For almost a year, I felt tugged in many directions and despite my resolve to share my thoughts regularly on this blog, it was easier to relegate my task to later. It wasn’t fun feeling pulled away. I wanted to stay loyal to my writing, but carelessly didn’t find the right moment to broach the topics that seemed important at the time.
A good number of my impressions still found their way to scrutiny and dissent. I posted comments on a social network website where mostly friends bore the brunt of my opinionated outlooks. In hindsight, it would’ve been better to post them on this site.
Today, as the year turns, it’s politics and the economy that occupy the nation as a whole. The two seem to encroach on everyone’s peace of mind, if my friends fit the typical profile of people making time to post their own concerns on the Internet. Truly, both issues also stir me, but the health and welfare of the dwindling few remaining elderly members of my family claim a larger share of my present unrest.
It’s clear now from this perspective that as I witness the frailty of those I love, I begin to weigh in, way more heavily than before–when time seemed eternal–on higher order issues: the meaning of life, my purpose on Earth, the cryptic designs of a Supreme Being whose existence I feel deep in my soul, but I cannot see. Crossing the indelible line reserved for the old unobtrusively changes an individual’s focus of attention. It’s curious how the brain begins to search for pivotal events from our past to question them, to relive them, and to try to make better sense of them.
I begin to look for meaning in the difficulties I faced, those I couldn’t conquer, the many I overcame, the multiple lessons learned. I recall intensely painful events, ecstatically joyful ones, a good number of heart-breaks, and numberless meaningful moments where love reigned. I analyze all from a distance, coldly now, and I marvel at how each contributed to shape me into who I am and to define the personal milestones I achieved.
In the fullness of my life as I reflect on its entirety, I find peace. But significantly, many of these souvenirs serve me to underscore how the hardships of yesteryear pale in comparison to the ghosts I face today. With time slowly fading away, I scramble to find the last few pieces of my puzzle and struggle to fit them together, to complete the painted canvas that sheds a positive light on the self-image of my existence. I endeavor to leave an imprint, anything of value to mark my path, but I also question where I am along this endless road.
The big earthquake in Japan, the tsunami that ensued, and the subsequent meltdown of the atomic energy plant at Fukushima alarmed me in early 2011. I mourned the victims and felt deeply for that distant country’s toll. I lost sleep over a nuclear disaster that could devastate my family too, but more, over my grandchildren’s potential plight. They’ll have to deal with the cataclysm long after I’m gone.
I realize now how simple my life unfolded when the safety of my water and the quality of my food was never in question. All I needed to sleep soundly in my youth was the fair opportunity to raise my family. As John Wayne proposed on film, all I wanted and found was an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage.
My work bought me a roof over our head and a home for my children, food on our table, and the opportunity to enable open and effective–if often loud for outsiders–communication among us in the weaving of the fiber that makes up our family today. With my brood I shared the dinner-table nightly. I managed to clothe them and to find the energy after work to talk and laugh, to educate them, and to straighten them up when the need arose–perhaps not too long on temper and rather short on tolerance for repeated misdemeanors, but always with the best of intentions at heart. I fostered principles and lasting values in them. I strived to empower them for living healthy and fit, honest and prepared; ultimately to become productive members of society and to carry on as I fade behind.
Today, I find myself wondering about tomorrow and how many tomorrows still remain. I question the relevance of arguments over matters I cannot change. I learned to accept instead of defend against other points of view. And in this newly found acceptance, I feel wiser. Undoubtedly, my new patterns of thought are a by-product of the calendar; a reflection of the complete awareness of my presence.