My 70th birthday – marking the beginning of my next decade – seemed particularly significant. For me, I never got the big deal out of turning 40, or 50, or even 60 – but this one, it’s different. More real, more definitive, more of a sense of finality. Like, this is it and here I am. To be certain, I still have enough of my lifelong hang-ups that nothing much has changed, really. On the other hand, acceptance seems to be just around the corner.
Looking out of these eyes at airports is what interests me, now. I think of that often.
I’ve been traveling by air fairly regularly since after my sophomore year in college when I joined the Peace Corps. That venture included a couple of trips back and forth across the US to trainings capping in a trip half-way around the world to India, and, a year later, back again. Then I joined the Army and that also included several back-and-forths across the country for trainings and assignments, and then to Vietnam – for a year of stress, fear and uncertainty – and, thankfully, back again. After that, as a geophysicist for Arco Oil & Gas, I was in and out of airports on a regular basis mostly in the Continental US but a few trips to Alaska, and then to Algeria several times, and again to my relief, back again.
What I’ve noticed is that the crowds in airports, all “look” the same. As I watch people walk up and down those long jet ways, I see people of all varieties – young and old, serious and happy, uniformed and civilian – headed somewhere, anywhere. I see younger people and think, “Oh, there I am,” I see middle aged people and think, “That’s me, not so long ago,” and I see older people and think, “Oh my, is that really me?”
But, there I am, or here I am, or just ‘I am.’
So, what I’m finally getting, in a way that seems deeper and more real, is that what’s seeing out of these eyes now – even as an apparent older man – is ageless. And, what is peering out of these “windows to the world” while walking through airports, is really just seeing itself – over and over again, in its many different human forms, in its many different ways. It sees itself walking down the concourse as ‘all-of-it’ and ‘none-of-it,’ and often both at the same time.
What is looking out is transparent, timeless and invisible to what is being seen. As the body resists letting go through the natural aging process and as it shrinks and contracts around the consciousness that is, there is the appreciation that ‘I’ am the timeless still in the process of the moving through one of its many forms.
As I become older, I’m becoming less identified with my ego, not more; and to that I am grateful. I am a grandfather to all of the children, parent to all the adults and friend to all those that are older. And, as walking down the concourse happens, the amazing display of life is seen as another form of ‘me,’ in its continuous unfoldment. Just consciousness being aware of itself in this brief moment of apparent existence.