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I read Harry Heckel’s obituary this morning.

His daughter was a childhood friend. (I last saw her about a hundred years ago. We all move on different pathways in life.) Harry was just another parent back then in the way that I ignored most adults—except Harry wasn’t exactly ordinary. He was a research chemist. He had gifts and abilities and talents. In his life were many remarkable events, but I want to highlight these two:

When Harry was 78 years old, he sailed solo around the world.

And then when Harry was 89 years old, he sailed solo around the world a second time.

Reading Harry Heckel’s obituary this morning brought a sense of gratitude and more.

The wonders of aging remind me of my friend Richard L. Morgan who writes about aging. I worked with Richard on one or two of his books. He still writes and blogs regularly about aging even as he lives in a continuing care retirement community outside Pittsburgh. Richard wrote: “How do we understand living in our later years as the most important pilgrimage of our lives? We accept the fact that we no longer have to maintain the illusion that we are young. We acknowledge the limited nature of time….we choose not to retire from life but to retire into new life, discovering a new vocation where the  real needs of the world and our deepest joy meet; we choose to see the aging process as our final pilgrimage.”

Solum gratia

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