Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A new way to grow old

Recently a friend of mine gave me an article about blogging and, knowing my interest in writing, encouraged me to give it a try. I was impressed with the article because it touched on another subject -- one that is hard to ignore at my age and that is aging itself. As I've gotten older it has been harder and harder for me to see myself as being that different and I tend to feel oddly ill at ease with many older people who seem to have just surrendered any passion for living. So I've decided to try and write about what is still important, why it is so wonderful to feel that passion for life at whatever age. It will be interesting to see if my thoughts strike a chord in others who are making the trek "over the hill". As I sat down to put something together for my first "blog", I noticed a notebook that I used for writing down thoughts and when I opened it I found something I had written several years ago and I decided to start with a piece of that. Then we'll see where we go from there. I had given it a title -- The Last Train.

A tired, bored voice announced that the train to Portland, Oregon would be five hours late due to the derailment of another train near Los Angeles. It was ten o'clock at night and that meant we would be leaving until three in the morning -- not news I wanted to hear. From the outside, the very expensived, new Amtrak station in Martinez, California was impressive, but on the inside that late December night it was beyond cold and the long wooden benches were rock hard -- not a cushion in sight. There was no restaurant and the vending machines were mostly empty of anything but the things no one wanted in the first place.The Christmas holidays were drawing to a close -- only New Years left for those who still celebrate that sort of thing. Personally, I had discovered over the years that too much bubbly, a headache and other regrets one could only vaguely remember the next morning was not an auspicious beginning for a new year. Frankly, I just wanted to see this one over. The last eighteen months had taken the prize for bummers and I was having an uneasy feeling somewhere inside my chest that the coming year just might be even worse. These were not thoughts I particularly wanted to comtemplate at any time, let alone for five, cold hours on a hard bench. I suddenly wished I hadn't stopped smoking so many years earlier, but then in California, like Oregon, that was an enviromental no-no anyway.

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