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And the Adventure Continues… October 9, 2010

Posted by Marc Troeger in aging, humor, journey, life, Uncategorized.
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I posted on my blog, a few years ago, something I wrote titled “Growing Old… NOT!”  I’m reposting it below as a personal tribute to my 48th birthday, but more importantly,  to all those who could care less about how old they are or what condition they are in and continue to do so many amazing things everyday.  I look at my parents, who are in their 70s and continue to travel the world, always looking for their next adventure.  To Holly, who struggles with Freidriech’s Ataxia yet continues to live her life to the fullest (see her postings at:  Hollys Hope).  To my friend Bruce, who has struggled over the years with cancer and is even now awaiting another diagnosis; regardless of his condition, he has and continues to have such an amazing impact on so many peoples lives.  And to the many people you know and admire who continue to amaze you with how they persevere and what what they accomplish.

Living has nothing to do with age, nor your health, nor the obstacles you face.  Living is how you move on with what you have and make the best of it… one adventure at a time.

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[The following was Originally posted at www.mountainblogs.com on December 2, 2008 by Marc Troeger]

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 :

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!

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Don’t Forget the Journey September 27, 2010

Posted by Marc Troeger in ambition, goals, journey, Passion.
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Train TracksOne of my favorite essays of all time is Robert J. Hastings, “The Station”.  It speaks volumes about where you want to be in life, what you want to accomplish, and how far you want to go in order to meet your goals.  But, what Hastings makes you realize at the end of his essay is that the goals, the achievements, that one place you want to be… your station… those are the ends to which you arrive.  It’s the trip you took getting there that is the most important part.

I read this essay often.  And I don’t read it enough.  I constantly want to be reminded about the journey.

THE STATION
By Robert J. Hastings

Tucked Away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision.  We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent.  We’re traveling by passenger train, and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.  On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station.  There will be bands playing and flags waving.  And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true.  So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.  How restlessly we pace the aisles, damming the minutes for loitering, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all.  The true joy of life is the trip.  The station is only a dream.  It constantly outdistances us.

When we get to the station that will be it!” we cry.  Translated it means, “When I’m 18 that will be it!  When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it!  When I put the last kid through college that will be it!  When I have paid off the mortgage that will be it!  When I win a promotion that will be it!  When I reach the age of retirement that will be it!  I shall live happily ever after!”

Unfortunately, once we get “it,” then “it” disappears.  The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad.  Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow.  Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.  Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less.  Life must be lived as we go along.  The station will come soon enough.