The Road Goes Ever On

I’m 63 years old today. I started the day, of course, by going for a run. it was a lovely early summer morning, 19C and sunny. The neighbourhood streets I ran on were almost deserted. (Early on a Saturday morning in the suburbs is a great time to run.) I did a good 8K run at a brisk pace, enlivened by the morning air and a sense of wonder that I’ve actually made it to age 63.

Not that my life has been very different from that of most other middle-class Westerners. I haven’t had to live through the burden of grinding poverty, the horror of war, or the devastation wrought by tsunamis, tornadoes, or volcanic eruptions. I’ve been fortunate in that, simply because of the accidents of where and when I was born.

On the other hand, like everyone else who’s lasted 63 years on this earth, I’ve survived a variety of conditions, circumstances, and happenings. I made it through the hoopla and giddiness of being young in the 1960s, for example. I survived being run over by a truck six years ago. I’ve made it through two bouts of prostate cancer and the two series of radiation treatments that went with them. I’ve begun to sort out what it means to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Last but certainly not least, I have, though nominally an intelligent person, survived not a few periods of my life when I’ve simply been as dumb as a box of hair.

What have I learned? First, as the title of this post says, the road goes ever on. (Thank you, J.R.R. Tolkien, for that wonderful phrase.) It really is a journey, folks. The beginning and the end are pretty clearly defined, so it’s up to us to take the potentially empty middle and give it some purpose and meaning. Second, I’ve learned that there’s no point – and no value – in either whining or boasting. It’s not all about me, and the world really doesn’t owe me anything at all. Third, I’ve learned that there’s no reason to hurry. The road is there, for whatever time I’ve got left, so I might as well enjoy it while I can. Last of all – and perhaps most importantly – I’ve learned that I’m loved. That, for a variety of reasons, has been the most difficult lesson of all for me. I’m grateful that it’s happened at last.

I feel old. That’s not a bad thing at all. 63 is old. I’ve got the wounds, the scars, the memories, and the wisdom to prove it. They’re all reasons to celebrate.

Advertisements

19 comments

  1. Happy 63rd Birthday Alan! Great words of wisdom in your post.
    I wish you many years ahead, to enjoy the Love you are now receiving.
    I hope to be as ‘cool’ as you are when I am 63.

    1. Thank you, Staci. The truth is, though, that I have never have been cool and likely never will be. Warmth I’ve got, but coolth is beyond me. 🙂

  2. Happy birthday Alan!

    I’m happy if I still run when I reach 40. You are truly an inspiration!
    I don’t know if I ever would have the patience and commitment to recover that well as you have done surviving that horrible accident.

    All the best. And may you run for many years to come! (barefoot of course)

    //Martin “your humble blog reader and fan” Cronier

  3. Outstanding post. Lots of wisdom here. Though you may feel old now, I’d imagine you will look back at this post and think, “I was so young and knew so much less” ten years from now.

    1. Thanks, Tyler. I’d very much like to think that ten years from now I’ll know a little more – never mind think that 63 was “so young.” 🙂

  4. Happy birthday, Alan.
    You are living your life well judging by the lessons you draw from it. Thank you for sharing.
    Maybe one of these days I will learn I am loved too. This one is a tough one to learn.

    1. Thank you, Ewa, for your kind comments. Learning that one is loved is, I suspect, a hard lesson for many of us. I simply lucked out in getting to that understanding. I hope you’ll be as fortunate.

  5. Congratulations on making it 63 laps around the sun, Alan!

    That’s a nice piece you’ve written there. Enjoyed discovering something about who and why you are.

    Hope you have a great day, sire.

    Steve

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s