The other day I was driving home from some errands and thought of another topic for my blog. The ache in my recurring back problem reminded me that I'm getting old, which then set me off once again upon contemplation about why I keep stirring up trouble with my social and political crusading.
At that moment I thought about what my family and friends might say about me once I'm gone. Will the summary judgment of my life be a "toss off" "oh, that was Dearel, that was Dad, that was my husband; a hard ass to the very end!" That saddened me beyond all reason. But, when I asked myself if I could or would think or live my life any different I find it nearly impossible to imagine.
If I could just "mellow out", go with the flow, allow social and political events to just, right or wrong, unfold as they will, my life would be so much more comfortable and my psyche far more at rest. Well, I can't.
My problem is I think too much. There are those readers who have accused me of being "reactionary", responding to some event as if it offended me personally. While the former is false, the latter is certainly true. I don't believe I'm a reactionary because the term itself indicates one who reacts without thought, with an emotion not appropriate to the science of logic. That's just not true; I spend far too much time thinking on something before I write or speak about it. I think those closest to me will tell you that I'm a huge "contemplate your navel" kind of fella; I can be my own worst critic because I'm always undergoing these nearly epidemic sized bouts of self assessment.
So, today I've reached the grand old age of 66, heart and soul in constant turmoil, still swinging the ever present rusty sword at windmills near and far. I can recall a time when I considered the sum of 66 years to be one of decrepit uselessness, a time for sitting in rocking chairs, making sure I eat my fiber, rinse my dentures out each night before depositing them in the bedside water glass and waiting for the grim reaper to come.
And here I am; still have the vast majority of my teeth, the bowels working as well as a fella half my age, alert and leaning forward in my office chair, and as hungry for knowledge as when I was a freshman in college. If the grim reaper comes I'll give the bastard the fight of his life before I'll let him take me before I'm ready.
If there are any uncertainties they are those whom everyone chooses to chew on occasionally; the question of my mortality....why am I here, why am I STILL here when someone seemingly far more deserving has passed. Has my creator tasked me to accomplish some still unrealized goal He has set before me? That question becomes more relevant when I consider the miraculous cure from lung cancer.
Or perhaps there is some simpler lesson I am to learn....is He giving me more time to reform my soul? Am I to suddenly transform myself and march down and unselfishly serve chicken soup each night in a homeless shelter? Shall I join the Peace Corp and teach a remote African tribe the perils of drinking dirty water? Is there one more person I need to meet?
I have no answers to any of those questions. And if God wants me to change my ways he's going to have to be far more direct because he instilled in me the ambition to write, assigned me a modest ability to do so....and so I write about the things that matter most to me. If he wants me to write about something else he's going to have to give me a hint...cause I'm quickly running out of time.
So, here I am, 66 years old today...and without a damn good excuse to sit in a rocker and do nothing. I'm still a gladiator, ready to step out into the arena and face the lions. I might need a leg brace..or later a cane, but the will to fight still lives within me....and I guess I'll be no different until the grim reaper comes and I'm finally too damn weak to fight him off.
Let these thoughts be a celebration of my birthday....or serve as my own eulogy....they are as honest an assessment I can offer of myself so either one is perfectly okay with me.