Dedicated to the late William N. Hilderscheid (Billy)
There comes a point in one’s life when looking at obituaries and seeing your parent’s friends and acquaintances through the years changes gradually, and those names you are reading become your friends and acquaintances and the mild emotional twists in your gut become major ones. You begin to hear the internal clocking ticking and your steps are more cautious, less risky as the body is not as lithe and the time for healing longer-and more painful in all aspects of life-financial, physical and mental.
Jackson Browne’s lament “Running on Empty” from the early seventies seems a tad over-reactive worrying about such things at such a young age, but he was very aware of what the future held. Unfortunately, no one expects the “salad days” of youth to disappear, even when one writes and sings about it.
“In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on….
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on…”
And then there’s the great lyricist Robert Hunter:
“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will”
Great artists see things that the general population does not. They destroy their art to create new art. They may be tortured souls with the information that they discover, that most have no time or inklings to ponder……..but sooner or later will have to deal with, as the ravages of time move forward and Mother Nature clears the forest for the younger saplings to survive. The question is-Do you have any drive or wants to “pay it forward?” Do you want to give something back to humanity to counter the greed, fear, avarice, and selfishness of the world and begin to sow seeds of kindness, confidence, selflessness, and the surrender to the forces of the fate and spirituality? Do you want to even try and give something back before you dissipate and your temporal being vanishes from the planet? If you do, then do it now. Don’t wait to tell someone you care, don’t wait to lend a hand or give someone an unexpected positive boost. What is it that you are you waiting for? Is it because no one did for you? Is it the bitterness and the rejection of youthful dreams because it “just didn’t work out?” Time is short, don’t wait until you are alone in the world sitting or laying in a nursing home with a stranger wiping drool from your cheek. DO IT NOW! You might make a huge difference in someone’s life, even if you can’t make a damn difference in your children’s or your own. The circle goes round, you can’t go back and you can’t stand still……………..best to give of yourself and whatever you can, while you can. It will feel good to watch the change occur as the same investment you make takes hold, just don’t expect anything back and keep on, keepin’ on. Give back in any way you can, be it holding a door open for someone to handing a sandwich to a starving homeless person. No one’s asking you to open your bank account and clear it out, although those who have made more money than Croceus do for the most part set up foundations and trusts to help their fellow humans. Do what you can, when you can. It’s not hard and it’s contagious.