My dinner Saturday night came with three fortune cookies, all apt for looking back at the year since I retired.
I did take the chance to leave full-time work and strike out on the vagabond trail with my little trailer. I’ve not been daring enough to do any boondocking on my own, so that’s a goal for the next year. That’s one chance I’ll be learning to take. I’m sure there are more ahead, I just can’t name them yet. Onward and upward!
I originally thought endurance referred to the almost constant motion of being a vagabond but then the word persistence made me realize this fortune is all about my left hand. It’s been 7 weeks since the cast came off and I am still far from making the fist that is my goal, but I do see bits of progress, measured in tiny degrees of motion and being able to pick up a plate one week that I couldn’t lift the week before.
A few years ago, I went through a series of exercises, one of which was to come up with a kind of personal mission statement. Mine wasn’t brilliant or far-reaching, but it said what I wanted to say. Sharing beauty through photos the last year has been one of the most meaningful and rewarding things I’ve done. When someone tells me that photo or that post moved them, I know I’m doing what I wanted to do when I created the mission mantra below.
Thank you for reading and for following my journey, I appreciate each of you and every comment and email.
Today’s quotation is unrelated to the above topic, but my family will know why I picked this quote for today. It’s been 10 years, and still the wave came today.
In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out. Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.