This was a raw night. The dark too cold and damp for comfort. Too few Christmas lights to pierce the darkness and light my way.
I felt compelled to lace up my walkin’ shoes, don my mittens and head out the door. And so I did. Limping all the way.
And I took stock:
I’m a mere shadow of my former self. I truly am. There was a time (not ALL that long ago) when I could run a marathon. Nowadays?
I barely hobble. The cartilage in my knees is history. The cartilage in my hip is toast. I USED to run. Today? I limp...slowly...painfully.
My arteries are calcified. My hair silvered, my skin creased and blemished from basking far too long in the sun. My bruises won’t heal and I’m slowly goin’ deaf and blind.
I wander. Scattered snowflakes tickle outstretched tongue.
I am what I am. I am who I am. I’ve tasted the salt in the waters of the Atlantic, the Pacific, North Sea, Baltic and Caribbean. I’ve inhaled the dust of plowed fields, crumbled mountains and desert dunes. I’ve roasted under a blazing sun, been pummeled by hail, soaked by rain and tossed about by roaring winds. I’ve been carried into the deep blue by riptides. Gone eyeball-to-eyeball with wild things. Witnessed a tornado. Combed through the detritus of a hurricane.
I’ve crashed my body into immobile objects. Been beaten, broken (more than once...not enough to kill). I’ve laughed so much my ribs ached more than any fracture. I’ve banged on drums till fingers bled. Drank myself to stupor. Been dumbstruck, awestruck, flummoxed and gob smacked.
I restored a few aquifers. Gave peace of mind to some. Grievously wounded others.
I’ve plunged off sides of mountains on slats called skis. Road far on two wheels. Flew even farther on misshapen wings. I’ve competed on the hardest of hard courts, in tennis, in business and life. I’ve prayed. I’ve cursed. I’ve sweat and bled and spilled sperm aplenty.
I never sold my soul for silver, but managed to tarnish it beyond all recognition nonetheless.
And by God, I’ve loved. With all my heart. With every fiber of my being (and I got a whole lot o’ scars and mutated marrow to show for all that...still, I'd do it all again).
I wish I could claim I did my best. I know I didn’t. I’ve lived better than some (quite a few, actually, if one considers ALL of humanity).
But I’ve done far worse than the best among us.
This “taking stock” business hurts.
Quite a bit, actually.
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