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Location: Midwest, United States

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Taking Stock

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.

* * *


Blogger lu said...

And so it is. We live, we do our best, some of us judge ourselvse more than others would consider judging us.
All we can do is live.
or not.
but living hurts others less regardless of how we do it.

Thu Dec 03, 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kass said...

Wow - that was brutal. But I loved it. Great pics - both. What do we do with all this? This life stuff? Like you and Popeye, I also Yam what I yam. Thanks for taking me along through your blogging. Great ride. More to come I hope. Sounded kind of final, but I guess just an end of the year evaluation?

Thu Dec 03, 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

We tend to be harder on ourselves than on anyone else, but what I see from your words is someone who has lived a full life, taken chances and sometimes paid the price. But all in all, a full life and one worth the rememberings.

Fri Dec 04, 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

I'm envious.

Fri Dec 04, 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking stock does hurt, it's part of growing. Do you remember the growing pains you had as a child? My mother used to rub my legs for me when my legs ached. I'm still growing but now I'm learning to mother myself. It's kinda cool.

Fri Dec 04, 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I scrolled through your words, I was thinking not only what great writing it was but how awesome it is that you have really lived your life. Adjectives and judgments aside, you have LIVED. Then I got to the end and was absolutely floored by the last lines. Not the conclusion I would have reached after hearing the story. Perception is everything, I suppose.

Thanks for the post!

Fri Dec 04, 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

And so it is. We live, we die, we may contrive...

Better to throw the shoes out for the rips and tears, the worn sole and the frayed laces, than because they languished in the back of a closet...

Fri Dec 04, 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

The last bit is quite hard to imagine, actually.

I'm never sure that regrets are useful, if that's where stock-taking brings you.But I do see great vakue is regularly stopping to remember the rich life you've lived.

Fri Dec 04, 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger June Calender said...

You write beautifully and I believe with great honesty. This is a wonderful piece. Many will and should envy your engagement in life; engagement is fraught with highs and lows but it's truly living. Few of us are as good as the best; but probably fewer can say they've lived better than many. That is accomplishment. This is who you are, what more could or should anyone ask of himself?

Fri Dec 04, 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Kudos to the photographer.. GREAT shot!

The best thing about being self aware and looking back? Is looking forward to ALL the rest life holds for us~

Sat Dec 05, 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous joanne said...

i've done far worse than the best of us...

me too

Sat Dec 05, 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger RNSANE said...

At sixty-five, I, too, have traveled far and wide, made my share of mistakes and learned a few hard lessons. I don't know that I would change much. I ache all over and have to deal with the remainder of my life - growing old isn't easy. I've got great memories, three terrific sons, and not much money!

Sat Dec 05, 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have lived. LIVED. Many don't -- they simply exist. Don't be so hard on yourself, my wise friend. You take great pains to comfort others -- comfort yourself. The fact that you've loved so, with open arms -- is cause for celebration. .......

Sun Dec 06, 02:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even with your inventory and taking stock, by all accounts, you have lived a life that was full and rich in love and loss.

Life is full of love and loss, no?

Sun Dec 06, 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a pleasure to know you, Jonas. I am honoured to read this beautiful piece of writing.It is honest and heartfelt. You have truly lived and I, for one, am glad.

Mon Dec 07, 04:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Oh, my! I disappear for a few days (a bit under the weather), and find these dear and kindly all!

Thank you for your gracious thoughts. You made me smile. A few brief thoughtlings:

No, Kass, there is nothing "final" in my life (at least not yet).

Thank you for dropping by, Ms. June and RNSANE! I feel honored.

And there's the matter of "pain". I am touched by your concerns, your defenses and exhortations. But, consider this: "Pain" does not necessarily bespeak of anguish. The word "pain" covers a wide swath of emotional terrain. Some pain is healing. Some poignant. Some even ecstatic (given the right circumstances). Pain isn't black or white, either/or. I rather prefer using words that offer a great range of meaning because I'm well aware that the emotions that swirl within me traverse the same terrain.

Tue Dec 08, 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger rebecca said...

Wow. Loved it in all its rawness and truth. Yet, it is the road all of us take, no? Youth thrusts us blindly into life covering the truths that we should see; yet, it is the passage of time that peels away the layers and shows us what we had failed to see or do all along. It is a road all of us takes. I would not trade my younger years for where I am now. Never. I've earned it and I love it. Peace of mind, truth, serenity reigns ... those very things I seeked all along yet found so hard to attain.

Wed Dec 16, 09:11:00 AM  

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