Reflections on Life, Leadership, Mindfulness, Change, and other Important Stuff

Tag: midlife

Half-Way Man

Daylight breaks,

upon the shore,

the emerald seas,

are calm once more;


Gulls soaring

cross bluest skies,

and children playing,

a baby cries;


Sea and sand,

waft on the breeze,

Creation yawns

her waking ease;


Along the shore,

this young man walks

perhaps with his gods,

he surely talks;


Pondering long,

His future bright,

Or could it be,

his worldly plight?


Bare feet washed

by the wave,

This solitude,

his longing gaze;


And from behind

he hears that voice,

tender she calls,

make now, thy choice;


A gray man fishing

there on the shore

Casting his lines,

surf’s gentle roar;


No sound makes he,

this wrinkled man

his shoulders bent,

his body tan;
He turns to watch,

the passing man,

and nods his head,

Some thing in hand;


And watching him,

this passerby,

nods in return,

and wonders why;


From the east,

the sun beats down,

This universe,

ever spinning round;


Footprints fading,

Behind his path,

Half-way now,

he’s done the math;


Waters creep,

the tides they strain

The voice draws near,

her clear refrain;


The dolphins diving

in their seas green,

Plumbing depths,

In dreams he’s seen;


The gulls they screech,

all filled with pride,

Sandpipers racing,

the relentless tide;


The sun now risen,

nigh at it’s peak

This half-way man

can finally speak;


Clouds in the distance,

Not far away,

The lightening cracks,

What does it say?
This half-way man,

must still pursue,

not something different,

yet something new.

Whispers of the Heart

He greeted the throbbing pain like an old friend, a reminder of things past.  This morning would be no different than the others.  He would wake and say hello to his back, sit on the side of the bed, test the knee before rising, then hobble to the kitchen and plop a pod in the coffee maker.  He would wait there, silent at the alter, until it poured out its offering, then begin to take tentative sips before it cooled. He liked his coffee hot and had paid the price for his impatience so many times.  Some habits never die, he thought.


The man wasn’t old, but he had punished his body over the years and now it was returning the favor.  It didn’t matter.  He didn’t regret the decisions he had made. Life was too short and he had things to do.  Places to go.  When he was a younger man he would bolt from the bed, driven by the ghosts of inadequacy and approval, and go hunting for something to feed his hunger.  And though no longer woke with the same urgency, he still went hunting.  Now he just knew where to look.  It was right there, every morning, just like the pain in his back and knees, deep inside him.


Cooper had let go of a lot of things.  He no longer strained at the bit for the next promotion, the next raise, or to meet the endless cycle of quarterly performance expectations.  He did his job well, yet his past dissatisfaction had become a good teacher.  It had taken him a while to realize it contentment couldn’t be found in the things he once chased, or more accurately, that chased him.  Looking back, he realized he had often felt like a hunted animal.  Wide-eyed. Pounding heart. Heaving chest.


The ghosts still came back to chase him from time to time.  But now, because he listened, he could hear them coming, chase them away with a knowing smile.  There had been a time when he thought he knew contentment.  But he had long since realized he only knew about it. It hadn’t been the kind of deep-down-in-your belly kind of knowing that he now possessed.  Cooper had also known men who often spoke of peace and satisfaction.  Maybe they had it—had found it as much younger men.  Still, he suspected their lives were as full of restlessness and hunger as his had once been.  Or maybe not.  Not knowing was okay.


Popping the Aleve into his mouth, he washed them down with the cold remnants of his first cup of coffee.  He knew what time it was and realized he would need to get ready for work soon.  But not before he sat down to listen.  Protecting this time, letting go of the left side of his brain where the ghosts resided, he had learned was a discipline.  The barking dogs of doing always wanted more.  They wanted better.  They wanted different.  But from the silence of his chair, he would shoosh them.  He would sit and listen to the birds.  He would listen the roar of the passing cars.  But most of all, he would listen to the whispers of his heart.



A Son at Midlife

When I was a younger man

So many things I knew;

My father’s wisdom wasted

Like the drying dew;

So confident and full

In my inner glow;

The younger man I was

Who had so much to show;

There was no need for him

To point the proper way;

For the path was mine

To climb each dawning day.

Now at midlife I find

There’s little to regret.

Though I sometimes wonder

How much I made him fret;

I’m certain that I did

Perhaps I caused him pain;

Yet he always loved me

Hoped for me just gain;

Whatever path I chose

He cheered me all along;

Helped me find the lessons

If ever I did wrong;

Listened to troubles

If to confess I dared;

He never failed to show me

Just how much he cared;

My mother there beside him

She did the same its true;

The day will come without them

Whatever will I do?

The gifts they’ve always given

Will never fade too far;

I’ll feel them with me ever

In the bright and wondrous star;

I’ll hear them in the wind

And in the birds of spring;

The smells of fresh cut grass

Will all their wisdom bring;

In smiles and hugs from friends

Who knew them both so well;

We’ll share them in the stories

That we all will tell;

When I was a younger man

So many things I knew;

Their memories and their words

Will ever ring so true.