Pardon Me While I Ramble

I’m a busy guy.  I manage two writing centers at a community college in San Antonio, Texas, USA.  That takes fifty hours per week.  My wife has a business that I help with.  I take care of her purchasing, public relations, and I occasionally assist her with sales.  On top of all that, I write, make art, and engage in my own entrepreneurial activities.

As you can see, I do a lot.  Too much, really. 

I’m getting older.  When I look in the mirror, I see clear changes in my face and body.  Unfortunately, my wife is a picture person, meaning that she likes to frame and hang photos of us and other family members in all sorts of places.  As a result, there are younger versions of me everywhere.  On our fridge, held down to the metal surface by a magnet I purchased as a souvenir during a trip to Portugal, there’s a photo of me in my football uniform during my high school years.  And on our antique chest of drawers, there’s a framed pic of me in college.  In that one, my hair is fuller and redder.  Today, my coif is much less prodigious and mostly salt-and-pepper (more salt than pepper) gray.  There’s also a youthful confidence that I see less of these days.  It’s in the smile and around the eyes.

It’s odd, this thing called time.  When I was younger—when I was the person I see in those old photos—it seems that I did more but suffered less while doing it.  I’m certain I had less free time than I have even today, but I felt freer.  I felt less encumbered than I do now.

I guess I’m a different person now than I used to be.  Actually, there’s no guessing about it.  I am different now.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the word “retirement” more than I used to.  Writing that last sentence reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend not long ago.  He said that people retire from work, but they shouldn’t retire from life.  He’s right about that. 

The following thought just suddenly popped into my mind:  The person who created money was an evil person indeed. 

Of course, money makes the world go around.  That’s the realist in me speaking.

Maybe I was less of a realist when I was younger?  I need to think about this question.

My whole life has been spent in the effort of trying to “understand” things.  Perhaps this was a mistake?  I need to think about this question too.

There are always lots of questions to think about.

I’m finding myself more and more occupied with the task of trying to reconcile the young version of Troy with the Troy I now am.  That’s likely a fool’s errand.

If you’re still here, reading this, and you’ve made it all the way to the end, I applaud your perseverance.  Give yourself a big hand. 


26 thoughts on “Pardon Me While I Ramble

  1. As a person who happily plans to spend my life trying to understand as many things as I can, reading this made me think once again.

    1. Hi. Thanks for the comment. I guess I’m wondering if all things CAN be understood. Perhaps some things will and should always remain a mystery. What do you think?

      1. I do not know whether its truly beneficial for us to not understand everything. But I know for sure that this lifetime is not enough to understand everything. So, its better to give up on some inexplicable things for mental peace.

  2. I too, can relate to what you have to say. My husband and I both were looking in the mirror. I looked at the grey that seems to be covering all of my hair, and the neglect I have given it due to this hectic lifestyle schedule of mine, one I put on myself, trying to be someone, finally in my life. Age snuck up on me, and my husband said, ” Honey, you have to realize you’re not 25 anymore.” At first I thought it was rude, because he was confirming the grey and age I was complaining about. But, I would like to think with age, I have become more patient. My OCD still kills me though. I can’t seem to commit to my writing until everything is just so in my house. I appreciate that there are others like you out there who are willing to share the fact that no matter how old we get, life isn’t stopping, and although the caos kills us at times, we would be quite bored if we stopped.

    1. Thanks for this wonderful comment. I think we have very similar life situations. Are you American? I ask because we Americans are taught that none of us have to slow down even as we age. It’s almost as if they’re subliminally suggesting that there is something wrong with slowing down. We are taught from a very early age to drive ourselves relentlessly. (This is sometime referred to as the protestant work ethic.) I want to say again. I loved your comment and related to it very strongly.

      1. Yes, I am American. My lifestyle doesn’t allow me to slow down. At a younger age, I raised my kids and did the sports thing, house cleaning, sleep overs, working. Now, I thought I could slow down enough to do my own thing, but then there were grandkids, and grown kids that still need mommy. I try to produce on my site, and I try to write daily but sometimes, People forget, (kids) I have about 20 years on them so I get a little tired. But, my oldest daughter for one, has this work ethic, and I don’t believe she sleeps more than 3 to 4 hrs a night and she is up doing it all over again. Thank you for responding to me.

