This Old, Ramshackle Heart

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One of my brothers turned 65 the other day. He didn’t make a whole lot of it. He became eligible for Medicare; a friend bought him a really nice golf club; lots of family and friends called. But it hit me as a milestone. 65 is a special number. Some people still think of it as retirement age, even though most people I know don’t subscribe to the fictive notion of retirement—despite the fact that one’s powers will eventually decline to the point where work will be pointless. 65 is also one year older than 64, of “When I’m 64” fame. It gets you to thinking.

Although my brother is ten years older, I’ve always regarded him as young. We’re close and he’s the one who set me on the path that led to my practicing mindfulness, so I’m ever grateful for that. I think of us in those early days, when meditation was a new discovery, and how freeing that was, once you got the hang of it. I think of us in even earlier days, when I would sleep out in a tent in a friend’s backyard down the block and he and one of my…