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Life's Lessons: With These Eyes I See

Updated on October 4, 2012

TAKING INVENTORY

The hair is grayer now. The once dark brown has all but disappeared, replaced with a snowy mantle that marks the passage of time. Just as the leaves change colors in the Fall, I am now in the autumn of my life, and my time on Earth is marked by the subtle changes that are occurring. It is as it should be!

The stride is slightly shorter now; it is no longer the hectic covering of distance but rather the careful measuring of appreciation that is much more precious than it once was. That, too, is as it should be!

The muscles, once sinewy, young and strong, now find that time has robbed them of unlimited possibilities, and yet they still carry the body well, moving forward despite obstacles, and that is as it should be!

The bones, those precious pillars of structure, may not be brittle yet but they now recognize that immortality is nothing more than a dream of the young and yes, that is as it should be!

The skin, once smooth and as beautiful a protective layer as one could imagine, is scarred and showing the lines of time and fate; still, those lines demonstrate a life well-lived and that, too, is as it should be!

A quick glance in the mirror, nothing more than a second or two in passing, still holds feint glimpses of that young man who firmly believed that life was his personal oyster, waiting only for him to shuck it. Stop in front of that mirror, though, and spend some time gazing, and the reality will hit home with the force of truth, that shucking season is coming to an end, and every moment is precious.

And oh my yes, that is as it should be!

These eyes have seen love!
These eyes have seen love! | Source
Contemplating the passage of time
Contemplating the passage of time | Source

THESE EYES

They have witnessed much, these eyes of mine. They have seen villages napalmed, animals slaughtered, rioting in the streets of Freedomland, and life fade from loved ones. They have seen abuse, they have been blurred from over-indulgence, and they have cringed when forced to watch man’s inhumanity towards man. They have cried when confronted with scenes of injustice and almost closed permanently when the fight seemed to be too much to endure.

And yet….today they see signs of hope all around. They see a young mother lovingly nurture a new life; they see strangers reach out to those in need; and they see colors where once there was only gray.

These eyes see positives where once there was only bitterness and resentment, and they crinkle and shine when faced with love and compassion. Today they still cry, but the tears shed are as much because of love and empathy as from disgust and sadness.

THESE EARS

They have heard words of hatred over the years, these ears of mine. They have heard the sounds of bigotry and prejudice, the sounds of gunfire, and the muffled screams of indifference when all around there were cries for help.

They have heard the sounds of silence from those who should speak out, and they have heard the rhetoric of those who seek to divide and conquer.

Still, they have heard words of comfort for those who are lost or broken. They have listened to the sweet melodies of music created by artists in love with life, and they have rejoiced when the sweet spring wind has whispered in the trees and nature has responded with a chorus of tranquility.

And yes, they have heard the words “I love you” spoken to a crying infant and a dying man.

THIS MOUTH

With this mouth I have spoken words of anger, and chastised those who did not deserve it. This mouth has oozed sarcasm, dripped ridicule, and chosen negativity over positive energy. Armed with a workable knowledge of the English language this mouth has failed, at times, to live up to potential, and has sought plunder rather than compassion.

With experience comes enlightenment, however, and today this mouth can uplift those who need it desperately. This mouth can speak for those who have no voice, and can provide comfort and support for those who feel alone.

And yes, this mouth now says “I love you” loudly, clearly, and often.

Lessons in Life...The Video

THESE HANDS

These hands have delivered blows to fellow human beings, and have been instruments of waste and excess. They have torn down rather than built, defiled rather than created, and spent countless hours in pursuit of selfish endeavors.

And yet….these hands today find the beauty in a woman’s skin, and marvel at the texture of a flower petal. They reach out today to show compassion, and they lift up those who can no longer stand on their own. These hands are fully capable on this day of being the creators of beauty, the safe haven for a person in need of a hug, and the symbol of gentleness.

And yes, these hands can now express love to others through their touch.

THIS HEART

It beats strongly today, 75-80 beats per minute, the motor that propels this human vessel on its daily journey, and yet it is so much more than a mere engine. It weighs about ten ounces, made up of tissue and blood vessels, and yet it is so much more than a biological piece of the puzzle. This heart of mine has been a cold harbor, shut off from the world, a Middle Ages fortress defending against pain, and seemingly incapable of giving humanness.

