What do you want to do with the rest of your life and is Eighty too late to start? Two questions with no concrete answers for either one unless you’ve really got it all together which few of us ever do. What I am sure of is that I’d rather be happy at the miles traveled rather than look back at the stumbles along the way. It took me a lifetime to get here. No shortcuts allowed along the way. So, I might as well enjoy the time still left on the clock.
What’s working in my favor is my German Catholic upbringing. There was always a focus on hard work, material sacrifice and a subtle but unmistakable desire to get ahead. Past generations would often describe it (and usually disparagingly) as ‘rising above your raisin.’ My mother led by example; not words or lectures. It was a subtle message but well received by my sister and I.
Unfortunately, what’s working against me is my German Catholic upbringing. Too much allegiance to the man dressed in black along with his sisters-in-kind. Their word was sacred and final and all too often wrong in all the right places. Emotions and feelings were a sign of weak-ness and our elders often preached that ‘children should be seen and not heard.’
What I’ve stumbled across in my old age (relatively speaking) is the ability to see my luck (through the fog of daily life) in whom I married, my kids, and my grandkids. If there is a legacy, I guess they’re mine.
I’ve been most fortunate with my health, managing my cerebral curiosity, and how I’ve chosen to live my life on a daily basis. There’s been a real outburst of writing projects over the last several years along with a very real satisfaction with my ‘Coffee and Chat’ sessions.
Those early morning coffee clutch gab sessions provide much more than just doctor talk and exercising intellectual prowess on our part. It’s both male and female companionship in my old age.
All of which leads me to a more recent practice of Zen habits or more clearly stated, getting lost in the woods or wash or berm or mountain top as a precursor for getting lost inside my head.
Alone or with a friend, leaving the comfort of home for the rough, unknown of a mountain trek opens one up for all kinds of cerebral explorations. It all comes down to not knowing what you’ll find and not caring. Just enjoying the serenity and peace and calm of mother nature. And luckily reflecting on a life well-lived.