My prime. Kids feel so alive because they're still growing, still developing. As long as I keep growing I have a certain shine, a liveliness about me. The question is, where did I stop developing? It's surprisingly easy to find out where someone stopped growing. Just ask what period of their life was their favorite. What do they look back on as their prime, their peak, the time of their life? For some it's childhood, for some high school or college, for others a love affair or that first real job out in the world. Whatever it is, that's where they got off the development train. I always thought of that in terms of decades: my teens twenties thirties etcetera. All along the way the current decade has always been my all-time favorite. As I come to the end of my sixties it's clear to me this is the best decade yet. I am so looking forward to my seventies.
Two kinds. There are two kinds of development: the basic physical, psychological and cultural development that everyone gets some of, and spiritual development. Basic development is needed for someone to play an adult role in the culture, but it isn't guaranteed. Number 45 clearly stopped developing psychologically at age two. But for most people some degree of that is built in, part of the natural process of maturation. Spiritual development, aka progress with love, isn't isn't included in that. The work required to make progress won't make life easier and it doesn't get me any outward benefits except I'll probably get healthier. Meditation does not bring inner peace, unless I'm taking a very long range view. The work required is often counterintuitive. It's impossible to find a good spiritual teacher. The deck is stacked against spiritual development.
There is no easy street. Resting on my laurels is the end of development, the end of liveliness and shine. To keep making progress I have to be willing to question everything. In particular I have to question everything that has worked before, or worked so far, because what I need next always involves something new, something that's different from everything so far. Easy street is the highway to hell, with hell being, at the very best, a miserable ease.
Nostalgia. If I'm still developing, still making progress I'm looking forward, not back. Preoccupation with nostalgia and the good old days is a sure sign I've stopped developing. Nostalgia is poisonous. The present is distorted by the past. Elizaveta takes it to extremes, nostalgia at its worst. She's an extraordinary storyteller, here working in my beloved 12/8 meter.
I went through a big spasm of nostalgia in 2020. My development had stalled, and here comes nostalgia, creeping up to get me. But I knew it wasn't right and I wrestled with it. I walked to places where nostalgia called out to me, places I used to go dance with my sweetheart. We broke up early that year. I gave myself desensitization therapy, and I reached out to people in the present the only way I could, on social media. Social media offer thin comfort, but it was just what I needed to see me over that hump, and it gave birth to these stories, a few of which originally appeared in an undeveloped form on my profile page. I shook off nostalgia, and my development is no longer stalled.