Today….ah, today….today this heart can provide empathy for those who are suffering. This heart can open itself wide and be a haven of peace for those in need of shelter. This heart is capable today of being a shining example of all that is good about human beings and yes, today, this heart can, and does, love.

SO WHAT ARE THESE LESSONS IN LIFE?

What is wisdom? To this author, wisdom is the culmination of lessons learned over a lifetime. It has nothing to do with IQ or book smarts, and so much to do with an ability to look over the landscape of your life and extract lessons from that landscape. Is it possible to live a lifetime and not learn lessons from it? Does that level of cluelessness even exist?

As I near the celebration of my sixty-fourth year, I have found a natural desire to look back and learn from it all. What would be the point of any of it if I did not gain insight from it? I would just be one of millions of mammals who left a foot print and moved on, if not for the lessons learned.

So what have I learned?

I have learned that I have the ability to make this world a better place to live. I am not helpless nor am I without capabilities. I was given a body that is a marvel of engineering. I was given a mind capable of rational thinking. I was given willpower and determination with which to forge ahead despite obstacles and setbacks.

I have learned that what happens from this day forward is dependant, to a great degree, upon me and my actions. I can choose to be tossed about by the economic and political factors, or I can choose to meet them head on and find a path that frees me from outside influences.

I can choose to be an instrument of humility, or I can become one of the selfish, egocentric masses who only see their needs as important.

I can choose to be a beacon of peace and compassion, or I can turn my back on a world desperately in need of caring human beings.

And yes, I can be the face of love, or I can choose to give up on my primary purpose in life.

What have I learned over the first sixty-four years? I have learned that I can move mountains. I have learned that I can overcome devastating hardships. I have learned that I am capable of so much more than I have accomplished to date.

And I have learned that there is nothing more important in life than love!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, I am grinning from ear to ear. I have received some beautiful comments today, as I do all days, but this one really did have my heart singing. Thank you dear lady. You are the best of the best.

      love always,

      bill

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      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Dear billy - Your hubs are vitamins for the spirit. They should be read once a day or more as needed. In fact, I am working on a hub entitled "Vitamins For The Spirit" and you are the star.

      To coin a phrase, "You are the inspiration beneath my wings." Voted across and sharing!

      Blessings - Audrey

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frogy, that was such a nice thing for you to write. Thank you sincerely! What good is life if we can't learn from it, eh?

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

      Your perceptive and experienced words are almost poetic, thoughts of truth expressed beautifully. Your writing was wonderful, thought provoking, but I enjoyed hearing you read these words also. Thank you for sharing the depth of your maturity!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! I always appreciate your visits.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

      Voted up and well done, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lady_E, thank you so much for the visit. I can't imagine not growing along the journey. How boring that must be!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      Beautiful and thought provoking. No one is perfect. Life is a journey and I like that your journey has only progressed. Brilliant share.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha, and of course you are correct, it was easy to write, and very important to me. Thank you for understanding that; only someone of compassion would be able to see that.

      We have many years ahead of us to share in life! I am looking forward to it.

      love,

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, this has just become my favorite billybuc hub. Your words, so eloquently spoken, come from your soul. I can see you standing outside yourself assessing your life. You have come so far and should be utterly proud of yourself. I know you're at peace; I felt it with each word on this page. I sense this hub was probably very easy for you to write because your soul guided you.

      Happy upcoming birthday to you my friend. I hope to share many more with you!

      Love ya lots,

      Sha

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will Pooja...thank you!

    • poojasd7 profile image

      poojasd7 4 years ago from India

      Thanks a lot Billy. The Blessing are much needed! :-) Have a great weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pooja! This one was very personal for me, and I am so happy that you enjoyed it. Sending blessings and peace to you this weekend.

    • poojasd7 profile image

      poojasd7 4 years ago from India

      How come I missed this masterpiece of yours? Such a wonderful description of your life journey, my dear friend! It gives the hope to the people who are struggling with certain things in life. Really wonderful writing with so much heart poured into it. :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rahul, you are so right about personal experiences. I am grateful that I have learned some valuable lessons in life. Thank you my friend!

