Saturday, July 20, 2013

Outliving ...

Today marks the half century mark of my life.  I started drafting this post a few months after my forty-ninth birthday - I wanted to have time to reflect, refine my thoughts, and not let this post be a last minute thrown together affair.

When I think of fifty, I think of my Dad.  He was fifty when he died.  My Dad died in a private airplane crash.  He was the pilot and was flying alone.  I suspect he may have had a heart attack or stroke.  In fifteen days, on August 3, a Saturday, I will outlive my Dad.  Is this fact important?  Is it pertinent to my life?  Why do I feel strange when my thoughts go there?

I have outlived other people in my family.  On October 10, 1987, a Saturday as well, I outlived my brother, Mark, who died in a truck accident somewhere in Mexico.  I didn't put much thought into that fact.  I didn't have a blog ... not sure blogs existed yet ... so my feeling about outliving my brother's time on this Earth were never recorded.  I clearly remember not thinking much about it at all, actually.

But matching my Dad's time ... I have thought about that.  I've thought about it for a few years as I saw fifty approaching in the distance.

Dad and I were not close.  I think my eating habits irritated him quite a bit.  I remember him saying at the dinner table once that I was weird.   Not exactly what a teen wants to hear.  By the time I started eating 'normal' food the damage between Dad and I was pretty much done.  I did my best to avoid him.  When Mark died, we were returning from viewing the body just he and I, when he turned to me and said it was "up to you now."  I sensed an undertone of disappointment in his voice.  I never knew what he expected of me.  He died fifteen months later.

All of this happened so many years ago.  I've been thinking about fifty for ... years ... and in those years my attitude has changed.  After the Wife and I started traveling and I started hiking, my thoughts were often full of regret.  Why hadn't I done all of this earlier in my life?  When I started this post it quickly turned towards regrets.  But as I've edited it and re-edited it, I've realized the regret I've felt in the past is starting to fade.  Since I walked the Camino, and I decided to be more positive, I have changed ... changed ever so slowly ... and the regrets I once stewed over are fading into the past.  I have noticed this over just the last year since I started this post.

So, how do I feel about outliving my Dad?  My feelings have changed from a sense of impending doom to a hope for my future.  One realizes as you grow older, ages that seemed so old to your younger self, are no longer considered old.  Fifty?  That ain't old at all.  I have many years yet to fill.  So, am I happy to have outlived my Dad?  No.  My feelings towards him have softened over the years.  It's not a time to gloat that his weird, disappointment of a son made it further in this race than he did.  It's a time to cherish the good times, learn from the bad, and to look forward to all the things to come.  Fifty ... Fifty is just another number.  No regrets.

4 comments:

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I think you kick butt at living with a positive attitude and embracing adventure, and now I know more about you and your dad, I'm extra impressed :) I can't wait to see what you do next :)

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  2. Hey dear nephew - I don't think I've told you in a long time how much I enjoy your posts - I live through your adventures! I especially liked this post on reflection and turning 50 - touched my heart! BTW - a belated happy birthday - you are right 50 isn't so old! Aunt S.

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    1. Aunt S: Thank you! I'm glad you liked the post. So far 50 is fitting quite well.

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