Toasting a New Year

Soon (nearly a month away, yet close enough), I’ll turn 70. Practically and culturally, a milestone birthday. Biblically, too, for “the days of our life are seventy years or perhaps eighty, if we are strong.”[1]

I’m as (maybe more) mindful of the psalmist’s additional testimony: “even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”[2] This leads me to ponder anew my mortality. Not my death (which, inescapably, will come in its own time when I “fly away”), but rather this, to date, particular experience of my human frailty: I’m not who I’d like to be.

I’m loving and kind, generous of thought and feeling, compassionate and caring of others, even and especially those with whom I disagree. But, as human, I have limits. I’m not as loving and kind, generous, compassionate and caring as I desire. Thus, there are days, at times, many times on many days when I don’t like myself very much.

This state of self- (hmmm, not loathing; that’s too strong a sentiment, but rather) dissatisfaction has persisted through a lifetime of commendation and consolation from family and friends, years of therapy, and a daily devotion to prayer (thus, remembering that at no time am I the highest point of regard, even in my own life).

So, in a spirit of what I hope is humble and healthy self-acceptance, I suppose that what has been will continue to be: I won’t be who I’d like to be.

Yet one thing is different. For nearly 50 years, I sought to self-anesthetize with alcohol the daily discomfort of being me. Although I experienced moments of escape, this tactic never proved wholly effective. For eventually, inevitably I returned to my fully conscious recognition that the me I could forget for an instant was still there.

Then, through some circuitous course, I tried sobriety. Although I remain someone who falls far short of who I’d like to be, I like sobriety. There is something grandly fulfilling, even personally ennobling about striving one day (sometimes, one hour, one minute, one instant) at a time to remain alert, aware, and present to the world around me and, yes, even to the me that I still wish was better.

© 2022 PRA

Photograph: c. 1956

#sobriety #lifelivedsoberisbetter #selfacceptance #IamwhoIamwhoIam

[1] Psalm 90.10a

[2] Psalm 90.10b

2 thoughts on “Toasting a New Year

  1. This pic will always be one of my favs!! I hope you have BIG plans for your milestone birthday!! I know it will be one to remember!!! Woooo Hoooo!!


  2. Thanks, Loretta, but you know I’m not one for celebrating my birthday. For many years, the occasion hath been but another day. Yes, I am happy to be alive in this world and, no, I am not opposed to celebration (and, surely, not against anyone’s natal day anniversary cheer). Rather I think and feel that spending time and money on honoring the passing of my years (or any given year) is better spent on other things.

    Love you


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