How do you measure and evaluate your life? Do you set milestones or look back and acknowledge them? Do you count the years? Do you count successes or failures? Perhaps you count the blessings, hopefully, of children or loved ones. I’ve judged my life by some of these factors over the decades. I don’t know whether that is good or bad. It just is.
Take the question of age, for example. As a young person, I could not believe I would live to see the 21st Century. My family history, what I knew of it, and how my nuclear family lived made me certain I had better accomplish all I could before the year 2000 if I was to be remembered as anything other than a statistic or a weird uncle.
As the decades progressed and things changed, I changed. Still, there was that curtain hanging out there waiting for me. It would be the one that heralded the end of one existence and the beginning of what, if anything, lay beyond. Well, it’s the twenty-second year of the 21st Century, and I’m still kicking.
Not only do I look back, I remember the wins, losses, and stupid moves of those two extra decades of my life. Also, I still think there are milestones and goals I may live to see if I play my cards right.
The latest milestone in my saga took place this past weekend. My eldest grandson got married. Yes, the guy that wasn’t certain he’d live long enough to have grandkids witnessed one marry and start the journey I’ve watched his mother and aunt travel since they found the loves of their lives.1
Now, the question is, what does whatever future I have left hold? Certainly, it will hold challenges. I’ve survived when others might not, but at a price. Yes, when every new doctor you see looks over your records and says, “My! You certainly have an interesting medical history,” it is confirmation you’re a survivor. Of course, it may also confirm some stupid mistakes you made or chances you took in years past.
I am only here today, writing this piece, because of God’s grace and good doctors. In fact, I just started a cardiac rehab program that will hopefully keep me going long enough to see more milestones, such as last weekend. Yes, the advances in medicine over the last few decades are one reason I’m still here to write this, but they are not the only reason.
Working hard, focusing on success, and learning from the mistakes of others made me resilient. I also believe there are other reasons. I have been blessed to be surrounded by friends and colleagues who challenged me, supported me, and were there when I needed them. Even those I have not seen for years and only see now on social media have helped me grow and stay mentally strong.
With the love and support I have around me, I plan to keep on keeping on until that final curtain drops. Some of you are in the same boat, and some have to bail harder than I am. However, we can finish our journeys with the help of faith, perseverance, and loved ones. As I wrote in Keep Knocking or implied, at least, you don’t quit until the race is done.
1 Sunrise the morning after the wedding. If you believe in signs, I’d think this was good for the kids and their future. I’m praying they and the rest of us have many beautiful sunrises to witness in the coming years.
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