Write Again…That which we are, we are

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, July 14, 2021

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“Badges of Maturity.” That’s what I had decided to call it. 

“What in the world are you talking about, Old Timer?” You may ask. Well, I’ll tell you. 

But first, let me mention that I also considered calling it “Badges of Honor.” That seemed a bit much, however. 

Plus, let me say here at the outset that not everything is directly the result of the aging process, or happens only when one stacks up a bunch of years. You can believe, though, that the inevitable aging process almost always plays a part, if only to compound some health-related aspect one experiences. 

However, let me tell you that I began this column a few weeks ago. My aim was to begin up “north,” my head, and work my way down “south,” my feet, and tell you about the multitude of ailments, infirmities, that have assaulted me over the past few years. I was going to lay it all out there, friends. My many “badges.” 

Fortunately, something caused me to set it aside for a while, and perhaps “study on” the propriety, the appropriateness, of such an ego-centric endeavor. 

Well, my better judgement told me not to do something of such a very personal nature. Such could prove embarrassing. TMI. 

I am now 10 years older than my mother was when she died, and only one year shy of my father’s age when he passed away. 

What I’m saying here, then, is that I should be, and am, grateful to be here, infirmities and health challenges notwithstanding. (Now, isn’t that a bit of a pompous sounding word?)

Of course I’ve reached “old age.” If I didn’t have such an aversion to the over-use of cliches, I would say, “It is what it is.” While I’m not enamored of much of the baggage that comes with attaining octogenarian status, nevertheless I’m glad to be here. Just glad, and grateful, “to be.” 

This is the place in today’s column where I want to share with you a favorite bit of poetry that speaks to the aging process in a perceptive and eloquent fashion. I have used this piece at least once before. 

Here, then, are the last few lines of that iconic poem, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

“…Tho’ much is taken, much abides;

and tho’

We are not that strength which in old days 

Moved heaven and earth; that 

which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts, 

Made weak by time and fate, but 

strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and

not to yield.”

Thanks, Al. I needed that.