“Forty-three years ago,” I kept saying to myself: A valuable lesson on living life

How to beat anxiety

For you, is life about “Why am I depressed?” Maybe “How to beat anxiety?” Damn, we become so wrapped-up in it all – so much stress. Suddenly we realize life has passed us by. I learned a valuable lesson recently. And I’d like to share it with you…

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style – Maya Angelou

It sure wasn’t the day for an outing, what with temps and humidity in the mid-90s. But it didn’t matter, I was going to make the 90 minute drive to East Lansing. I mean, there was something within that told me I needed to stroll my campus – at my alma mater, Michigan State University.

Does it go that way for you when the time to ponder and process is at hand?

Well, drive made, and it was time to decide where I’d walk (ponder and process). As I considered options, I drove around and caught-up on some sites – my dorm, buildings where I took classes, the stadiums, downtown East Lansing, and more.

And then it hit me. I’d use the very center of campus as my base, and stroll-out from there.

“Forty-three years ago,” I kept saying to myself.

So I managed to find a place to park on campus (thank God for summer semester), and off I went. Walking by Beaumont Tower (took the pic above) and the library, I headed for another encounter with Spartan Stadium. Shoot, I’ll take all the sober views I can, ’cause I sure didn’t get many “in those days.”

On the way back to the center of campus, something curious – disturbing – clicked in my mind. Out of nowhere, I began saying to myself, “Forty-three years ago.”

That’s how long it had been since I first walked MSU turf. Frankly, I was stunned. Where had the time gone? And perhaps even more troubling, had life passed me by?

Existential concerns to the fore

Now, I’ll be 61 in September. And I’ll admit some existential concerns have nipped me in the fanny over the past year. Oh, nothing way over the top; however, let’s just say I’m now in-touch with my “inner mortality.”

But walking the campus  – watching the students doing their thing and recalling my steps along the very same paths – really brought my existential concerns to the fore.

Again, where had the time gone? Had life passed me by?

Did I really live my life? Do I have enough within for the duration?

And then I managed to come up with a couple of bonus existential questions – Did I really live my life? Do I have enough within for the duration?

Perhaps like you, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life doing all I could to cope with – manage (destroy?) – a wild assortment of anxiety and mood phenomena. Heck, I had my first taste of derealization at nine-years-old.

Not that I have to tell you, but that’s such a huge pull on personal energy and growth, self-esteem, relationships, academics, employment – damned near everything.

And suddenly I find myself waking a campus wondering where forty-three years went. I mean, what the heck happened?

Then there’s the matter of having enough within for the duration (as in ’til I die).

God love my 91-year-old father – I sure do. He’s been a devout Christian all of his adult life. He was a successful businessman and been to so many places, seen so many things.

But there he sits in assisted living more-or-less riding it out. And I’m left to wonder why his faith and life experience didn’t give him what he needs to go out in a blaze of glory.

Again, what the heck happened? And, of course, my take-away is, will it be the same for me?

Damn if I want it to be, so I’d best make it my business to do something about it.

Let’s bring it on home

Okay, so my restless mind is starting to hit my writing. I’m kind of all over the place, aren’t I? Well, I guess that’s a reflection of my very personal purpose and passion here.

Catch this from Maya Angelou…

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

Yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

And my lesson on living life was learned that hot summer Saturday at MSU, forty-three years after the fact.

So, again, is what you call life about “Why am I depressed?” Maybe “How to beat anxiety?” All so much stress and misery at play, huh.

I don’t want life to pass you by. And even if it has, I want you to find and develop all you can within so you can truly live for the duration. And I’m sure all of us have the capacity to do just that.

Hoping my lesson learned will help you along the way…

Hey, more Chipur titles? Say no more.

  • npeden August 8, 2015, 1:25 pm

    So sweet, this self reveal, Bill. Yes, where have our lives taken us? I am barely waking up it feels like, at 65 and much of my life, trying to “fix” myself. Well, it seems I am “fixing” myself by becoming my own person with much help from community. I don’t know if my experiences will help others; I have just replaced my web site with one of my many blogs just so I could start to reveal some of what interests me now. Like Klaire’s Biospora probiotic that raises dopamine and inositol that reduces anxiety.

    I am finding out that indeed my life is about love as yours seems to be when speaking of your dad. I am on my way to a cancer survivors picnic and celebration. The docs cook for us, though I really can’t eat the food now and plan to sneak off to see Woody Allen’s existenially based movie plot, An Irrational Man.

    I am going to the picnic because shortly they will be doing a talk on end of life wishes (many of us use a wonderful document you can find free on the net called The 5 Wishes; it helps walk you through end of life decisions and desires). Having genetic illnesses, I cannot take drugs so I need some advice on informing docs if I cannot so I will go to the picnic and enjoy all the survivors. Such beauty to behold. Ah, that’s an existential issue I can manage: seeing beauty, especially in people. Thanks for your lovely sharing, Bill. May you live long as your dad and have a beautiful death. That is what I want for me, too.

    • Chipur August 8, 2015, 11:02 pm

      Always a better place when you chime-in, Nancy. I appreciate you…

  • Patricia Miller August 23, 2015, 5:13 pm

    Many times I can’t look that far down the road…I can only look to today and what I can do with today and the resources at hand, both in my life and in the lives of others. Life you, I will be 56 in September and I realize I am a “mature” woman and that carries many connotations. I know I have also put to rest many demons along the way, and I know I like who I am now more than the person I thought I had to pretend to be for many of those decades….even though they ended up being virtually the same person. I see much value in you and your life, and I see the evolution in Chipur over the years. You are an amazing author. Somehow I suspect you will continue to build upon the framework you’ve constructed in the first 60 years, and that is an amazing structure.

    • Chipur August 23, 2015, 6:42 pm

      And you are an amazing boost to my self-esteem and inspiration. Boy, keep those comments comin’. I mean, heck. (Aside from your references to me), you speak with great wisdom and maturity. Kind of what happens when you work as hard as so many of us have and do – and have hung around for a few decades, or so. And, yes, I will continue to build – personally and here on Chipur.

      Thank You, Patricia…