Pill
by Hari Kunzru

what you have done cannot be undone
by Hari Kunzru

I THINK IT IS POSSIBLE to track the onset of middle age exactly. It is the moment when you examine your life and instead of a field of possibility opening out, an increase in scope, you have a sense of waking from sleep or being washed up onshore, newly conscious of your surroundings. So this is where I am, you say to yourself. This is what I have become. It is when you first understand that your condition—physically, intellectually, socially, financially—is not absolutely mutable, that what has already happened will, to a great extent, determine the rest of the story. What you have done cannot be undone, and much of what you have been putting off for “later” will never get done at all. In short, your time is a finite and dwindling resource. From this moment on, whatever you are doing, whatever joy or intensity or whirl of pleasure you may experience, you will never shake the almost-imperceptible sensation that you are traveling on a gentle downward slope into darkness.

—p.5 | created Jul 01, 2021

Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason
by Gina Frangello

just shoot me
by Gina Frangello

At one time, my father would drive my mother to New York on dates just so they could get a slice of authentic cheesecake—even in my teens he was known to hunt for the best apple pie all over the state of Michigan, just because. He knew which bakery in Chicago made the freshest doughnuts and drove across the city for a particularly fine custard cake. “If I ever get like that,” he would say of my tiny, elderly nana with her dowager’s hump, chowing on prewrapped brownies and freezer-burned, neon-colored popsicles, “just shoot me.”

Now a big day out for my father is a trip a mile away to the Entenmann’s warehouse, where he can stock up on enough processed coffee cakes and doughnuts covered in waxy chocolate that an avalanche falls out of his freezer when we open it. He buys whichever ice cream is on sale. When my husband and I go shopping for him and buy an ice cream he deems too expensive, he pitches a fit.

“Just shoot me,” he would tell us.

But it’s never that simple. You can’t just snap your fingers and disappear like a magician’s trick. Sometimes you live to turn into your mother-in-law. You remain trapped inside your body, unable to walk, unable to hear, taste buds faded, increasingly incontinent, napping during the day and awake all night, in chronic pain. Waiting.

—p.16 | created Dec 27, 2021

I never took my father out to dinner
by Gina Frangello

At last, Death is starting to listen. Almost nightly now, my father dreams of his dead brothers. My mother and I rarely figure in his subconscious. In the dreams, his brothers are still young: Emilio playing the sax; Joe a mildly powerful bookie; Frank on the front porch smiling and waving with his grandkids. In one dream, my father is forcibly taken away on a wagon across a barren white landscape.

“I never took my father out to dinner,” he tells my mother, his voice thick with regret. “He worked himself to the bone for us and I never bought him a meal.”

“You were a young man,” my mother assuages. My paternal grandfather died before I was born. “You had your own life. You didn’t know he would die soon. You thought you had time.”

Mr. Tortorici is dead by now, too, of course.

—p.26 | created Dec 27, 2021

we stand on the periphery and watch him ride away
by Gina Frangello

My mother and I have suggested throwing a party for his ninetieth, where all the many people who love him could gather, but he won’t hear of it. “Oh, Jesus Christ,” he says. The trappings of socializing—having to maneuver around with his walker, possibly falling down as he often does or not making it to the bathroom in time—have been added to the long list of things that make him anxious. His world shrinks, month by month, day by day. Although he can still read, he can no longer recite the alphabet or remember the order of the letters. Only Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, on the pages of his morning Star, remain as some reminder of wider terrain.

He is on a journey across the white barren land, inside himself. We stand on the periphery and watch him ride away.

—p.33 | created Dec 27, 2021

The Book of Embraces
by Eduardo Galeano

under the sparkling Southern Cross
by Eduardo Galeano

I was born and raised under the stars of the Southern Cross.

Wherever I go, they follow me. Under the sparkling Southern Cross, I live out the stages of my fate.

I have no god. If I had one, I would beseech him not to let me meet death, not yet. I still have a long way to go. There are moons at which I have not yet howled and suns which have not yet set me alight. I have still not swum in all the seas of the world, of which they say there are seven, nor in all the rivers of Paradise, of which they say there are four.


—p.269 | created Jan 16, 2022

Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks: 1941-1995
by Patricia Highsmith

you don’t begin to live until you are 30
by Patricia Highsmith

JULY 4, 1951

Tonight I felt fat, old, I heard my heart and felt mortal as mortal can be. It startled me so, I had a hard time getting to sleep. I was alone, a physical body that one day would run down and die and be buried. So I thought. It was dreadful. And unforgettable. Thirty—what a turning point. I remember Natalia’s saying in Capri: “Thirty? You don’t begin to live until you are 30.” Tonight. My movie opened, I believe.

—p.523 | 1951–1962: Living Between the United States and Europe | created Oct 08, 2022

The Maytrees
by Annie Dillard

and when will the days of wisdom come?
by Annie Dillard

—Let’s pretend we’re old, Lou remembered saying back when they were young. They had been watching hurricane waves rip the outer beach. To walk back they aligned adjacent legs like a pair in a three-legged race.

—Those days will come soon enough, Maytree said. His gravity had startled her. Now those days were here. Lou remembered when his forehead’s skin stuck tight as an apple’s. She pressed a finger to her own forehead and drew a circle. She was loose in her skin as a rabbit. She felt French knots on her shins. Now she wanted a book not to knock her out but only to move her. And when will the days of wisdom come?

—p.200 | created Apr 04, 2024