I'm not crippled or an invalid,
I have my health,
I still enjoy a good walk,
a good meal (with all the trimmings),
I can sleep without first taking a pill,
birds, flowers, cacti and sunsets on Torch Lake still inspire me,
so I am a most fortunate individual;
and so morning and night I give thanks.
Some are younger in years but weary in spirit,
already on the way to becoming automatons.
I fall in love again and again every day,
forgiving my parents for being human,
content to get nowhere,
just taking each day as it comes.
By keeping from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical.
I've got it half licked.
I have the greatest respect and admiration for the very old
who seem to remain eternally young and creative.
Such youthful nonagenarians put the young to shame.
Those who are truly decrepit,
living corpses, so to speak,
are the men and women
who are stuck in their comfortable pews
and imagine that the status quo will last forever
or else are so frightened it won’t
that they have retreated into their mental bomb shelters
to wait it out.
I have had a successful career,
but my late years have been the happiest time of my life.
Success, from the worldly standpoint,
could have been like a plague
for me, a writer who has something to say.
Now, instead of simply enjoying a little leisure,
I find myself more occupied than ever.
The Joy now is being free,
doing what I want to do.
One thing seems more and more evident to me now,
people’s basic character rarely changes over the years.
Life forces us to learn a few lessons,
but not necessarily to grow;
That's up to us.
I believe I am a far more cheerful person
than I was at twenty or thirty.
I most definitely would not want to be a teenager again.
Youth may be glorious,
but it is also painful to endure.
One starts to get young at the age of sixty,
and then it’s too late.
By sixty I abandoned illusions,
many from religious sources,
but fortunately not my enthusiasm,
nor the joy of living,
nor my unquenchable thirst for life,
Perhaps it is my thirst,
for and about anything and everything,
that made me the writer I am.
It has never left me.
With this attribute came another
which I prize above everything else,
and that is my sense of wonder.
No matter how restricted my world may become
I cannot imagine it leaving me
void of wonder.
In a sense I suppose it might be called my religion.
I do not ask how it came about,
this creation in which I swim,
but only enjoy and appreciate it.
Perhaps the most comforting thing
about growing old gracefully
is the increasing ability not to take things too seriously.
One of the big differences between a genuine sage
and a preacher is Joy.
When the sage laughs it is a belly laugh;
when the preacher laughs,
which is all too seldom,
it is on the wrong side of the face.
With advancing age
my ideals have definitely altered.
My ideal is to be free of ideals,
free of principles,
free of isms and ideologies,
free of doctrines, dogma, rites, rituals,
I want to take to the ocean of life
like a fish takes to the sea.
I no longer try to convert people
to my view of things.
Neither do I feel superior
because they appear to be unresponsive.
I could fight evil
but against indifference I am helpless.
I have accepted the fact,
hard as it may be,
that human beings are inclined to behave in ways
that would make animals blush.
The ironic, the tragic thing
is that people often behave in ignoble fashion
from what we consider the highest motives.
The animal makes no excuse for killing prey for survival.
The human animal, on the other hand,
invokes God’s blessing
when killing his fellow humans.
I learned that God is not on my side
but at my side.
There is nothing wrong with life itself.
It is the ocean in which I swim
and I either adapt to it
or sink to the bottom.
But it is in my power as a human being
not to pollute the waters of life,
not to destroy the spirit animating us.
The most difficult thing
for a creative individual
is to refrain from trying to make the world to my liking
and to accept my fellow humans for what they are,
good, bad or indifferent.
It is what it is;