What Does It Mean to Get Old?


Big Meadow Lake, Rio Grande National Forest, Colorado

To be old means: to stop in time at

            that place where the unique

            thought of a thought train has

            swung into its joint.

Martin Heidegger, “The Thinker as Poet”

I felt the urge tonight to send out a word to my readers and friends. My blogging has hit some recent snags for a couple of reasons. For one, my stay in the Colorado Rockies means struggling to find a steady Internet connection. But more importantly, positive changes have entered my life and I haven’t felt the need recently to read, write, journal, blog or make art. I have been living a quiet and very fulfilling existence since I arrived in this beautiful space.

Tonight I am enjoying the fireplace in my cabin. The windows are open to let in the cold mountain air. Outside it rains. And I’m comfortable under a blanket on the sofa, reading from Heidegger and scribbling for the first time in days in my journal. Hence, this desire to put something out on the blog.

I retired on June 3 after twenty-eight years of teaching in a public school. At this stage in my life, I am getting used to every day being as a Saturday. I no longer have a sense of weekends or a Monday morning call to work. And that is a very good thing. Even better is the sudden evaporation of deadlines and appointments.

As I reclined before the fire tonight, I thought back over my life and wondered what exactly it is now that is swinging “into its joint.” Earlier in this text, Heidegger wrote: “To think is to confine yourself to a single thought that one day stands still like a star in the world’s sky.” I wondered while scribbling in my journal what exactly served as my pole star throughout my years as a teacher. I settled on the notion that I set out long ago to live an artful life, to pursue beauty and seek ways to express it in word, in painting, in music, in friendship.

Now things are changing. My life at the moment is not clanging with the noise of calendar commitments. And I’m not under some kind of deadline gun at this point. And I’m finding it to be quite an adjustment, but one that I’m savoring with gratitude.

I apologize if this is a rambling post. I just felt the need to express this spirit of good will that I feel this evening. Thanks for reading.




16 Responses to “What Does It Mean to Get Old?”

  1. Almost Ready for Prime Time Says:

    Congratulations on connecting with your bliss. I recently experienced some of the same in one week of western wide open spaces, away from it all. Bring the feeling back with you and hang onto it, and it will help you past any rude awakening that might await upon re-entry into a less rarified atmosphere. I hope you don’t encounter such, but if it happens to you as it did me, a sense of peace does wonders to help take whatever it is in stride.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you. I know that life is comprised of the ebbs as well as flows. Currently things are tranquil and I am enjoying this state. I hope you continue to carry the western open-space bliss that you knew recently.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dian Darr Says:

    Beautifully stated! You will love and embrace this new era of your life. I think Heidegger expressed well how the thought process changes as the years advance. Now, we have the time to cherish each “thought train” as it swings into place. Often, thoughts don’t rumble and rush by in a hurry as they once did. I know now that I can experience them fully and enjoy the message! You are in a great place to begin this journey of retirement.


    • davidtripp Says:

      You wrote it so well, thank you. I never anticipated this slowing-down effect, and deeply appreciate what it is doing to my soul. All I can say is, it is different now, and I am embracing this. And I so appreciate you and Ron’s friendship, such a sustaining force throughout my recent decades.


  3. squirrel3189 Says:

    Sometimes random ramblings are the best words that you could pen. I am glad that you are exuberant with newnesses in your life.


  4. Lisa Gordon Says:

    It sounds like you are in a very, very good place.


  5. Kathy Pardell Says:

    David, I totally identify with your sentiments and have had the opportunity to blog about the same feelings. I too left teaching last year after 34 years and am trying to lead a creative life after the duties of teaching and motherhood. Now, with all the time in the world, it is an adjustment but every day becomes an exciting adventure just knowing that I can choose to do whatever I wish. It sounds like you are finding fulfillment and that is the goal. Congratulations!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for sharing your heart, Kathy. Isn’t it a wonderful new world, when we can retire and explore all those pastures we only gazed at from across the fence? I’m delighted to know that you are seeking your creative eros, and wish you the best as you continue to follow your bliss.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol Says:

    I am glad you are feeling such contentment in your retirement and surrounding yourself with places, people, books, and other things you love. Enjoy – you’ve earned it!


  7. What Does It Mean to Get Old? — David Tripp’s Watercolor Wanderings and Recollections – glow, grow, and pray Says:

    […] via What Does It Mean to Get Old? — David Tripp’s Watercolor Wanderings and Recollections […]


  8. Jay Haeske Says:

    Makes me look forward to my retirement days, although they are still quite a ways off.


  9. mywhethereport Says:

    I hope you continue to enjoy the serenity of retirement. You express it so well. Looking forward to it, a few years to go. The dos & don’ts -but, mostly the “don’t have tos” is what I look so forward to.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for posting such kind words. Retirement is even better than I anticipated, and I set the bar rather high. I wish you well as you prepare to cross that threshold, and hope you find it to be as wonderful as I have.


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