Monday, November 9, 2009

What is This, Which Morning Sunlight….

What is this, which morning sunlight
Guilds with golden beams?
‘Tis our Upper Darby High School,
Castle of our dreams.

So goes the first eight bars of the Upper Darby High School Alma Mater. Now I don’t know that my high school was the castle of my dreams, or that of my 650 or so co-graduates of the class of 1969. But we did get a very good education there, and I generally remember it fondly – mostly. But “castle of our fond and a few not so fond memories” is not quite as poetic, is it? In any event, this past weekend, I journeyed to Philadelphia for my 40th reunion, a little trip down memory lane. We had only about 80 people show up, and several people I really wanted to see in particular were not there, but it was still a fun reunion and a fun weekend in the City of Brotherly Love.

It is amazing to look at my yearbook photo from way back when, and realize that most of my life was still ahead of me. Even though things have not always turned out as I would have hoped or planned back in 1969, it has been a full life. And the 40 years seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. If you are a young 20 or 30 something-year-old, those years will fly by for you as well. Trust me on this one! So remember to live your life fully and to live each day.

In high school, I guess I would have been considered a geek, although we didn’t have that term that I recall. I was a good student, but not an exceptional one. I was a crummy athlete, which is one reason why doing marathons this late in life has been so surprising. I wanted to go to the Naval Academy, although even had my grades been good enough, my poor eyesight doomed any realistic chance of that. But even so, the desire to go to Annapolis, and just the way I was raised, made me a real “straight arrow” in high school. I never got in trouble, didn’t drink or smoke – much less use drugs – and generally minded my own business and treated people politely. The few times I should have gotten in trouble, I had such a spotless reputation that the Dean of Boys let me off the hook.

I’m sure that when I was 18 I thought I knew more than I really did. That is one thing about aging – the more you learn, the more you realize you do not know. At 18, so much of my life was still ahead of me – college, grad school, marriage, fatherhood, career, developing as a person, becoming a grandpa, surviving cancer, becoming a marathoner. So much has happened in the last 40 years, both in my life and in the world. I am not likely to live another 40 years, although 30 seems possible and 20 seems likely. I wonder what those years will bring? At some point though, it will not be morning sunlight, but the evening setting sun that guilds the castle of my dreams.


Cheryl said...

Hi Art.....I found that a very moving post.....and thought provoking.
I am fortunate that I am not someone who looks back with regret. It is how we cope with our life that is important.

I personally was not a good student (as in learning)....but like you I did not smoke, drink or take drugs.

I believe you are such a positive man with a wonderful mental attitude, you may be here longer than you think......

May I say you were a very handsome student......

Racn4acure said...

Hi Cheryl - I am glad that you enjoyed this. I appreciate your kind words - too kind.

I fully agree, our attitude as we go through life is so important. Everyone will have hard times now and then. How we react to them makes the difference in our lives. Do we learn and grow, or whine and complain?

I feel very fortunate to be here 7 years after cancer, but would like to be around a while longer. :) Thanks again for the compliments. Art

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Racn4acure said...

Dear Anonymous - you are very welcome. I am glad you are enjoying my blog. Yes, all of us doing Team in Training get pretty passionate about it. Art

TNTcoach Ken said...

Amen brother! Art, you are preaching to the choir. I think about those next 40 years on occasion also. I'll see you in 2049.

Racn4acure said...

How about I buy you an adult BEvERage at that point, Coach?

Dreselly Travels said...

Art- I read your blog regularly, but overlooked that I could click to here. You were such a handsome guy ! What happened ? Seriously, as you know, I have 25 years on you, and hope to live to 98. So should you, if you survive the psychological hurdle 2 years ahead. I know your writing and philosophical insights are sharp, but they are particularly so in your Alumnus essay. I can especially assure you that time seems to speed up - it's like floating down the Niagara River, ever faster, until all of a sudden, WHOOMP. Let's climb Mt.Washington together again, shall we ?

Racn4acure said...

Ha Ha, Dick! 40 Years of living happened! :)

98 sounds good to me. I am not too worried about the big 6-0 in two years (actually more like 1.5 years). It beats the alternative, but I do think maybe I will start feeling old for the first time when I hit that mark.

We just need to enjoy that wild ride before we go over Niagara Falls, eh?

I'd love to climb Mt. Washington yet again.