A Reflection On Getting Old

If you grew up in the last half of the 20th century as I did, you are no doubt aware of the ever-looming threat of complete annihilation that civilization has constantly faced.

But at the same time, if you weren’t a racist or otherwise disposed to bigotry, you kept waiting for the whole world to come together as one thing. To create an economy that took care of everyone and environmental practices that were beneficial to all living things.

These were the things I hoped for. When I was religious, those were the things I prayed for. But now that I am older and nearing my best before date, I realize that neither of these things has come about. Nor are they showing any sign of doing so.

Hate and bigotry and intolerance and greed control everything that happens these days. And that has been the case for pretty much my whole life. And probably yours too if you think about it.

I have seen generations come and go in my 70-odd years here and nothing has changed. As soon as someone is old enough to make their own decisions they get gobbled up by the big machine, and they are so busy holding all that together that they have no energy to work on the bigger issues.

My life was like that. And I’m sure to one degree or another, yours is like that too. Politics keep on attracting people who are good at playing the same old game. Nothing new happens other than token gestures in isolated pockets.

I don’t know how many years I have left. None of us do. I just know that looking back, there have been a lot of changes in the tools we have to work with, but the purposes we put them to have remained stuck in the same rut humanity has always found itself in.

And now we’re seeing things we have never seen before because the earth, which nurtured us and provided us with everything we needed to survive, has finally reached the point where it’s demanding some respect.

And while I have my doubts about God and heaven and hell, I have a great deal of respect for the power of this planet, and its ability to cleanse and regenerate itself. And we now are facing the choice. Do we start respecting the power of the earth, because we realize the alternative is extinction? Or do we finally smarten up and start treating the earth like we actually care?


Jim Murray
Jim Murray
I have been a writer since the age of 14. I started writing short stories and poetry. From there I graduated to writing lyrics for various bands and composers and feature-length screenplays, two of which have been produced. Early on in my writing career, I discovered advertising. While the other media have drifted in and out, communications writing and art direction have been the constant through a 20-year career senior positions in Canadian and multi-national agencies and a second career, which began in 1989, (Onwords & Upwords Inc), as a strategic and creative resource to direct clients, design companies, marketing consultants and boutique agencies. Early in 2020, I closed Onwords & Upwords and opened MurMarketing which is a freelance strategic development/copywriting/art direction service for businesses working to make a positive difference in the world. I currently write long format blogs in 4 different streams, encompassing, entertainment, marketing, and communications, life in general, and the renewable energy and recycling industries. These are currently published on I have, over the years, created more than 1500 blog posts. I live with my wife Heather in the beautiful Niagara Region of southern Ontario, after migrating from Toronto, where I spent most of my adult life. I am currently recovering from spinal surgery and learning to walk again.

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  1. Jim and Aldo

    “It’s getting better all the time. . .” “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” (The Beatles)

    I see progress – Climate change is on the news every night – people are working to address racism and bigotry – green energy and other innovations are coming to the fore – but it ain’t all of us coming together and it ain’t fast enough.

    In life I’ve been a card carrying member of SDS and a right wing nutjob capitalist helping oil companies stop killing workers and spilling toxic crap everywhere.

    Richard Fariña sang in the Sellout Agitation Waltz “Find a loose alterntative if that’s the way you want to live, and give up unusual friends” and many of us did that and left the killing fields, oppression and earth destruction on the table for “later.”

    It’s later now. . . maybe too much later. . . we are older. . . old even. Now i’m back to marching in the streets sometimes, writing letters to politicians and donating where I can. . . Oh and whining about the state of the world, let’s not forget the whining, sometimes it make me feel better, sometimes worse.

    Any ideas how to break this particular logjam?


    • There is no way to break the logjam, as you put it, until such time as someone or some movement comes along who can unite the entire world.
      And I’m not talking about a new messiah. I’m talking about a new way of thinking about the planet that is all inclusive.

  2. Jim, interesting article and much of what you wrote really relates to God. The earth did not form by itself. Please don’t take this as preaching. No, I just want to somehow put the following thoughts into play. We have a Creator. There is a Heaven and there is a Hell, no doubt. You are right that the earth is demanding respect through the one who created it. For so long people have taken for granted what was given to us through God’s creation. No one on earth has a duplicate DNA. That in itself is amazing and mysterious. Your article speaks volumes through the hearts and minds of the Indian Culture, who give full credence to the earth, moon, sky, water, and sun. China is one of the most deliberate and ungrateful in polluting our waters with trash and plastic. You are right, if we don’t start taking care of what God has given us, we will suffer consequences.

    • Thanks Lynn. Yeah much of what I said relates to god or a higher power. We just have slightly different takes on the same thing. I have never had an issue with that. My issues are with organized religion, and the politics of division, both of which are powered by greed. Until we stop looking at this life as an accumulation of toys, and the manipulation of people for material gain, we are doomed, because that obsession is using up the planet, and that’s what we’re just starting to see.

  3. I lived through the post-war period and I know how difficult it was to start over. But if I reflect on the last few decades, I have reasons to welcome it.
    Thanks to advances in medicine, some deadly diseases have been eradicated. Millions of individuals have crossed the poverty line, gaining access to the most modern forms of education and health care. Today we have a universal declaration of human rights, and awareness of the extraordinary importance of these rights has grown; the ideals of freedom and democracy have spread throughout the world and we are witnessing a growing recognition of the factors that unite human beings. Furthermore, we are increasingly aware of the importance of environmental protection. I truly believe I can say that, in many ways, the second half of the last century was characterized by progress and positive changes.
    At the same time, despite the extraordinary advances made in various fields, great sufferings still exist and humanity continues to face enormous difficulties, many are still exposed to the sufferings and tragedies of war, the lack of livelihoods, are forced to struggle to survive, dealing with inequalities, corruption and injustice.
    In my opinion, the fundamental problem is that, at every level, we are attaching too much importance to the external aspects of life, neglecting moral values and our interiority.