I’ll be 70 years old soon. It feels like a big deal: scary as the awareness of time passing pushes into consciousness. I’m no longer in the second half of life: I’m in the last 20% of my life. My brother’s death this past summer—quick and unexpected–made the uncertainty of life palpable. For a while now I’ve reflected on my life from the edge of old age.
I’ve had successes and disappointments and many peak experiences. I’ve sought to live creatively and to feel alive. I’ve pondered my values and purpose in life often and have mostly lived true to them. When forced to choose, I’ve taken values and quality experiences over money. I’ve learned how to renew myself and my life intentionally. My biggest work success was leading organizational transformation and experiencing a grand awakening of my own.
Marrying Melanie was the best decision of my life. We live in sync with one another and I learn so much from her. We support one anther’s journey in life and sacrifice for each other. We learned long ago that love is a verb and we are active in our love for one another. I’ve had a few true friends and understand that family extends beyond blood.
My darkest time was a fall into the abyss of alcoholism as a young man—a place of despair where alcohol took my soul. My greatest personal triumph is my continued sobriety (managing a chronic illness) that now exceeds 41 years (knock on wood). I would say I am resilient, always move toward greater growth and learned long ago to stand alone when my values conflict with the crowd, which they did often in the corporate environment. I can also be cranky, impatient, obsessive and spend too much time fretting about stuff.
The older I get and the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know and how insignificant I and we are in the vast cosmos. I don’t know if God is real or if there is consciousness after death. I may find out when death arrives for me. The best preparation for whatever lies beyond death is to live a life of passion and creativity.
Sorrow accompanies me and grows as I age. Endings and losses increase. Tears come quicker. I’ve kept the awareness of death close since my 40’s. The consciousness of my mortality has helped me cut through the superfluous when I make difficult decisions. The awareness of death makes life more passionate. Now, as time grows shorter, my desire to experience life and feel the love that surrounds me grow even more intense.
Thinking about the past is often a bummer. Thinking about the distant future has diminished value. I find it best to live in the here and now (hard to do) and find the most meaning I can each day. More and more the natural world is my source of peace.
I feel grateful for being alive and for living in a nation where I am free to engage with my destiny.
The reflections will shift my inner landscape a bit but won’t change much externally. I am healthy and fit. I plan to live in the future as I’ve lived in the past. As my brother did, I will leap into the future and live fully. As my father did, I hope I will then die a noble and courageous death.
These are my intentions.