My Life is Like a River

Retirement can bring joy in rediscovering old pass-times, or an opportunity to discover new ones.

River picture
Candorville, a syndicated newspaper comic strip, features young Black and Latino characters living in the inner city. Sometimes conversations between Lemont Brown and his long-time friend, Susan Garcia, take place on the roof of a building.

In a recent strip he looks over the edge and says, “When I retire someday I’ll be too old to do all the things I love to do.” She replies, “When I retire someday, I’ll have time to find new things to love.”

Well, I haven’t exactly retired yet, although I am going to be 80 years old this June and each day I am a little less able to do many of the things I used to enjoy. However, new things to enjoy happen all the time.

In large part that is because I am blessed to be in a retirement community where many of my needs are met by others, allowing me time to continue writing and planning videos of guided imagery.

For example, I’ve been asked to be the co-editor of the Villa Voice, our quarterly newsletter, and enjoy finding items we can include, such as Age is Better, a poem I read recently in an obituary of Rod McKuen. Here are the beginning stanzas.

I have been young.
………………..A fresh faced sprout,
With agile legs, a muscled arm and smile
To charm the world I went through
……….in a rush to get a little older, sooner.

Catching my reflection while passing past
………………………..a looking glass not long ago
I discovered I was older, even old. There was
no sudden melancholy or regret, and yet
Some sadness in the wonder that it happened
………………………………….while I wasn’t watching,

No pause to proudly ply the autumn into winter
…………………………………………………………..process.

Imagine.
Nothing changed.
I run as fast. I think a little faster and yet forget
at times what I went after there as I left here to
get it. This while crossing half a room
………………………………………….not half a lifetime.

So I’ve been young and I’ve been old and have
………..determined old is better.

As the title of the post says, my life is like a river, moving from year to year and taking me along with it. I’ve enjoyed (I AM enjoying) the scenery along the way. But I’ve come to old age somewhat the way McKuen had, not noticing when it happened.

I took the picture above on a tributary of the Amazon several years ago. Two years later we went down the Seine from Paris to Normandy and in April I will ride the Douro River in Portugal.

Each trip, each day, brings me to new places, new experiences. I remind myself that — as I had often told my clients — life is not the same from day to day. Why should I assume I must be the same person (the same age) today that I was yesterday?

There is always a new view right around the bend in the river.

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