The End, and, The Beginning

Well, here it is. The last day of my forties. I’m not really sure how I feel about that. Some kind of milestone? Maybe. Beginning of another chapter? Hopefully. One thing that I know from the 49 + years so far is that time waits for no one. It’s funny to look back and realize how fast it has flown. As I get older, that flight seems to get even faster. Worst part about that is, I don’t get to collect any frequent flier miles towards a free trip! LOL

A lot of good has happened. A lot of bad has happened. Basically, life, has happened. I’m sure anyone has their own rendition of the same. Different situations and experiences, obviously, but in the end, the same outline. Given the chance, there are things I would do differently – perhaps even change. My life hasn’t been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s been mine and I have learned to own it – taking the bad with the good.

I’m grateful for the opportunities to have helped people at their worst times and to continue to educate others to do the same. I never have sought out to make a “name” for myself. Some people say I have become a “name”, and that’s OK. I’ll always be good simply being the one behind the scenes, so to speak, but still making an impact – one professional at a time. I won’t sell a lot of books or be a marquee presenter that brings in large crowds at a conference, but the people that come to listen to me always get my best every single time. I see it as a privilege, and I’ll keep doing it as long as someone allows.

I miss home and I keep hoping that I’ll be back sooner than later. I miss my family and friends. Louisiana has not been totally unkind, but it has never been a part of me – which makes me (and others) wonder why I came back a second time. Things happen and decisions always have to be made in the hope I am better off. This was one of those decisions, and I am grateful that my current situation allows me to continue doing, me.

The beginning of this new decade is the first one in a while where I find myself single. Being on my own for almost four and a half years has allowed me to do things I never had. It’s also given me a lot of down time that has been detrimental to my outlook on life, and other people. I find that my cynical side has grown, leaving a sour taste in my mouth more than a few times. I do what I can to overcome it, and for the most part, I’ve done a pretty good job. It’s still a work in progress.

I don’t mind being alone, but feeling lonely is hard and it’s been the most difficult aspect to face. People comment on how much I travel and seem to always be on the go. One reason is because I truly like to travel, plain and simple. The other, is to keep my brain occupied and minimize my down time trigger. It works, plus it makes for good conversations. How many people can say they have had a drink in two separate states at the same time, while watching a pontoon boat made from a vintage yellow VW van come into the docks? There are still many places to go and people to see. I hope I’ll have the health and the time to do a lot of both.

One of my long-term goals is to finish a half marathon in 50 states. Right now, the count includes Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, New York and Nevada. As long as my ticker, and my knee, hold out; I’ll be attempting two more this year in the Florida Keys and South Carolina and only have 41 more to go! Might be able to sneak one more in, perhaps. It’ll be fun trying, if nothing else! I’m not getting any younger, or skinnier for that matter. Just gonna have to keep trying on the latter. I plan to get to the Caribbean, “across the pond” and the other direction toward Hawaii and points further West. They are just waiting there, so why not go see what’s it all about, right? Might even find a travel partner for some of it as well, who knows?

The inevitability of a long life is that further losses occur. I’ve already lost close friends, mentors, students and family. I don’t look forward to the day where more will be gone, but I know it will happen. My hope is that I get to know these people and be with them as much as possible before they are lost. I’ll continue to give them the love and attention I always have and that they deserve.

There is much more I could comment about, but I’m going to close out by saying this: it’s been an up and down ride, but it’s been my ride. Some days I don’t like it, but most days I do. So, here’s to good health, further adventures and making more memories. 50 years in the books. Let’s see what the next 50 has in store.