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      Jessee R 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      So much learned ... and so much yet to learn from you Sir... the personal experiences one has in life are the best tutors .... and that makes one a trained professional on experience... and that one teacher is you

      Excellent hub...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bruce, first of all, thank you! Secondly, you are absolutely right....it took an awakening for me to realize what is truly important in life. I had to damn near die to wake up, but I'm awake now, and shouting from the mountaintops, and I'll keep sending this message out in hopes that others will come to the realization of what is truly important.

      Thank you for your kind words; you are a true gentleman, in the truest form of that word....a gentle man!

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 4 years ago from Asheville NC

      Dang Bill,

      This hub was so good and enjoyed by so many I had to hit the page down key to get to the bottom just so I could comment!

      " it is no longer the hectic covering of distance but rather the careful measuring of appreciation that is much more precious than it once was."

      Ah yes Bill, the careful measuring of appreciation. Only those who have truly experienced an "awakening" know the measurement of appreciation and...the misery we now cherish as blessings.

      I am thoroughly captivated by your "creative generalism" as docmo said.

      This peice is a reminder that "God takes us into deep water not to drown us, but to cleanse us." - Unknown

      We share a part of the collective heart and soul my friend.

      You inspire me!

      Very, very well done!

      Your friend,

      Bruce

      Voted up and shared!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shruti; you are a caring and loving soul and I'm proud to be your friend.

    • shruti sheshadri profile image

      shruti sheshadri 4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Inspiringly beautiful! I have heard that our eyes are the windows of our soul, but here in your case bill, All your five senses show that your soul is extraordinary :)

      I really admire your journey and I wish you a great one in the days to come !

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, we are indeed capable of so much more, and we have so little time to accomplish it and reach our potential. But not today; today is a day of rest. :) thank you my friend and enjoy your day!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Words of wisdom truly expressed with clarity - read and understood. Great hub. We are capable of so much more than we come to realize. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, I swear to the Almighty, that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever written. Thank you sir! I truly am humbled by your comments, and if they are true (not that I doubt you) then I, as a writer, am very gratified. Thank you Doc; that meant a great deal to me.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Sir Bill, some time ago I came across a description of a creative generalist - someone whose wisdom and creativity inspires others and spreads good will and joy:

      They say these creative spirits , Wander & Wonder - finding possibility, Synthesize & Summarize - presenting information , Link & Leap - generating ideas, Mix & Match - connecting people, Experience & Empathize - understanding worldview.

      Whenever I read your writing, I'm in awe of your beautiful spirit. You sir are a true creative generalist, and then some.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, thank you so much! I felt good about this hub, but it's so nice to have others receive it with kind words.

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      Lisa Williams 4 years ago

      Wow Billy, This brought tears to my eyes. It is my absolute favorite of your hubs to date (and I like them all) Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of writing I certainly voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you LaThing! I appreciate your kind words; this one was a bit personal and I was worried it wouldn't convey what I wanted it to.

      Have a great weekend my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Gypsy, thank you so much! I'm certainly glad I'm finally receptive enough to learn a few lessons. That was not always the case. :) Have a great weekend in Latvia!

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Fabulous piece, Billy!! Love the way you went through each senses, and discribed their action earlier on in life and then the turn toward better ways! It's brilliant! We all do things when we are young, but the ones who realize and turn their actions for the good, are the winners in life! Appreciate your inspiring hubs....

      Voting up and awesome!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. As we go through life we can learn so much and turn everything around in our favor and exchange the bad for the good. I have become quieter over the years, much more caring and loving. Of course my faith in the Lord has helped me along the way. Enjoyed this lots and passing the good word on.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, coming from you that means a great deal! Thank you! This one was important to me. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      This is my favorite piece of yours to date. It has a haunting detached quality to it. Your writing style in this hub is pretty darn epic. Love it!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thank you Dianna! It is my pleasure to share through my stories and I am grateful that you and others like them.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I am once again revived by your words of wisdom, Bill. Looking back upon my own life, I wonder why I thought those materialistic things too so much value in my home. I now live simply and am so much more happier. Thanks for shedding so much light and love to others through your experiences.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      btrbell, you are very welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      As one is approaching fall, I read this with empathetic eyes! Thank you for this great hub and perspective!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, beautifully stated. I, too, feel as though I am an instrument. I have been given a gift, the gift of words, and I use them to speak to people I have never met, to share my experiences with them, and to find common ground with others. I love my life and I love that you are a PIPO person. :) Thank you my friend; wishing you peace and happiness on your personal journey.

      bill

    • profile image

      manatita44 4 years ago

      Keep it going Billybuc.

