Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy Problem?

I could say it's a happy problem to have -- and yet it's not happy, it's nerve wracking at the moment. I realized that my passport which was issued in 2000 and expires in 2010 [March specifically] does not have enough blank pages for the stamps I will acquire during my upcoming trip to Africa safari-ing. So I spent half an hour at a post office, getting the form and information from a knowledgeable and helpful clerk [!!] and sent it off to the office in Philadelphia with the word "Expedite" in red a couple of times" and a not inconsiderable check. Will it get back in time? I feel like a tight rope walker with no safety net now that the little booklet is floating somewhere through the postal system.

I'm very happy to have a passport with so many interesting stamps in it, and due to have more. I also like very much the nearly ten year old photograph -- it's still recognizably me even if the face has given way to various age-related collapses. I shall be very sad sometime in the next several months when I have to get new photos taken and apply for a totally new passport.

Last week I completed a swap letter/photo set called "a kind of senior moment" which showed a high school senior photo and a current photo, side by side, approximately the same size -- plus a letter with an outline of then and now. I looked at those very different pictures -- sure, the same person, but it was quite an interesting exercise to look at the two photos together .. one at 17, one a 70. Could have been worse. The point is the march of time is incontestable. At this age looking back, taking account, counting up the milestones happens more and more often. I think it needs to; this is a part of aging. Those who keep themselves too busy or distracted to look back are missing the chance to resavor the good and learn from the not-good in whatever various way it was not good... and there are so many ways a life can be both good and not-good. We all collect several examples in each basket. It brings to my mind an elderly woman I saw in Thailand with an old fashioned [as in illustrated books I saw as a child] carrying device which was a long pole carried across the shoulders with a basket dangling from either end. She had, I think, bananas on one side, guavas on the other. We have experiences, some very arbitrarily assigned.

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