Today I am 30 years old. As I look back on this life I see a vibrant, at times turbulent and miserable, potpourri of experience. I am reminded of a couple of poems. The first:
By Edgar Allen Poe
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—
And the second:
“The Men That Don’t Fit In”
By Robert W Service
There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.
These wonderful poems used to describe me. I identified with them. Now life is about drawing happiness and sorrow from a common well, and maintaining serenity, mindfulness, and peace.
Looking forward I can say that i finally see hope. I have found new purpose, and with it new direction. Compassion and generosity are becoming a way of life that gives me a joy I did not know i could have simply by reaching out to and for others. I look around and feel love now. I have a long way to go, but by living this way i can be there before I get there. I draw inspiration from the random acts of kindness I witness daily, and it gives me courage to do what i never thought was possible. I am grateful for everything I am given, and look forward for what’s to come, good or bad.