By Bob Docter –
I think I have almost come to terms with who I am,
with this multi-layered complexity called my self.
I have moved from rejecting righteous assistance from others
to an accepting self-awareness of many of my own inabilities.
Now, stiff joints and small pains mean something other
than wicked weeds and tedious persons.
Even emerging from a car takes on characteristics
of significant triumph and horrendous hassle.
Moment by moment of every day the frame that pins me together
joins a frontal lobe misfire and an oft used word frighteningly
flees to remind me that I now live in Erikson’s final stage of life:
the choice between integrity and despair.
I reject despicable despair and its debilitating hopelessness.
It is nothing more than surrender to psychological suicide
and its accompanying withdrawal from joy and love
for and from others. Life disappears as hope is stifled.
No, I tend to resonate toward living a complete life, a fully
integrated life combining my physical, mental, emotional,
social and spiritual self into a complete, but
imperfect and very human me.
Making the challenging choice for integrity places certain demands
on every part of me—I desire my time to be spent purposefully,
my relationships to be warm, loving, actively helping, generous
in giving, and non-judgmental.
I seek to enjoy my memories while not dwelling on them. The past
is “a bucket of ashes,” cold in the fireplace, but waiting
for the next fire called “tomorrow.” I seek to learn from the past,
live in the present, and prepare for the future.
A life needs a lot of love. Love comes in many flavors. It is not limited
nor shrunken as it spreads its rich, soft perfume across one’s
landscape. Love is a circuit, two wires allowing directional transmission
one going out the other in to give 110 joy volts.
My volt meter erupted when I met this stunning, dark haired, quick
witted beauty named Diane. Romance flowered and lives on today.
Three summers later we married and, over time, built a family of six
wonderful people who gave us 15 grandchildren and one great grandson.
They helped me move through the loss, first, of my father, then, 30 years
later, my mother. My twin brother and I happily move through life
autonomously yet together, sharing the joys, sorrows and tears
of a tight family still loving the Army and reaching out to “others.”
I have two jobs. I love them both. I refuse to be stereotyped or classified by
some developmental chart, yet, I know that there will come a time when
I will want to stop work. I will never retire. Now, working is my high.
However, Erikson’s final goal will require some adjustments.
My goal is his. I am rapidly achieving “being through having been (Erikson).
I, however, am not quite ready to be identified in the “having been” slot. That day
will come, soon perhaps, but not right now. Its arrival will require me
“to redefine my worth in terms of something other than my work roles” (Peck).
My life has afforded me many opportunities and positions of importance. My
memory book is heavy. The Army has provided me with consulting opportunities
that have enriched me in multiple dimensions. These experiences gave me
the skills, self-confidence and an orientation to life that includes God.