As I ponder quietly observing another New Year push the past year into history, I find myself more deeply aware of the profound truths buried in all the clichés about the fleeting quality of time and the transitory nature of youth.
It staggers my mind to realize I’m over 70, that none of my children are children anymore, and that, like it or not, I am slowing down and moving toward an unknown but inevitable expiration date.
I’m not nearly at the top of wisdom’s mountain, but I am high enough to be able to look back at the places I’ve been (metaphorically) and marvel at the complete unpredictability of my life. I never could have anticipated most of the major highlights of my relationships or my career. And, as I look the other way toward an equally unpredictable future, I find myself a bit anxious, but also enthused about the journey ahead and the new crossroads I will face.
I am learning not to feel guilty about occasionally indulging uninvited bouts of nostalgia and an accompanying sense of sadness. I’ve come to realize these feelings are not a foreboding glimpse of what’s ahead, but an emphatic confirmation of the good life I’ve lived. They also provide unequivocal affirmation that the new roads will take me to new places and subject me to new experiences that will merit similar nostalgia and sadness when I’m 80.
Perhaps I’ve been lucky to have such a good life so far, but moving into the next phase of my life I don’t intend to depend on luck. It’s my job to be sure I’m living a happy and worthy life.
If I stay true to the philosophy “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” I cannot fail.
I believe gratitude and enthusiasm are the key to happiness and I really, really intend to be happy not only for myself but those who love me.
Happy New Year.