I am definitely well into the second half of my life at this time. Being in this place causes occasional musings about mortality, evaluation of past accomplishments and wonderings about what still needs to be done before the hourglass drops its last grain of sand so to speak. I am not going to reveal my age, but it is sufficient to say that I look much younger than I am. This is not due to any skin care product or particularly healthy living. On the contrary, I don’t put much of anything on my face at all and my dietary habits have actually been criticized. My age defying appearance could be chalked up to genes and luck, but I like to think it is due to the grace of God and my youthful outlook.
I have had a full life. I have several children, been to many places, participated in a large variety of activities, spent time with many lovely people and have had a plethora of interesting experiences. If I died tomorrow I would be satisfied with the canvas of what my life has been. I have lived with the mentality of putting my whole self into my endeavors, purposes and those around me. I have stayed true to the spirit of who I am regardless of setbacks.
During a low point in my life a few years ago I began to think that perhaps my turn was over, that I was getting older and needed to step onto the sidelines and let the rest of my time here ebb quietly outside of the mainstream. But at that juncture, something within me rose up and insisted that I was not done yet; that I would never be done while I still had breath. I now believe that life is a continuing journey that needs to be walked actively and passionately with the same spirit and goals until the very end. I must fill it with as much impact as I am able until then.
I recently installed one of those digital photo frames. It is a random slide show of two thousand moments in my life that are captured on film. It makes me happy to walk through the room that holds the frame to glimpse a piece of the life I have lived thus far. Sometimes one of those pictures will cause me to reflect on the background surrounding that moment. Some of these memories are joyful, others remind me that I was smiling through unseen tears. But the sadness that I endured shows me that I have persevered through difficulties to give me the edge I need to preserve my joyful spark. Perhaps the intense need for keeping that spark and the sense of continuing purpose is what keeps my attitude and countenance youthful. I insist on being positive and carrying on with verve.
I will close with an excerpt from Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Gentle Into The Goodnight” which speaks to living fully to the end.
“Do not gentle into that goodnight
Old age should burn and rave at the close of day
Rage rage against the dying light.”