The Sphinx exists in the mythology of the ancient world, be it Egypt (1200 BC) or Greece (600 BC). It is a hybrid creature with a human head, a lion’s body and wings for arms. It is the catalyst that ignites the Oedipus saga chronicled by Homer, and dramatized by Sophocles. Remember “The Odyssey” from sophomore year in high school: Oedipus answers the riddle, “What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?”
Aging is a sphinx. It is mythologized. Our conversation is jammed with dramatic tales about what our bodies are doing these days – the duller and longer aches, the higher cholesterol count, and, my favorite of all – big toe arthritis. Perhaps we know others who are suffering with more dire conditions. All of this weighs on us, because it used to be something that “happens to others.”
And yet it is a hybrid. There is good stuff going on. Wisdom, contentment; and self-awareness are hardly negatives and seemed unattainable to me when I was in my thirties. And since I am devotee of Facebook, there are tons of my peers getting the biggest kick and joy out of their grandkids. I love the photos. But none of this undermines the inevitable fact that we are moving on to the stage of three legs. So obviously, it’s time to throw caution to the wind, and head out for a cocktail and a schmooze-session with a great friend.