      Constant excellent articles and useful way of connecting. I am happy that you are moving fast towards the Light and inspiring others to follow. Because you are now my friend, I will tell you my way. It is the way of Surrender.

      I feel that I am an instrument in the hands of Something Higher, and that I can of my own self do nothing. I pray and meditate and rely on His Grace to make me a PIPO person. I know that I will stumble sometimes, perhaps even now. But through His Grace, I get up and try again, all the time trying to be receptive to His Light which comes through nothing other than His Grace or goodness. Perhaps we compliment each other.

      This person obviously means a lot to you. Wife, I believe, is that so?

      Finally, I am 6o. Hope you have a blessed birthday. Lord knows you deserve same. Higher blessings. Your friend. - Manatita

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, your comment says it all...we did make it, despite it all, and this is where we were always meant to be. One section of the journey is over; now we get to enjoy the rest without struggle. Thank you my friend!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Up and all but funny...bill, nothing can be added nor deleted from this perfectly fabulous tale of "Our body & it's senses" and the years and miles of our journey, to where we are and who we are today...as aging and wiser human beings.......We made it. We're here, where we were always destined to be..........

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You have me smiling again Maria! Thank you!

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      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Thank you, Bill, and I will tell the ladies and gentlemen about my inspirational friend who wrote this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, you have made me smile this morning with your warm comments. By all means, share it with them, and thank you so much for your kind words.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Bill,

      This one made me tear up with the inspiration and thoughts it provoked. I felt as though (odd?) you were my Mom speaking to me... she would sooooooo say these eloquent and wise words.

      I read my nurses a "Blessing of the Hands" prayer in Holistic class and we discuss the changes to our hands though the years, yet how they continue to touch the lives of so many for so many different reasons. I would love to share this with them as well, with your kind permission.

      Love, love this. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie.....LOL.....I hear you my friend! Love to you too; now it's time for me to write an angry hub, one you can relate to. LOL Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks Robin! I will try to always live up to your words. Have a wonderful day my friend.

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      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      i love your eternal optimism, Bill! A man who has had a near-death experience and has never forgotten what he lost - and what he almost lost! You have every reason to stand tall - even if age doesn't allow for it anymore..LOL..

      do you hear me? DO YOU???

      lol

      love yaxx

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      RobinGrosswirth23 4 years ago

      Hi Bill, loved this piece, all of your pieces for that matter. This is truly a reflective piece and inspirational to those who have traveled challenging and compelling roads as well. You always speak from the heart, a giving and good one.

      R

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Eddy my dear friend! You remind me that I need to turn my attention to ebooks soon; I have been scattered and keep forgetting to do that. Have a wonderful day in Wales my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! This one was a little more personal than most and I'm glad you appreciated it.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, you are welcome, and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosemay, thank you....I like that simile.....hoot! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the visit Mckbirdbks!

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      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Hi Billy so brilliant a hub; I loved it. I have been working putting together some ebooks all week so it is time to catch up with reading your hubs .

      What a treat and you write so naturally as I've always said ;in a style that makes the reader feel that you are sat by them;telling your story.

      Thank you so very much for this wonderful gem and of course here's to so many more to share.

      Take care and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Once more, an awesome hub Bill. Your spirit shines through all the positivity in this hub. Life's lessons well learnt, my friend.

      Voted up and awesome.

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      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this, really, Enjoy these things.

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      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Bill you are like a wise old owl. What a lovely hub to read. Growing into ourselves with maturity.

      Voting up and more

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      mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Interesting write. Full of wisdom and acute observation.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dancing, thank you so much! Some hubs come hard; some, like this one, flow so easily that I know it was meant to be written. I appreciate you and thank you for seeing the beauty I hoped would shine through.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That'a girl, Amy, keep moving forward and enjoying the scenery....proud of you day in and day out.

