I have never been prone to sweeping unpalatable truths under the rug.

Several years ago I googled my life expectancy and immediately made plans to retire, money or not.

That was me in September, 2009.

Four months later, in January of 2010, I developed an infection that migrated from the esophagus into my spinal column and went dangerously misdiagnosed for several months.

feeble me 2010During that time, even while struggling to teach my final semester on campus, I was frequently immobilized with excruciating back pain, and the net result was that – in addition to dropping 30 lbs – muscles atrophied from lack of use and I lost all my upper body strength.

On the left is emaciated me on one of the few days when I could climb out of bed for an hour or two.

To date I still have not returned to normal; in fact, my back & chest & shoulders look side-tent freakish due to the absence of normal bulk & contour.

I have since then, of course, retired.  And I’ve been aimlessly traveling and taking photographs for seven months now.  Many gasp and look at me with raised eyebrows when they learn how many miles I’ve logged and how many states I’ve traversed.  They seem to think that such nonsense is unbecoming to one in his declining years – as if it is more dignified to curl up on a couch with bonbons and a remote!

But vegetating makes as much sense to me as climbing up on the edge of a casket and idly killing time until the Undertaker arrives.

Bottom line, as I see it:

WHEN YOUR BUCKET OF LIFE IS MORE EMPTY THAN NOT,GET OFF YOUR ASS & KICK IT INTO WHATEVER GEAR YOU’VE GOT LEFT!