I recently turned 32 years,
an age at once young and old.
Enough time to look back upon
and celebrate and mourn days gone by,
yet search amongst an indefinite time ahead—
a number of days, months, years
set in place by whatever future to be.
Within the span of 32 years
(11,680 days—give or take a few leap days),
I have lived and loved, loved and lost,
lost love, lived loss, loved lost, lived love;
I have seen far too many sunrises with a frown
and far too few sunsets with a sense of accomplishment;
I have heard the cries of many I love
and feel the warm streaks on my own face
from the loss of those that mattered most;
I have worked until my body and brain ached;
I have thought things and done things
that I will forever regret
and some I will always cherish.
Whether 32 years from now I’m enjoying my days on Earth
or plotted beneath the busy feet of those living,
I know I will have loved more, lost more,
made more mistakes, shaped more lives,
and lived the life meant for me to its fullest.
Found a dollar today
resting on the side of the road
among autumn leaves
littering the wet pavement
after a ceaseless November rain.
Folded and soiled,
its green caught my eye,
and I bent, holding back
my dog on our peaceful walk,
to draw it from the surrounding
red and orange and gold.
A walk with the purpose
of clearing my aching brain
of the echoes of society,
its many-faceted existence
of deadlines, responsibilities, heartache,
and here I am stooping,
fingers grazing nature’s beauty
spread out all around,
arrays of colors and textures,
to grasp the one thing I tried escaping,
if only for a moment.
“Open your books to page 1.”
The familiar words of the youthful teacher
bounced off the walls of his English classroom.
The tortured groans of preoccupied students—
thinking of lunch, which barely passed as edible,
or their plans after school (work, video games, wandering the vacant mall)—
outnumbered the wild rustle of pages
by students eager to venture upon a brave new world.
When I think of the term “blog,” my mind immediately shifts to my days as a teenager and the inane ramblings of my Livejournal (I considered providing a link, but I’d rather not.). If I’m feeling rather nostalgic, I go back to that place and have a few laughs about how my earlier self viewed the world. Little did I know that live after high school and college I would bring so many drastic changes in my life. Would past-me really have imagined switching from my original computer science major to become an English teacher? Would he have foreseen me getting a job that I really enjoy out in Orion? Would he have thought it possible to juggle my insane teaching schedule as well as receive my Masters in English from Western Illinois University?