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Parked in My Car on a Sunny Sunday Morning

Reflections on My Life

Photo by Wes Powers on Unsplash

When I was in college, I studied English which, obviously, included the study of prose and poetry. To be very honest, I was not a huge fan of poetry. That is not to say that I hated it. I meant that I favor the prose more than poetry. There are a few poems that I do like. One of them is the following poem by Robert Frost. 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

As I am writing this, as the title says, I am sitting in my car on a sunny morning. It's a Sunday and I have just seen one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. Because I attended church the night before, I have the advantage of getting up early to see the arrival of a brand new day.

I am a 62-year-old man. I am fortunate to still be alive. I am not as healthy as I used to be at one-third of my present age, but I am alive. I often think back to my peers and colleagues who did not even complete one-third of my present age. So sad.

Being 62 allows me to not just be reflective, it also allows me to see much more of my life. When I was 20, I did not have much to look at. Don't get me wrong. I did not have much to look at, but I had a lot to look forward to. At 20, I planned and planned and planned. At 62, I get to look back at those plans and ask myself if I planned properly, did I succeed, or should I have planned something else instead? It is like eating food. You plan to eat something. That is the beginning of your life. After you've eaten the meal and burped a few times, that is later on in your life. Did I cook the meal well? Did I have enough? Did I really want something else instead? I just don't have an answer... right now!

For now, I sit in my car on this, a sunny Sunday, and I contemplate. I think about my past and how much I enjoyed it. I think about the people I met and how much I enjoyed them, too. Yes, those were the days. They were a time of innocence and inquiry for me. I had no idea of what I was doing and I pretty much didn’t care. All I know is that somehow, I made what I feel are the right choices for me.

Did I have any regrets about my past? None that I know of, at least none that I knew at the time. Do I have any now? Of course. I wish that I had made better choices. I wish that I had worked harder. I wish that I had the backbone to pursue what I should have pursued. Yes, I have some regrets. Who doesn’t have any regrets about their life?

Life is not like a carnival ride. WAIT! Let me correct that. Life IS like a carnival ride. Once you are on it, you are expected to enjoy it until the ride is over. Unlike the carnival ride, however, you only get one shot at the ride and no more. At least with the actual ride, you can purchase another ticket and get back on the ride. Life, however, is experienced only once. Once you are done with your one time, you are done for good. I enjoyed my ride. As of now, I am still on my ride. The only difference is that I can feel that the ride is beginning to slow down. Eventually, it will stop and I will have to get off. It is not my choice as to when my ride will end. The only thing I need to keep in mind is to make sure that I enjoyed my ride when I had the chance. I did.

I seem to understand something now that I did not understand some 40 or even 50 years ago. I now understand why old people sat on park benches and watched my peers and me. They were contemplating their past. They were looking at us and doing the same thing that I am doing now. They were re-evaluating their lives and asking the same questions that I am asking myself. They are getting ready to get off their carnival ride which will stop one day.

The speaker in the Frost poem stops at a secluded area somewhere in the woods. It is quiet and desolate. He pauses to take in the solitude he has intentionally put himself in. He thinks and reflects. I, too, am capitalizing on my solitude. I don’t need a horse and a snowy forest. I just need my peace and quiet and an area where I can be alone… to think. There is no telling what the speaker is thinking. He never reveals his thoughts, but he knows that he still has a journey—a long journey—to complete. My journey, to my finite knowledge, is not over yet. I have more to do if I have more time to get it done.That is not up to me.

In closing, I am somewhat happy. I am able to look back on my life fondly. Where I did not do what I wanted, something else nearly as nice as what I wanted to do took its place. I am very grateful to the people who I met along my journey. They positively influenced me in so many ways. I am glad that I met the people who are no longer around. Their ride ended way before mine, but they showed me what this life was all about. Finally, I won’t give up. I will still look for other things that I want to accomplish. That is my motivation to move on.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Photo by Ian Keefe on Unsplash

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