Welcome to the cusp. I live here, manage to somehow survive here. It is a strange place, a place in between and betwixt so many other things, some on the right and some on the left, some in front and some behind, some not imagined yet, and some known very well. Maybe it’s my age, my generation, or sub-generation: I’m the age of Obama, too young to have been a hippie, but always longing after that opportunity. Constantly feeling like I missed out on something fun, just missed it. And yet, still a Boomer. Just.
That puts me right in the middle, between generations, Boomer and X, anticipating Y. Not belonging, really, to any, and yet knowing, sensing, the gigantic rift between us. I feel the demarcation point like I’m about to fall off a cliff, the point, the cusp, the sharp edge, and it is very sharp, that keeps me in my age and makes the boundary clear. I never say, “awesome,” for example. Never. I only say, “cool,” and “fantastic.” That might tell you something. When I try to say, “awesome,” it feels like I’ve got a ball of cotton in my mouth that I’m trying to swallow and I simultaneously imagine myself as a high school senior, a cheerleader with pom-poms and mini-skirt and no brain in her head.
Why couldn’t we have just stuck to “cool”?
I’m on the cusp of the technological age: born before it and now watching its rise. We had no computers when I was in college; I wrote all my papers on an IBM Selectric. How’s that for making me sound ancient? I didn’t grow up with video games; instead my brothers and I went outside and played, got to know the neighbor kids, skinned our knees, got dirty.
I’m at the point where I’m watching my parents aging as I’m aging myself. It’s a place I never expected to be. Not long ago I was sure I had all the time in the world; life would last forever, and my parents would live forever, and I would be young and energetic forever. When did this feeling hit, the one that makes me slow down and see what’s around me because it’s eventually going away? The people, the places, nothing lasts forever, I’m afraid.
But enough about me. I’m describing a place, the cusp, I call it, that may be where others like me find themselves, existing, surviving, waiting for something. What are we waiting for, I wonder? Perhaps we’re waiting for the energy to take that next step, to try yet again to assert the self we had come to know so well in our younger years, the self who was so filled with bright hope. Try again to achieve the things left unfinished when life distracted us from our dreams; try again to face down time as though it had no power over us, dare it to stop us, dare it to keep us from grabbing it by the neck and shaking it silly.
Silly old time. Mr. Time. Like Old Man River: He just keeps moving along …
medical researchers who are on the cusp of a major breakthrough
“I was on the cusp of discovery when I was interrupted.”
I’m wondering if she’s on the cusp of a nervous breakdown because she has frequent outbursts of anger and her thinking is completely irrational.
Unfortunately, the funding for our research is being cut just when we’re on the cusp of finding a cure.
“Postmodernism is, almost by definition, a transitional cusp of social, cultural, economic and ideological history when modernism’s high-minded principles and preoccupations have ceased to function, but before they have been replaced with a totally new system of values. It represents a moment of suspension before the batteries are recharged for the new millennium, an acknowledgment that preceding the future is a strange and hybrid interregnum that might be called the last gasp of the past.”
— Gilbert Adair, British author, critic. Sunday Times: Books (London, April 21, 1991).