For the rest of my days, I would carry with me the knowledge of regrets and failings that I dared not speak of. It was a silent burden that I struggled to articulate even to myself or mostly avoided.
I believed that it was not about perfection. Though I had failed, as we all do, to be perfect, the sting of regret that I felt was not about imperfections. Imperfections were forgivable. Imperfections could be justified, rationalized. They could be acknowledged, corrected, and made up for. But those failings that I could barely acknowledge to myself were, so it seemed, beyond my power to remedy. I had no excuse for myself. There was no explanation.
In private moments when I sensed my knowledge of things that I could not change about myself, I felt the emotional weight of my circumstance. Sometimes it moved me to the brink of tears. Those were moments of deep sorrow for me, and the sorrow overflowed my capacity to reason. I held back my tears in silence. I could have wailed, if I were the kind of person to whom wailing came easily.
It was transient, this sorrow. It passed over me from time to time like a thundercloud, cumulus and threatening. I did not live day-to-day in that cloud. It did not dominate my life, though it would never leave me and I knew that a few moments of reflection might encourage it to form again in my consciousness.
The proof of my failure was my inability to speak of it even to those who were closest to me. It would remain hidden, an entirely private burden that could neither be lifted nor put down.
Some other stuff for later,
- 78I wondered sometimes whether I would lead my life any differently if I knew how old I was. It was a question not unique to exile, but in the time of exile, age was defined by death. At a younger age death had been more abstract than it now seemed.…
- 68I have been reading some of my early posts to this blog, many of which focused on aging, or to be more specific, focused on the ideas of “successful” aging and on what it meant to retire and to grow into a new way of life as an older person.…
- 66She surprises me every time she shows her face, and yet she has always been with me. Now that I am in exile, I know that she is closer, though perhaps she has always been this close. It may be that the only thing that is different now is that…
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