I’m sitting on our balcony in Naples, geometrically centered in the Ritz-Carlton, listening to the surf of the Gulf of Mexico below. There is no horizon, only a single darkness, as the ink-black of sea and night meet somewhere in the distance. We arrived today, escaping the wintry northeast, and I’ve cadged a brandy and some chocolate from the club to accompany my cigar.
This is my last full week on Route 66. We fly home on March 2, and the next day I’m scheduled to be 67. I find it’s a destination I’m unable to change, so I’m thankful that I can at least go first class!
We hear that life is short, and compared to the dinosaurs pretty much having their own way for 150 million years, it is. But they were taken out by a meteor six miles in diameter striking not terribly far from where I currently sit. Halfway around the world in Siberia, a small cousin with the force of a hundred nuclear bombs recently exploded without anyone knowing it was there.
I’ve always tried to live life to the fullest. You may ask what alternative we have, but daily I see people throwing their lives away in part and by pieces, which to me is the equivalent of simply taking more time to end it. I don’t believe we’re here to stick our toes in the water. I believe we’re here to make waves.
I have no idea what “retirement” means in today’s world, an artificial construct, based on math and premises that are obsolete and absurd. (The partner in a financial planning firm told my wife that, as far as she could determine, I had retired about 15 years ago.) I do know that so long as I’m on top of my game, I’ll keep doing what pleases me. When that’s no longer the case, then I’ll leave that particular stage. Sandy Koufax knew how to do that. Frank Sinatra did not.
The inexorable and thrilling journey continues. We can’t affect the process but we can certainly create the content. I’m anticipating 67 will be exciting, just as I know that the distant, unseen horizon will be visible in the morning when the sun illuminates this part of the world.
It will be the same horizon as yesterday, but just a tad closer.
© Alan Weiss 2013