OPINION: It Is What It Is

I, just like all of you, have spent my life accepting things. Yes, and without really thinking about it, I accepted a great many things. When at night I looked into the night sky, I accepted the presence of all those beautiful points of light, the stars. When I awakened each morning, and as I looked into the eastern sky, I accepted the new day's bright morning sun whose light washed across my face.

For many years and in oh so very many dreams, I learned the art of acceptance. There were mornings when I awoke and wiped away the frightened tears from my cheeks. Through all those times, those cold winter mornings and warm summer days, I accepted things for what they were. Some days were sad, and some were happy, and both were accepted.

I have always tried to assess and accept my limitations. I often tried to push the limits of those shortcomings, but when all was said and done, I accepted the end results. Now that I have fallen into the latter years of my existence, I find that my failings have become far more apparent but, once again, I accept that.

When the water in the creek flowed fast and high, I accepted the watery barrier, and when the rains didn't come and the creek bed was dry and parched, I crossed over to the other side and also accepted that.

I accepted the bitterly cold February days that stung my hands and seemed to never end, and I accepted the hot, dry August winds that warmed my face.

I accept the realization that my life has gone through some very apparent changes over the last decade or so. I guess I can put these changes into two categories, the "mores" and the "lesses."

In the "lesses" category, I can place the lack of memory. I have less recollections of the days, weeks, months, and years before. I often spend minutes and even hours trying to recall what I did last week, often to no avail. However, there are "more" days when I am not saddened by bad memories.

There are fewer birthday and Christmas cards to send out as many of my friends and far too many loved ones have passed away. I suppose, of all the "lesses," this must be the one that haunts me the most. I miss all those folks I once knew so very well. But I accept all of these "mores" and "lesses." I suppose one might argue that I have very little or no choice in some of the matters, but then I might state that we all have choices to make, there are always options available to us.

I would be remiss if I led you to think that all that has been my life were sad moments and tragedies. I had a wonderful childhood, and I can still recall the names and faces of my good friends. I accepted the hand in marriage of my high school sweetheart, and I can't begin to count the wonderful times we spent together.

I've done some bad things throughout the course of my life, but I accepted them and the ensuing repercussions. Looking back on those events, they were most often the result of incredible stupidity but, yes, I accept that evaluation as well.

However, nobody is all bad or, for that matter, all good now, are they? Therefore, I'll confess that I have done some good things as well. Granted, those, as I have labeled them, good things might be few and far between, they were real and, although easier to do, I also accepted them.

I accepted the birth of two sons, both of whom grew into fine adults. There were so very many times when I was so proud of them. I accepted those special moments but, if I were to express a regret, it would be that I didn't tell them about the pride I had for them often enough. However, I have come to accept that shortcoming.

For the past seventy-three years, I have accepted the pain because I knew happiness would follow. When there were storms, I accepted the rain because I knew the sun would soon follow. That's just the way of life, and I accepted it for what it was. But what about now and the days ahead?

I, and without any doubt, have more free time to do absolutely nothing. There are far more early morning aches and pains to deal with as I stumble from my bed. I have more lonely dark nights as I sit in my favorite chair, all alone and with nobody to share thoughts of the day with. All these moments are accepted.

There have been times in my life when I didn't, at least initially, accept the quite predictable outcome to a situation. In those instances, I believe that the lack of acceptance was quite normal and predictable; however, I now feel as though my lack of acceptance merely prolonged the pain I experienced. I doubt that I could have felt differently, but from a realistic perspective, my lack of acceptance was futile at best.

I accept dying for what it is, the end of all I am and all I know. It's not as though I didn't know the day would eventually come but, until just recently, I hadn't given the idea much thought. I guess the recent brain surgery caused me to stop and think, at least as much as thinking is possible.

The surgery on my brain has changed me and my life, and the Leukemia diagnosis means that there will come a day when I look back with envy on the days when I felt well. However, I accept all those things for what they are and for what it is, just part of life.

My oldest son frequently, and quite appropriately, described situations beyond one's control with just a few well-chosen words. "It is what it is." Well said, David.

-- Stan Fine is a retired police officer and Verizon Security Department investigator who, after retiring in 2006, moved from Tampa, Fla., to Noel. Stan's connection to Noel can be traced back to his grandparents, who lived most of their lives there. Stan began writing after the passing of his wife Robin in 2013. The opinions expressed are those of the author.