Monday, October 18, 2010

Traveling Up the River

Kaaterskill Creek Bend in Palenville, NY

Sometimes it seems like before you can move forward you have to swim against the current and up the river.  You go back to to find it's source and to gain better understanding of yourself.  In so doing, you begin to unravel the complexity of what defines you and why.

As beautiful as New England is I also understand why I chose to leave.  In the town I grew up, there was no future, there was no hope for someone like me.  It was during the tough times of adolescence that I formulated my strategy to leave and chase all of my dreams.  It was about opportunity and my desire to succeed.  

Already my moral compass pointed due north.  I watched some of my classmates succumb to peer pressures:  drugs and alcohol.  I didn't want to risk the wrath of my father and compromise my future.  I didn't want to add to my troubles and miss out on my dreams.  Always in the back of my mind, loomed the constant reminder that we were winding down a war, but my draft number was 65.   It seemed inevitable, either the factories or the war could get you.

Some of my classmates insist that I was intelligent.  To this day, I deny it.  It was simply fear and my desire to survive that kindled my ambition and perceived intelligence.  To that extent, by my own admission, I am a fraud.  Fear of failure motivated me for most of my journey.  It never was about pursuing my passion nor academic excellence.

While fear served me well, I've come to the realization that it no longer drives me.  Pursuing my passion is now my catalyst.  Doing this requires letting go of my fears;  the engine that drove my life for nearly a half a century.

So here I sit in New England getting reacquainted with friends forgotten.  I am trying to rekindle new sources of motivation and confidence that will drive the second half of my life.  Looking for clues and reminders of my success and learning to let go of what drove me most, fear.

Nothing has change but everything has changed.  I wont be buried in the peaceful cemetery  that graces our beloved Winchester Center.  That cemetery will not be home for me.  I will have a different home and a different journey, but I will not rest there.


  1. Wonderful, simply wonderful. I understand that drive to go beyond. To do for what you think your destiny is aching for you to do, though you don't really know what it is except that you do it. It connects with me.

    Like how you incorporated the images within, that connection. Very nice Al.

  2. It's so fascinating to hear your perspective since I only had a glimpse of who you were then and now you are rounding out the picture. You were wise to leave, that town seems to have more than it's share of tragedy.
    Pursuing your passion seems to be suiting you well!


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