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Growing old… NOT! December 2, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in humor, journey, life.
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I turned forty a few years ago… but it didn’t bother me at the time. A few weeks ago, I innocently mentioned several aches and a few pains to my wife after doing an early morning run. Her response: “That’s what happens when you get older.

My response back her through clenched teeth: “I-am-not-going-to-get-older!”  And that’s the truth.

I refuse to feel my age. I refuse to recognize a little of the spread that’s taking place in my mid-section. I refuse to acknowledge the grays appearing on my top section. And I refuse to give up on the youth that I have always felt within me; the silliness, that care-free attitude toward life… that quest for adventure every waking hour. But, then… how do I ignore the inevitable?
I came up against that question once again, very recently while reading a book by Joe Simpson. Joe is best known for the incredible account of trial and tragedy in the mountains in his book Touching the Void. In his latest book, The Beckoning of Silence, he writes on many topics surrounding his mountaineering adventures, the loss of close friends and an introspective look at the risks he has taken in his life and what that means to him today. In particular, he relies on his insight and wisdom of his age (he is the same age as me!) and writes about youth and old age. In challenging his own advance down the trek of time, he offers this quote by Samuel Ullman [updated 9/27/10 with the correct author reference]:

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a temper of the Will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is a freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a tempermental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty more than in a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin; but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair – these are the long, long years that bow the heart and turn the greening spirit back to dust. Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the sweet amazement at the stars and at starlike things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what next and the joy of the game of living. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt, as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair.

Yeah… me… that’s me… I-am-not-going-to-get-old!

A Guide to Living Your Life Consciously November 29, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in life.
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From Leo Babauta’s December 7, 2007 entry on his blog Zenhabits

“Do you ever have a feeling that you’re drifting through life, and not going where you want to go? Or that you don’t know how you got where you are today?

Living consciously is about taking control of your life, about thinking about your decisions rather than making them without thought, about having a life that we want rather than settling for the one that befalls us.”

Read the full article for an introspective on how to be more “aware” of your life and take control.

[My] Land of Beyond November 11, 2008

Posted by Marc Troeger in journey, life, Passion.
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A wise, older aunt once told me that, even in her later years, she arose each morning anticipating an adventure to unfold that day. This continued, even after she had been confined to more and more to her room. On one visit, she read a letter to me, one that she had received from her now-departed husband, at the time they were still “courting”.  It wasn’t an overly passionate letter, but one filled with the adventures they would haFor several years, after her passing I kept that poem close by, pondering what it meant to her. Eventually, I was to understand, her purpose for giving it to me was not so that I would burden myself over what it meant to her, but to find my own purpose in what it means to me.

Find your own meaning…

The Land of Beyond
From Rhymes of a Rolling Stone
by Robert W. Service

Have you ever heard of the Land of Beyond,
That dream at the gates of the day?
Alluring it lies at the skirts of the skies,
And ever so far away;
Alluring it calls: O ye yoke of galls,
And ye of the trails overfond,
With saddle and pack, by paddle and track,
Lets go to the Land of Beyond!

Have ever you stood where the silences brood,
And vast the horizons begin,
At the dawn of the day to behold far away
The goal you would strive for and win?
Yet ah! in the night when you gain to the height,
With the vast pool of heaven star-spawned,
Afar and agleam, like a valley of dream,
Still mocks you the Land of Beyond.

Thank God! there is always the Land of Beyond
For us who are true to the trail;
A vision to seek, a beckoning peak,
A fairness that never will fail;
A proud in our soul that mocks at a goal,
A manhood that irks at a bond,
And try how we will, unattainable still,
Behold it, our Land of Beyond!