Reflections On My 73rd Birthday

As I turn 73, adjusting to retirement, tweaking my freedom schedule, I’m haunted by:

  • The Dalai Lama’s advice, “Today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.”
  • The Charter for Compassion, “Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there.…”
  • Each day throughout the world more than 8,000 children die needless, preventable deaths and millions of Americans suffer from severe social and economic injustice.
  • That suffering is imposed by a self-perpetuating global social system.
  • It’s like a monster drowning more babies than can be rescued.
  • Only strong nation states can control that monster and transform the System.
  • That transformation will require massive, unified grassroots movements within each nation.
  • American individualism and materialism undermine that movement.
  • Americans are becoming increasingly selfish, thanks in part to their addiction to screens.
  • The desire to climb social ladders and look down on others drives the System.
  • My decision not to get a professional degree was fateful.
  • I wanted to avoid being elevated above others.
  • I wanted to organize holistic, democratic communities.
  • But I still had a college degree and others knew it.
  • And I acted like an educated man.
  • People often thought I was a lawyer.
  • So my effort to be an ordinary man was only partly successful.
  • My community organizing produced only occasional fruit.
  • I squandered too much of my youth.
  • In my old age, I hope to squander less.
  • My resistance to traditional marriage left me with no children and no partner.
  • My family has been the human family.
  • My true love is truth, justice and beauty.
  • But now that I’m retired, I often feel lonely at night.
  • I rarely felt lonely before.
  • TV offers virtual companionship and a chance to tap passion.
  • But I’m trying to break that addiction.
  • At night I prefer to meditate, listen to music, read, write.
  • I’d like to socialize more, but I get tired of being the organizer.
  • I wish more people reached out to me to get together.
  • I feel like a low-energy wallflower.
  • Most conversation quickly bores me.
  • Most people just tell stories, pontificate, or gossip.
  • I’d like to talk with my close friends the way I talk to my therapist.
  • I’d like for them to respond to me the way my therapist responds.
  • I’d like for them to talk to me the way I talk to my therapist.
  • I’d like to respond to them the way my therapist responds to me.
  • Intimate direct action.
  • Why not?
  • All we have to fear is fear itself.
  • Humans are resilient.
  • So, while remaining open to, and available for, authentic human encounter, I write.
  • I’m summing up my thinking in a new “declaration for action.”
  • Then I’ll share it with others, initially people of color.
  • Ideally others will collaborate to rewrite it.
  • If not, I’ll pursue it myself.
  • Get it out as widely as I can.
  • I believe in what I have to say.
  • I believe it’s important and rational.
  • Hardly anyone has ever told me my thoughts are crazy.
  • The main reaction has been lukewarm support.
  • It’s just a question of how to spark more action, and what is realistic.
  • Something dramatic must happen to help humanity evolve.
  • When I finish that declaration, I’ll write something else.
  • They say a writer is someone who must write.
  • So I guess I’m a writer
  • Even if the number of my readers declines.
  • Even if I’m a majority of one.
  • I am compelled to write.
  • While remaining open to deep dialogue with fellow seekers.
  • I see no choice.
  • I am bound to my calling,
  • Waiting for that rebirth of wonder.
  • Grateful for so much, my close friends, my home, my health, the Holy Spirit.
  • I celebrate my birthday with joy in my heart.
  • Reassured that my true love will always be by my side.

5 Responses to Reflections On My 73rd Birthday

  1. Pingback: A Higher Love | Wade's Wire

  2. Happy Birthday Wade!
    I smiled throughout this post – and I’m still smiling.
    Wishing you much happiness and many more Birthdays – whether spent writing OR watching TV.
    I send you kisses and hugs,
    Joyce

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