  3. I gave myself a big hand:). I was 76 in January and have been experiencing some of the same things you have….probably for the first time. I had a long Skype with my daughter this past weekend, when we discussed this very subject. We have decided to both think about what we would want to do if we were given six months to live. We will discuss this next weekend…(Christie in the States and I am in London). Thank you – Janet 🙂

    1. Hi, Janet. I’ll give you the opportunity to practice for the conversation you’ll have with your daughter. What would you do if discovered that you have only a short time to live? Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. wow. this was great to read. I have been considering aging a lot lately too. it seems that in our aging we give a lot of consideration to what’s been lost, often to the detriment of appreciating what’s been gained. with age (sometimes) comes wisdom and more patience. with wisdom (sometimes) comes an acceptance of realities that we dismiss in our youth. perhaps seeing the world in more of its reality is a blessing that comes with age. difficult to digest, but we’ve finally been given enough years and experience to prepare for the confrontation as it is instead of how we want it to be. in other words, age and experience allows us to better align ourselves with reality. in retirement, we are more free. free to do for ourselves and others in ways we couldn’t when we were immersed in the grind. there’s more time in retirement to explore and spend time with friends. and all those things can be seen as blessings that come with the freedom of time that comes with aging (especially retirement). in our aging, there becomes the opportunity for our lives to finally become less about “me” and a bit more about “we”. just some thoughts. thank you for the pleasant read, Troy.

    1. Thank you so much for this wonderful comment. I’d actually like to quote you:

      “it seems that in our aging we give a lot of consideration to what’s been lost, often to the detriment of appreciating what’s been gained.”

      I think your above sentence is one of the wisest things I’ve read recently. You ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. We’ve been training to see ageing as loss, but it’s equally about gain. Thank you so much reminding us about this and for giving us much to think about (and feel good about).

      1. Thanks so much for the link. I’ll read your post as soon as I get caught up on responding to these comments. I look forward to reading your piece. It is an interesting coincidence!

  5. Hi Troy,

    There’s nothing foolish about this wonderful sharing that I’ve just felt very priviliged to read. I think it reveals an understanding and openness that few may have.

    I must admit that I’m glad I don’t have many photos around–I’ve always been that way. Yes, photos of my motorcycle trips were very nice, but there’s very few photos of this “guy” in them. It’s not out of vanity that I don’t have them. I fall into the camp with Eckhart Tolle, when he wrote in (The Power of Now) that he didn’t have much use for the past. I’ve searched and searched for the that guy named “Art” that apparently last in “time.” Can’t find him. Everything is changing, but the eternal witness.

    Thanks again for sharing. Hope I didn’t offer too much. I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

    1. Thanks so much, Art, for another one of your insightful responses. I’ve long had this weird idea. Perhaps I haven’t been only one person all these years. Perhaps I’ve been metaphorically “dying” as each old Troy becomes irrelevant and am reborn a new person. (I’ve read about how our cells die over time and are totally replaced after a number of years.) When all those cells die and are replaced, don’t we become, in effect, entirely new people? I don’t look like I used to or think like I used to or value the same sort of things I once did. Does that mean the old Troy is long gone?

  6. What an interesting post, Troy! I’d say that both the effort to understand things and the effort to reconcile with our younger selves is the work of synthesis. And from what I understand from social scientist Arthur Brooks, synthesis is exactly what our older brains do so well. So, it seems you are doing exactly what you should be doing!

    1. Hi, Wynne. I’ll need to read this Arthur Brooks. Can you recommend one of his book in particular? His ideas sound like the sort I need to spend some time thinking about. I hope you are doing well. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    1. I hear you, Fred, and I agree. If I could, I’d love to go back to a younger time. Of course, I’d probably end up being the same goofball and making the same mistakes all over again. Thanks, Fred. It’s always a delight.

  7. It is not a fool’s errand brother but an attempt to picture your long journey. I bet it is not full of work but some lovely stress too. I believe your work-life is even amazing. No one retires, enjoy the thing you do (I am not talking about work alone) and I am sure still there is a kid hidden in your heart.

      1. Physically, age can be the pits, but I’m grateful for the experience because along with it come so many gifts. Age brings wisdom, time for reflection, and life review, time to heal relationships and correct mistakes, time to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a life of BEING rather than of DOING. Oh—and my favorite—extra time to continue my journey on the spiritual path. The body may go south, but the soul can soar inward and find the sense of peace that seems so elusive when we are young and can’t sit still long enough to find it. Thank you for a thought-provoking and wonderful post.

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