Is it happiness, is it contentment, is it satisfaction with oneself or just peace of mind?
To me, it is a combination of all of those. It was when I had the realization that if it is all over and I have reached the end of my life right here, right now, it would be OK. For I was happy and content, satisfied with my life, and had total peace of mind.
So when did I have such an epiphany? It was just in 2017 while we were down in Tucson and camped out for two glorious nights in our Airstream Trailer at the Gilbert Rey Campground in Tucson Mountain Park.
Let me put it all in perspective. It is about 10:00 PM. My wife is inside reading or on her iPad while I am sitting outside alone under a brilliant starlit sky in a comfortable folding chair. Here I sit contented enjoying a fine MonteCristo Cuban cigar my daughter brought home for me from her trip to Cuba and sipping from a glass of single malt scotch. No, it is not a big name expensive brand of single malt scotch, in fact, it is just a cheap $20 bottle from Trader Joes, but it is surprisingly good, and it is delicious with the cigar.
The temperature is a very comfortable 75 degrees, and there is no wind. From where I am sitting, I am looking out on to a starlit open desert, and as far as I can see, there is only desert plant life and some mountains far in the distance. There are no visible lights. About fifty feet almost directly in front of me is a majestic Saguaro cactus, and I am captivated by its rugged and majestic beauty. It is about forty feet tall with three perfectly formed upright branches and in seemingly perfect health.
I don’t remember why I started, but I was sitting there peacefully drinking and smoking for about a half hour mostly staring at the cactus, and I began to reflect on my life and how incredibly lucky I have been. I remember thinking at first about how fortunate I was to have somehow finished high school without being thrown into jail for all the stupid and many times, illegal things I did. And then following that, to be able to survive over five years in the Marine Corps with many months of harrowing combat experience and manage to come through it all without with any lasting mental or physical issues. In fact, my time in the Marine Corp was probably the best thing for me as it helped me where I needed help the most, to grow up and mature.
Then afterward, I was able to put myself through college without any assistance from my family and where I met a beautiful woman, I fell in love with and married. We have since been happily married for almost 57 years while raising two wonderful children that have blessed us with five terrific grandchildren. Also, I remember reflecting on how as crazy as it may sound, I don’t ever remember ever having an actual fight with my wife.
Following five various jobs that I struggled through while attending college, I was incredibly lucky to land a job with IBM where I was able to advance from engineering to senior marketing management positions in the USA and Asia. I was even luckier to be able to spend the last four years of my career with IBM before I retired with full benefits, running a higher education philanthropy program where I gave money away to colleges and universities like some Santa Claus.
Since then, life has continued to be good. We have done a great deal of international traveling, and there is still plenty of money left to keep us both going for the foreseeable future, and I am almost through my Bucket List. Sure we both have had some health issues like most people our age, but we made it through them. I was even was able to get through quadruple bypass surgery back in 2001 without any follow on ramifications. And now other than the usual senior aches and pains neither of us has any major problems.
So, what is left? Maybe it would be nice to buy a nice house on the water somewhere and buy myself another Porsche however, why? I’ve been there and already done that in fact, I have done almost everything I have ever wanted to do or ever dreamt of doing.
That is when the thought hit me. What if this was the end for me, right here right now. And I remember thinking clearly it would be all right. That is what is Bliss!