So are we in the middle, the late middle or the early-ending of our lives, I wonder? Probably the early-end, for as the days go by the odds stack against it being the middle.
We drive the same paths, sing the same songs, and yet our minds and bodies are an ever-expanding network of experiences, sadnesses, joys, anticipations, regrets, and, yet, there is still hope, for without hope it would surely turn into some kind of an end. Yet hope for what? A better future? That is quite hard to maintain as one ages and fears for one’s children and grandchildren in this world where war rages and where climate change eats up the resources we need for survival.
But hope we must, for it is hope that leads to innovation, to enterprise, to believing in a better future, or the creation of a better implement, or software system, or scientific solution, or a better way to heal the sick, or educate our children. Without hope there would be no new enterprise, no new business, no policies, no books written or artwork painted.
Though in moments of hope-lessness there can be beautiful poems written, paintings created, music composed.
A terminal diagnosis puts us close to the end, though no one can be sure when the end will be, unless one chooses to go to Switzerland. So it may still be a sort-of middle but equally a beginning – the beginning of a journey of experience through that diagnosis and one never knows when the middle occurs, perhaps until the very end when one might reflect that one has been through the middle of that journey last week or last month.
But a sudden death throws someone straight into an ending. There was a beginning, of that person’s life, but they never knew when or whether they were in the middle, or the late middle, until the end is ruthlessly thrown at them.
In Ukraine they lived lives at many stages of beginning, middle and end but were then all flung into the beginning, of a war, and terror, and none of them know whether they are still at the beginning, in the middle, or moving more quickly towards an end. But what might that end look like? That is a cliff-hanger.
So we live on a cliff-hanger every day of our life, somewhere between beginnings and middles, in life, career, marriage, parenthood, illness, crossing a road, until we reach the end. And some of us will be conscious that we are at that end and others may never know.