      Thank you! This was one of my favorite pieces by me; I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, for sure, the journey is everything it was advertised to be. :)

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      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      What a spiritual, poetic, sensitive work of art you have created here, Bill. What a beautiful person shines through in your writing! And about your writing: Wow! This has hit the mark so profoundly and eloquently! Thank you so much, as always, for your honest, heartfelt expression, Bill. Long may you wave! This is an exquisite meditation on your spiritual evolution that people of all generations can appreciate and embrace.

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      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I've come a long way, baby! And, I've got a long way to go. I'm still under construction and it's a project that will never be done. Each step of the trip is more fun than the last, because I'm always learning something new, meeting new friends and looking forward to the next adventure. Great uplifting, magnificently positive writing, Bill.

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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Oh, Bill, I am growing - I always say, "I'm a work in progress, still" LOL but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am enjoying the journey so far.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Deb, you got that right! Thanks my friend; have a fantastic evening and enjoy that dinner with that special recipe!

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Beautiful sentiments. I think we have all grown from our early days. We now smile upon those whom we were impatient with. We are now our parents, and we accept those ideals as our own now(for the most part). We never would have believed it a few decades ago.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vigor and enthusiasm....I love that phrase, and that's how I want to live out the remainder of my life. Thank you my friend; I appreciate your kind words and great comment.

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      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Gosh...this is such a beautiful hub, Bill.

      I so agree with you on this. Age can teach us to mature our sensory organs to such an extent that even if we lose it's capacity, the experiences in our lives will make us trod along the path with vigor and enthusiasm.

      voted up as useful, intersting and beautiful. Sharing it across!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Not a bad combination at all, Pickles! Thank you for the visit!

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      picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      great hub, Billybuc! I was just having a conversation similar to your hub with a friend today. Wisdom and hope-a very good combination!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rachel! If you and others love it then I'm satisfied. :)

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      Rachel Koski 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Beautiful :) I just love your writing, Bill. The Autumn of Life doesn't sound so bad - fall's my favorite season of the year.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you melbelle; I appreciate the visit very much.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sasha, you just mentioned something that drives me crazy....the term "love ya" is like fingernails on a chalk board for me. Say the words....I love you....and mean it. There is nothing more important in life.

      Thank you my friend and have a great evening in Oregon!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, I toast your Dr. Pepper with my A&W root beer. :) Thank you very much! Bev agrees with you and thinks this is my best so far....and I do admit to liking it. I appreciate your words; I have grown....and I still have growing to do. Let us grow together my friend, and enjoy the journey!

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      melbelle 4 years ago from Southern United States

      very uplifting hub about life lessons and gaining wisdom from life.

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      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      Such a lovely piece you've written here Bill.. It made me misty. We can all learn so much from you. I especially like what you were saying in your video, about saying "I love you" often and with meaning! It saddens me when people say it like they're just saying "Hi" or not saying it hardly at all. Those three little words are a powerful medicine for someone's well being. Voted a bunch and shared all over!

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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Excellent article, Bill. I think this is my favorite of all your articles. I, too, have reached the autumn of my life and I have learned to be satisfied, as I should be. I love the perspective from which you write this article. The eyes, ears, hands, mouth, heart etc. (I probably left one out). You have grown, matured and learned and that is how it should be! You are a "work in progress" but you have learned the most important lessons of life. I raise my glass to you in honor and respect because you are smart enough and wise enough not to go down certain roads again. I admire you for being humble enough to admit that in an article such as this - and you are not afraid to speak the truth - love is the most important ! (Oh, and by the way, my glass only has Dr. Pepper in it!)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Trinity, I am blushing. Thank you! I love life....I love human beings, despite, or perhaps, because of their imperfections. If my words help others then I am very grateful and fulfilled. The teacher in me never sleeps. :)

      love to you as well

      bill

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      Trinity M 4 years ago

      A “poem” from the heart and oh so sweet. The spirit who wrote these words has come a long way… 64 years later this spirit touches the souls of so many and makes us all so much better for having known you. You have such a giant sized heart Bill that you encompass the world and because you love so freely and so purely you can but only receive love back in return. After all… you reap what you sow and you sow love in BUCKETS! Love to you always my dear friend. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mperrottet, thank you so much! This was one I felt pretty good about after I finished it. :)

