Painting by Anthony Noa
My mother lived to the age of ninety-three. She had siblings who surpassed the century mark. Despite being bedridden by multiple sclerosis for nearly fifty years, my dad made it to eighty-seven. I won’t even come close.
My life has exasperated legions of physicians. From an emotionally stressed youth, in which I developed teenaged bleeding ulcers, I moved through a hypertense career path, forty years long, that left me with a pharmacopeia of prescriptions at retirement. That was ten years ago, and my meds have only increased since then.
Through the decades of constant tension, interspersed with episodes of depression and anxiety, I carried too much weight, ate unwisely and smoked fiendishly. My only real exercise consisted of frequent dashes through airports. Those conditions, minus the business travel and stress, persist to this day. I’ve had open heart surgery twice. Due to a nasty post-op infection that destroyed my sternum, a perfect storm of ensuing maladies has disabled me.
Having said all that, my purpose here is to make clear that my life is a fortunate one. I thank God every day for the gifts I’ve received. My family is large, loving, and sustains me in every sense of that word. My career, stress notwithstanding, allowed me to achieve gratifying levels of personal fulfillment. My conscience is only lightly soiled, mostly by sins of pride, and my regrets are negligible. I’ve acclimated to sedentary pursuits that give me joy, writing this new poetry blog chief among them.
Photo at theflowersavenue.com
Contentment is a powerful and often misunderstood concept. A man of estimable insight and intellect, the moral philosopher Bernard Williams once wrote, “We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”
I have learned to stop passing and looking. I have found my violets and contentment, and I cherish them.
Whatever my future holds, for however long it holds, I intend to enjoy it.