Time passes. It’s not worse; it’s just different. For so much of my life, I wanted to create a legend, a legacy. I wanted to make a difference, in as big away as possible. Then, as time marched on, and I was living a journey that took me to a supposed destination – well, surprise! The journey was the destination, arrived at each and every moment of my existence. While I was looking for the Holy Grail, it turns out that the moments of searching were the Holy Grail. While I was looking for that grand plan to immortalize my simple little human body – which in truth is not a simple body but billions of cells doing things that make us unique – the answer I needed came to me one day in my seventies. While I was moping that youthful looks, vitality, strength, skiing, tennis, dancing until 3 seemed to be slipping out of the main picture, I began to realize it was not that all was gone, but all was changing.
When I was a child, I played marbles, or rode my scooter, or skates, then when I was a little older, I learned what girls were, and school and education; at 30-40 what I enjoyed was reading a good book, or sitting and watching a sunset, or discussing life with friends, or just fully enjoying the joy of friendship on a much deeper level than children seem to do. It’s not better, just different.
I now like to take hikes, go kayaking, watch a movie. And I realize that doing nothing is doing something, resting, allowing life to come to you. I love holding hands with my partner. I have a greater passion to help others. Not like when I was a young man. Then I wanted to save the world. But now there is satisfaction, while walking down State Street, in giving a homeless person a few dollars, or dog food to a lost dog, or a rain poncho to a worker outside in the rain. I even love making hot chocolate for my gardeners on cold days.
Yes, life is really still wonderful. What we need to appreciate are the differences [in the stages of life]. They can’t be compared. Think back to a polliwog who lives in water and eats veggies until he becomes a frog. Is the frog sad that he is not the youthful polliwog, or does he just continue onto the life journey he is now on? A lovely lady said to me one day, when I had brought her homeless dog some food a few days in a row, “You’re a nice man.” And I said, “To be honest, I do it for me.” And she smiled and said, “We are all cargo of this ship called earth, aren’t we?” “Yes,” I said, “We are just cargo, some more fortunate but nonetheless cargo.”
We can make life much easier is if we just embrace the journey as the destination. Love, Bernie (your cargo mate).