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.”
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.” 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
 Psalm 90.10a
 Psalm 90.10b