Home > Reflection > What Was I Ever Thinking?

What Was I Ever Thinking?

What is this young boy wondering?


Today is my birthday, which for me is a good time to take stock of my life and all the twists and turns, planned and mostly unplanned that brought me to where I am, this very moment in fact, sitting in front of a computer screen in my swivel chair writing a blog post.  If someone were to tell me a mere 5 years ago I’d be writing material for public consumption on such a thing as a blog, I would have said, “Me?  Impossible!”  I have never imagined myself as a writer.  Truth is, I still do not fancy myself as one.  There are far more people out there with so much more talent and skill who truly earn the right to be called writers.  I’m more of an interloper of sorts.  But that’s not the point.  I digress.  Again! Dammit, I need to work on better introductory paragraphs.  See?  Told you I wasn’t a good writer!

As I stare at that picture of me as a young boy, a few thoughts pop into my head.  Random thoughts of course.  I keep looking at that picture and wondering, what was that young boy thinking?  How did he imagine the world to be, and how did he picture being a part of it when he grew up?  What did he dream about?  Things were so much simpler then.


So I wonder, what was this young adult in his early twenties thinking?  What dreams were circulating about his mind?  How did he imagine his future to be?  Could he imagine having a wife, a family of his own, a career?  What would his life be like say oh, 30 or so years into the future?


I now sit and look at those eyes and can’t help but wonder, what are you thinking?  What are you dreaming about?  How’s the future look to you?  Who are you?  How has your life turned out so far?  What’s next?

Live in the present and look forward to the future.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love to reminisce as much as the next fellow, but my mind and body are built to move in forward gear.  I never cared much for neutral or reverse.  So rather than wax sentimental, let me dream of the next 30 or so years and perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to post another picture of my eyes then.  I imagine those old and tired eyes will still be twinkling as they wonder about the future and what it will hold.

I’ll leave you with the closing lines from William Cullen Bryant’s poem titled Thanatopsis.  Amazing stuff about living and dying from someone who was 17 at the time it was conceived and updated for the following verse when he was 27.  This is an example of what a real writer with a gift can do – far better stuff than I could ever write:

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but sustain’d and sooth’d
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Good advice. Now go out there and LIVE, so you will have no regrets!

  1. October 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Great eyes through the years, good thoughts and advice, and you are a wonderful writer!

    Happy Birthday Phil!!

    • October 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      Wow Carol, you sure are fast! Thanks for being a steady friend and reader. I write mostly for my own amusement, but it’s always nice when someone else enjoys those rambling random thoughts swirling about in my mind.

  2. October 12, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Yes, Phil, thoughts will swirl. Which is why they should be kept caged, in an aquarium, a dark broom cupboard or banned all together. Thoughts do your head in.

    What does the boy think? Who knows. It’s between him and the camera.

    Don’f fret over the writing. You write. I sometimes clean the house. Doesn’t make me a cleaner; though I bloody damn well clean to a shine and a sparkle.

    Many happsy bappsy returns of the days (don’t google babbsy – just made it up for you and your eyes only).

    Since you qualify as a well balanced libran I’ll try not to tip the scales,


    • October 13, 2011 at 12:05 am

      Well now, I’ve never had anyone make up a word just for me and my eyes only. That’s pretty special and a first. I just hope I don’t get all clingy now. Thanks Ursula.

  3. October 13, 2011 at 12:08 am

    –Happy Birthday!

    I knew your eyes would be sweet & kind. I just knew it.

    Abundantly Beautiful. X

    HAPPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Phil. ((((The world is better with you in it….))))

    • October 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

      Aw, shucks now. You’re gonna make me blush if you are any sweeter with your comments. Thanks Kim. It’s been a fun birthday.

  4. October 13, 2011 at 5:58 am

    May you have the happiest of days, my friend–every day, not just today, but especially today. Thank your parents for me. I’m really glad that they brought you into this world and I’m sending a big Thanks! up to whomever is listening for letting us bump into each other in this place where neither of us ever imagined ourselves to be a few short years ago.

    Clever idea to just show your eyes. They do speak volumes and twinkle mega-watts! 😉

    Do something unexpected and tell us all about it… I’ll do the same on my birthday, which is coming up in a month.

    • October 13, 2011 at 8:12 am

      Lorna, thank you! Every day is filled with unexpected things – that’s the fun. I visited another friend’s blog yesterday and commented how I enjoyed the pictures were she had taken from her phone. Pictures from a phone? I stared at that sentence and thought once again, I could have never imagined such a thing coming out of my mouth 20 years ago. So who knows where we’ll be 20 years from now? May as well enjoy the ride.

