My post on The Middle-Aged Athlete was inspired by James Hillman’s book on The Force of Character – author discussing his book below.
The book has nuggets throughout that offer a insight into the experience of “getting old.” The central premise is aging will make us more of what we are. “What we are” being Hillman’s definition of character.
So I asked myself, “What are my central traits?” and, more usefully, “What traits work against the life I’d like to live?”
If you’re like me then, at least initially, you’ll come up with a shopping list of admirable traits – things you like about yourself. So far, I haven’t had the courage to verify this list with my wife!
More useful is to reflect on the traits that might lead one’s self into trouble. Quickly, I came up with two…
- A preference for isolation
- A tendency for internal over-reaction
Combine those two, magnify them, accept them for another 20, 30 or 40 years and you’ve got one heck of a cranky Old G.
I suffer disproportionately from my negative traits – particularly the internal reactions, hidden from most people. Fortunately, there’s a well-known fix for training one’s mind.
To the traits above, my wife advised that I “should watch my tendency to let myself go.” So true, my love, so true.
As things inevitably unwind, our personal truth comes to the foreground.