Looking back to look ahead
|1950 - Fifth Grade class photo|
These are some of the questions I’ve been struggling with in recent weeks. I don’t have answers yet, but I expect they will eventually make themselves known. I also expect the answer to each of them will be yes and no, and I will come away from this enterprise with a better understanding of myself, both then and now.
The eighth decade began with an intense desire to go back and reconnect with the past, through family, friends, old classmates, and acquaintances. Each connection would trigger a new memory and/or bring a fleeting flush of excitement over hearing a voice or seeing a face after 50 years or more. It appears to be ending with the same desire for retrospection, but with a different focus. Now the goal is to reach a deeper understanding of the life I’ve lived, its purpose and meaning, to me and to my family and friends. I seek an honest, unvarnished understanding of myself, one I can accept and embrace with the hope it will enhance the quality of my remaining years.
In spite of all the attention to the past, my primary concern is the quality of the remaining years of my life. I want them to be filled with the same meaning and purpose as those that came before. Artists do not retire. They may rest a bit, and move a little slower, and perhaps walk away from the commercial community, but the words, the art, and the music never cease. I believe I have something worthwhile to contribute to my family, friends, and community, how ever modest it may be. It’s complicated, but I believe an honest understanding of my past is critical to the work I have yet to do.