Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

At fifty-four, I’m now roughly the same age Dante was when he was putting the finishing touches on The Divine Comedy. I’m the same age as von Aschenbach in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. (I realized only recently that the character in this novella who was pining for a youth and his own lost youth was squarely in middle age; not having read the opening very carefully, I had always assumed that the “old” man who allowed the hotel barber to dye his hair jet black and garishly paint his face was in his seventies at the very least.) Fifty-plus is a good age for big questions. Unless I’m that rare soul who makes it past one hundred, I probably have less time ahead of me than I’ve already lived. Now that my brother, sister, and I are all over fifty, my brother, using a golf analogy, refers to our lives as being played on the back nine—the first nine holes are behind us. Whatever score we’ve accumulated, we carry with us. Suddenly, finishing honorably and staying out of the sand traps and water hazards matters more than seeing our names on the leaderboard. On the other hand, I think any age is a good age for big questions. I asked some of my biggest and best when I was in high school and college—fittingly, as that’s what school is for. I asked other big questions at painful times in my life—no age is immune from misfortune or feels it less keenly. And I hope and expect to be asking big questions right up to the end.

~ Will Schwalbe, Books for a Living



  1. Well THIS set me squarely back on my heels. I tend not to dwell on my age, but having just been slapped with the reminder that I, too, am on the ‘Back Nine’ has certainly set the tone for the day. I just purchased Hal Donaldson’s book, “Your Next 24 Hours” for a bit of inspiration and gentle re-boot. Time to get crack in’…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, a happy wake up call to you too, my friend – figuratively and literally.😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Monday?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. boom. welcome to morning. welcome to money. welcome to the back nine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Because we are closer to our death today than we were yesterday, it is good to remember that life is short and dead is for a very long time. Enjoy life.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I like the golf analogy, though I always thought that once a person is 40 they are middle age and half their life has passed…I think when people are in their 50’s they mellow, I hear fine wines, complexities keep mellowing with age…certainly a season for all of life and relationships…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Time waits for no one! i have so much to do, I need a hundred more years! 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love his perspective. Never stop asking questions. Never stop being curious. And carry your own golf bag as long as you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As someone who is 53, this was “talking to me!”
    Having lived through quite a few difficult situations so far, I have already taken on the “live each day to the max” approach. We just don’t know when our number will be called and it is out of our hands so let’s not waste what time we DO have!

    Liked by 2 people

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