The time has come for us to pause. And think of living as it was. Into the future we must cross (must cross). And I’d like to go with you. And I’d like to go with you. The time we borrowed from ourselves. Can’t stay within a vaulted well. And living turns into the lender’s well. So let me come with you. And let me come with you.”
–Genesis / Jorma Kaukonen.
BACK ON March 13th, 1956 Leon & Sylvia Elveson gave birth to their only son who they named Joel. 60 years later I (Joel Elveson) am writing this article as a looking back/looking forward/taking stock piece. Narrowly translated this means OH NO I’VE HIT THE BIG 60 and quite frankly I am scared, sad and blue. Scared because my father (of blessed memory passed away at age 65) leaving me to wonder has my clock started its countdown. Blue because in my mind I still have so many things I have to do but can’t seem to get myself to do them. Sad because I miss all those who have passed away who in one form or another were such a big part of my life.
So here I go to the looking forward part. I look forward to writing more articles, branching out into short stories, song writing, learning to play that guitar that has been sitting in its case in my bedroom for far too many years now but most of all using my words to hopefully touch and inspire (I never thought or think of myself as somebody who provides inspiration to others. The fact is I am very UN self-centered.) as many people as I can with the hope I can make some sort of positive difference to whomever or whatever.
Taking stock in where I am is a bit of a daunting task since I am not quite sure where I am in too many aspects of my life. So many conflicting emotions &/or feelings as to who I am, think I should be , want to be and more. Does taking stock mean tidying up your past years so as to pass on easily leaving no burden for others?
Looking back is the easy part as I continue to delve into my own psyche on my 60th birthday. So many wonderful things to look back on in terms of great places I lived such as Long Beach, New York, The Bronx, New York, Rego Park, New York and Santa Rosa California where I was almost arrested for JAY WALKING! The officer would not accept my explanation that I am a transplanted New Yorker and that in one part of the city (Manhattan) jay walking is as common as practically anything that is common.
I know I have mentioned my beloved wife Ann, my son Lee, and of course Juice the cat so I want to me redundant how in looking back they were and are such big pieces to my puzzle. Looking back I can remember how my mother had to crush up aspirin (St. Joseph Baby Aspirin) because I did not know how to swallow pills so she so melted them with water and mixed them into apple sauce. To this day I WILL NOT eat apple sauce.
OH NO I’VE HIT THE BIG 60! If I make it through this decade the next one (the 70’s which is interesting because the 70’s were a not one of my favorite decades in many respects) is even more iffy. Does anybody infer from this article that I am scared to be 60? 60 seem to be such a final number or that’s just how it feels.
Moving along back into the looking forward part I do have this crazy idea in my head about getting my driver’s license again and eventually (if I can afford one) buying a car. I think it would be fun to be behind the wheel listening to music or the news or an all sports talk radio station. That would be a kick! For that matter riding a bicycle would be as well. Getting my heart rate up, burning calories, strengthening my legs and ultimately losing all this weight I have to lose. This health thing may have something to it. Okay I admit it I am drinking Soy chocolate milk in place of chocolate milk made with chocolate syrup. Scary to be drinking the “hard stuff.”
Taking stock I also realize in my case means making better food choices, getting my sugar under control and adding the dreaded dentist onto my ample list of doctors I see. My last visit to the dentist was years before my son (he is 29 years old now) was born so that should give you an idea how long it has been. Novocaine injections scare me due to the pain a s does the prospect of the dental surgery I know I am going to need. Being a coward/procrastinator when it comes to my health is something I have become quite good at.
What I am doing with this article is going back and forth between the present, past and future to give you my loyal readers a feeling of (I love you guys!) the emotional roller coaster I am riding this evening. So far I have been climbing upwards but not reaching the top, come rumbling down without crashing into the bottom. The world’s first extreme but too extreme roller coaster is now on display before your very eyes.
OH NO I’VE HIT THE BIG 60! If this was a reality TV show I would hate to see the ending but the other parts would have some real entertainment value in that you would be moved from many moods each episode or sometimes during the same episode. Except this is a real person in real life talking about life in a new stage of life.
Without question this has been the most difficult article I have ever written. So much to say that I thought I would say but didn’t say. So much was said without saying very much since I had trouble saying what I wanted to say. There is probably more I can say to help capture all of the feelings I am feeling but this is not a novel and I am not yet Ernest Hemingway?
And I won’t be laughing at the lies when I’m gone. And I can’t question how or when or why when I’ gone. Can’t live proud enough to die when I’m gone. So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”
–”When I’m Gone” / Phil Ochs
I chose to close with lyrics from the late great singer-songwriter Phil Ochs whose life was always one that fascinated me and whose music and style evolved and changed as did his life as is mine.
OH NO I’VE HIT THE BIG 60! Thank you all for journeying with me tonight. It was a pleasure having you along for the ride!