The older I get, the more I find myself thinking about what’s right in front of my face in a whole new light. It’s hard to say whether this is true because of my trials and personal-life traumas… or just because I’m getting older. And, by and large, solving that particular mystery really doesn’t even matter in the general scheme of things: it is what it is (as the tattoo I proudly carry with me into eternity points out each and every day I look in the mirror).
Everyone has a story, and mine is no more (or less) important than anyone else’s. It IS, however, mine… and that’s what makes it unique.
I recently updated my compulsory “About” Page, and in the doing I re-discovered some of the stuff that had led me to building this site from the ashes of my past and signing this new lease on life. I hadn’t sought out this unplanned new outlook, rather it plopped itself at my life’s doorstep as if it had gone missing during the “dark” years, and was coming back home for good. The reunion, as if with a long lost friend, has inspired my re-thinking about old stuff I had buried in the chapters of my past, and has caused me to see one of the fundamental truths of life in a whole new light: it really is what you make of it.
I am reminded here of Mark Twain who, I have decided, is the literary legend I most associate myself with… and the one I most want to be like when I grow up:
Meantime I have made more than 40 sea voyages & numerous land trips, & have gone clear around the globe once. This seems a hard fate. No, not seems–it was a hard fate. I made all those journeys because I could not help myself–made them with rebellion in my heart, & bitterness. Human life is maliciously planned with one principal object in view: to make you do all the different kinds of things you particularly don’t want to do.
– Notes added in April 1909 to Letter to William Dean Howells of 17 November 1878
It’s safe, I think, to suggest that Twain’s point lends itself to this notion of the natural order of things in life for… pretty much… every one of us.
In our youth we rebel, in our middle years we accept, and in our final years we pray for more time. Along the way, we collect memories and reflections and remnants of these moments, and – like them or not – they remain with us everywhere we go thereafter. Whether life is good or bad, it seems to me, has a lot to do with how we collect these things, and what we do with them when we get back home.
For me, personally, it is my fervent hope that – as I make my transition from the middle years now, toward the end-game of life, that I have enough time left to enjoy the simpler pleasures and beauties that have always been right here in front of me, but for my unwillingness (or inability) to see them because I was too busy rebelling before acquiescing to the things over which I really never had any control.
The “featured” image of this post was taken at a place I took my kids to – for years – when they were (and I was) growing up. It’s on the east side of the Kancamagus Hwy. in the White Mtns. in New Hampshire. The place is quite popular because of its natural beauty, ease of access from the road, and relative safety: it’s really a roaring creek with huge boulders and pools deep enough to sit in (if you can take the water temperature).
My kids are grown now, two with kids themselves, and they take their own children to this very same place today. The nature of things… remembering the good things in your life, and re-DOING them every chance you get… and passing them on to subsequent generations to be enjoyed in perpetuity. It’s what we do.
What strikes me about this trip down memory lane is how easy it is to remember how it was when you were doing these things originally, and how damn good it feels to re-live them in the pictures posted here now. What’s harder is remembering what you were thinking at the time, but perhaps that – too – is natural. After all… checking out a cool hole under a tree with 4 little kids may have been awesome when you did it the first time, but going back to that tree 25 years later and re-seeing for yourself how cool it is (even more so today) can still seem as if you’d never seen it before in your life.
If you let it.
Sign up to get alerts from Joe!