  5. October 13, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Amen to that! Good post.

    • October 13, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Thank you ladyfi. I believe that was my very first Amen to any of my posts. Any more and I might be tempted to pass around the collection plate.

  6. October 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I enjoy your blog and this reflection. What was/am I thinking. It’s so easy to be unaware as we truck through life. Have a wonderful birthday and a creative new year of life. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • October 14, 2011 at 1:01 am

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I agree with you. It’s really important to catch ourselves before getting lost in the distraction and chaos of our lives. Not an easy habit to develop, but well worth the effort.

  7. Val
    October 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Happy birthday, Phil! And I have something here for you (which you can accept or not, as you please). 🙂

    I will ponder your life questions… in the meantime I will look towards the future. (And occasionally glance at the past, as is my wont. or dont or whatever. Thingy.)

    • October 14, 2011 at 1:15 am

      As my good luck would have it, I need to travel out of town for a while, so I can avoid my responsibilities related to the award. 🙂

      Val, I’m very grateful for the recognition and nod of approval. Coming from you means a lot to me. Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of the pass-along awards, even though I recognize their value to fledgling writers looking for followers. It’s just that I’m already pressed for time as it is, and I write only as the mood strikes me, while these awards tends to put a bit of pressure to act. So I respectfully will pass on this honor and hope you will understand.

      • Val
        October 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm

        I do understand as I feel much the same myself! 🙂

  8. October 14, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I came by after reading the wonderful comment you left on my post about my grandson’s death. Thank you.

    I like your style, the way you craft your words. I wonder if we’re around the same age, as the same thoughts have been in my mind.

    So that being said I’m clicking the box “notify me of new posts via email”


    • October 14, 2011 at 1:29 am

      Teri, thanks for stopping by. I can’t tell you how much I was struck and deeply moved by that post. It was raw with emotion. You never know what you will find when you click on links on comments, bringing you into the hearts and minds of others. Fascinating place this WordPress community. Of course as luck would have it for you, I’m heading out of town for a few days, so not much happening with your notifications from me at least.

      So… you’re wondering about my age. Let’s just say I’m early 30’s, with oh… about 20 or so years of experience. 😉

      How about you? 🙂

      • October 14, 2011 at 1:34 am

        Hey, I like that phrasing! I think I may steal it as a matter of fact. I’m thirty with about 19 years of experience. 🙂

        I know, I love following the links as well. One never knows what awaits.

        Enjoy your time away!

  9. October 14, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Whoops, I forgot to thank you again. The post is something I can’t even read all the way through. I wrote it last year and never even proof read it, but I still put it up one more time. People just don’t have a clue as to what can happen with something like that. I miss him every day. My last grand kids came in three pairs. Only a couple of months separating them. Only now one is missing.

  10. October 14, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Belated happy birthday, Phil!

    Good advice – Some of us don’t know how to live. You may not acknowledge it but you’re a writer and a very good one at that. One of the few who I care to visit (I’ve been afflicted with inertia so have been inactive in both reading blog posts and ”writing” but I hope to recover one day soon).

    • October 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

      Thank you Earthianne. Be careful about that inertia thing. I hear that Newton was wrong about his theory. It now seems to be observed that a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to come to rest as well…

      I’m sure you’ll once again find your stride and pace. I was wondering why I hadn’t read anything new from you. Go out there and do something new and interesting – I’m sure it will inspire you to write afterwards.

  11. October 14, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Well, Happy Birthday to ya, Phil!

    I missed the party and dang it, if this bazooka ain’t working. 🙂
    I wish you plenty more and that your eyes keep smiling. 🙂

    • October 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Totsy! So glad you’ve returned safe and sound. The party just wasn’t the same without you around to liven it up…

  12. October 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

    I tend to brood about the past way too much.

    Your advice to keep looking forward is something I need to remember. I used to be that way, when I was 20-something. Now I wax sentimental way more than I should.

    Happy Belated Birthday to you.

    And here’s an Irish birthday blessing for you.

    May your glass be ever full.
    May the roof over your head be always strong.
    And may you be in heaven half an hour before the
    devil knows you’re dead.

    • October 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Thank you for that Irish blessing – now where’s that pint?

      I think it’s easier as we get older to wax sentimental, since we have far more memories in the collection than we had at 20-something. As long as you don’t let yesterday take up too much of today, you should be fine. After all, you don’t want to wake up 30 years from now and regret that you didn’t create 30 years worth of new and fun memories for you to reflect upon then.

  13. October 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Happy Birthday Phil!! I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating!
    Wonderful post, and a great quote at the end.
    Hugs, Nikki
    ps…would you like to be added to my birthday calendar for next year’s?

    • October 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Thank you Nikki. If you wish, feel free to add me to your birthday calendar.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Tell me, what's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: