Friday, September 23, 2016

In the Autumn of My Life....


That was the title of a song I loved as a teenager back in 1968. The lyrics have much more meaning for me now that they did then.

When we're young, most of us look to the future with excitement, anticipation--but as we grow older, most of us find ourselves looking back. We remember our childhoods, people and pets who are no longer with us...places that hold fond memories...happy times. 




Lately, I've been thinking about things I once did that I can no longer do--no, not running a decathlon. I couldn't do that at my peak. No, the things I'm thinking about are mostly very personal things, like spending Sunday afternoons at the Long John Silver's in my old neighborhood, eating lunch with all of my notes and manuscript pages on the table by the window, working as I ate. I think about listening to Casey Kasem on the radio, getting a bit teary-eyed at some of the stories behind his famous long distance dedications. I think about the restaurants I loved that have closed. The mall that was once a favorite haunt is now being torn down.










As we get older, many of us look back, only to see the images in our rearview mirror fading away. Sometimes, we wish we could turn back the clock. We wish things could be the way they used to be...but nothing ever stays the same. We aren't the same. Not much we can do about that.

But as much as I miss the loved ones who are no longer with us, as much as I miss the places that no longer exist and the things I can no longer do, lessons have been learned. Important ones. The people and places I've lost have made me see what really matters. In the autumn of my life, I've found a contentment I never knew before. Loss has taught me what really matters.





None of us is promised tomorrow. Sometimes, we don't see that until we lose what's most precious to us. I have a deep appreciation for the life I have now. I no longer feel a need for achievement, for seeing the world. Being home, watching a movie with Collin, or going out for lunch...these are the things that make me happy.

My only regret is that it took me so long to realize it.

18 comments:

  1. I agree Norma, to be honest I would be happy if I never had to get on a plane again. I've visited many places around the world but now I'm happy to explore all that WA has to offer. The simple pleasures now are the best, and as you say each day is a bonus.

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    1. I used to love to fly, but it's not fun anymore. Collin is still young enough to want to see the world, but the only traveling we'll be doing in the forseeable future is (maybe) trips to San Diego for Comic-Con and LA to go to the Universal Studios theme park. (His new employer offers their people discounted tickets for both Universal and Disney.)

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  2. Beautifully written. I enjoyed every word. Thank you for writing it and sharing it with us. Sounds cheesy but I mean it.

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    1. Thank you, Ivy! I've been in a cheesy mood lately.

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  3. Lovely sentiment about being content and living in the moment!

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    1. Usually, but not always, anyone who's gone through a traumatic experience--a loss, a life-threatening illness, etc.--comes through it with a deeper appreciation of life an what really matters.

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  4. Possibly you've nailed what contentment should be, but often is not, Norma.
    How I wish I could go back in time and do a few things over. Not sure I'd get them right, but I did do a few things right and wouldn't change them.
    I've had the same sort of revelation as you, Norma. Trying to enjoy all that I have. That's the secret to life, I think. And not worry about the stupid stuff. Those things don't matter. It's what you have, who you have to love and love you back.

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    1. We start out wanting recognition, success, even fame. Sometimes we achieve those goals, sometimes not. Then, as we get older, we see those things aren't all that important.

      I remember once, in the summer of '89, going from Collin's school picnic at Six Flags to the airport to get a flight to Washington DC to attend the ABA (American Booksellers Association) convention. He didn't want me to go. Looking back, I wish I'd skipped the convention and spent the whole day with him. I just had my priorities on backwards.

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  5. Your post today is is something I have been thinking about for a long time. Especially things being left unsaid.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I have a lot of regrets in that department, Gayle.

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    1. It's been said that wisdom comes with age. Mine must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and was late in arriving!

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  7. Lately, I've been regretting I didn't figure out what's important sooner. This post is a wonderful reminder to get over myself and celebrate now. Thanks, Norma!

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    1. Life's too short. We never know what day might be our last, and it would be sad to have missed the moments that really matter.

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  8. Isn't it a shame that only experience and time can give us the wisdom to know we should enjoy what we have? You've hit on just what I've been feeling the past few years!

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    1. It is, indeed! For most of us, only when we start to look at our lives through the rearview mirror do we realize how much we've missed.

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  9. definitely. good post, norma. at my computer until i cant handle it this morning.

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