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      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I love this beautifully written piece, and think it is one of your best. I find myself reviewing my life more frequently as I age, and have also found that the most important part of life is love.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, thank you so much! You will be glad to know that Bev agrees with you. :) I love my life as you well know, and I love HubPages and people like you, who are so supportive.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Bill, This without a doubt is your very best. Your spirit shines through troubled day's past. You can only go full-speed ahead my friend. Sincerity at it's best..Cheers

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, that was incredibly kind of you. Thank you so much!

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      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Bill, there aren’t words to express how I am so moved by this hub, except to say: This is the human spirit at its very best. Bravo! :-)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debbie, God bless you as well, and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Coming from a writer such as yourself, that compliment means a great deal to me.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, thank you very much! I'm at a loss for words....your comment touched me.

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      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Bill.., I think this is amazing write.. it is from your heart. and it touches my heart...You have seen so much in your life.. but look at you now.. You are so well respected here in the hub you are a great writer and wonderful human being.. God bless you bill Holland

      Debbie

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Wow - simply beautiful...almost like a poem. Sometimes it's amazing to me how your writing just flows.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Irc, thank you so much! It feels good to be where I am right now. The journey was interesting to say the least, but I am finally right where I should be.

      I appreciate your kind words and the person that you are.

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      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Well sir, it seems you took quite a journey in this piece of art and me thinks you have arrived. Isn't it wonderful when you can take a realistic look at yourself and still like what you see? It happens when, and only when, you have embraced your lessons and begin to see with eyes that have connected to your soul. This isn't a hub Bill, it's a testiment to your being exactly where you are meant to be. This, is my favorite of all the beautiful pieces you have shared. Kudos!

      PS - I am sharing this one too, everywhere! :-)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yvonne, I gain great satisfaction when I get a comment like yours. This seems to be why I write; I reflect, and I share those reflections, and then I learn more by reading great comments like yours. I don't know why some people never seem to learn life's lessons; it mystifies me for sure and I just can't understand how it is possible not to learn.

      Thank you my friend, for the wonderful comments and kind words.

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      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Your words really drew me in: the contrasts between what was and what is and the message to learn from life. Love is something that for some strange reason we spend much of our life chasing and running from. Yet as you say it is the primary purpose in life. 2 of your questions really struck me: "What would be the point of any of it if I did not gain insight from it?" is very much how I see life too. When I gain insight then everything seems more purposeful. The other question that stood out for me was: "Is it possible to live a lifetime and not learn lessons from it?"

      Very sadly, I think that answer for some people is yes. I have an aunt who in her 90s doesn't seem to have learned from life at all and really still behaves like a child, and I have a sibling in deep throes of mental illness. It mystifies me why some of us gain insight and experience growing inner peace, while for others peace seems impossible. That sibling may yet find healing and I sincerely hope so, but for my aunt? Perhaps for some of us the lesson comes on the deathbed? Sorry if this seems a bit morbid, it is just something I sometimes wonder about, and your words clearly got me thinking. Thanks for a thought-provoking hub!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jlava, those were kind words. Thank you! I have the suspicion you are light-years ahead of where I was at your age. I wish you peace and happiness in the coming years, and thank you very much.

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      Jennifer Vasconcelos 4 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      You are one who leads by example Bill. We all have things we have done or said, ways we have acted that we wish we could re-do. I am learning more and more each day about my own life and how to be more mindful and live from inside out. Friends and positive role models like yourself help a lot. Happy almost 64 and may you have many more happy and healthy years. You don't need me to tell you how you are changing lives, it is showing up for you.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Made!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tara my dear, your words warm my heart. Life is too precious, and you and I understand that now. It is time to embrace it all; we have some good coming to us after paying our dues. Thank you my friend!

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      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      7 pm here. Enjoy your day! :)

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      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      I love this reflective view of your life. Beautifully done as always. Knowledge definitely comes with age and while we can't erase bad things that have happened, we can learn from them. I'm with you in feeling that I don't want to waste another minute as life is precious.