This week marks my 20th year in Japan and ten years living in the same house and town--the longest I have ever lived anywhere. As I walked the dog last night and looked up to see the moon behind a cloud shaped much like the map of Canada, especially Quebec, I reflected on my experience.  I realize I have come nowhere near the dreams, goals and aspirations that I set out with. I seem, indeed, astronomically far from them.  Yet, paradoxically I am closer to them than ever.  I have achieved things I never thought I would.  Like all humans, no doubt, I have let myself down at times, morally or ethically, harming those I love most and being more a burden to the planet than a benefit. However, I have also at times been exemplary in thought and action and stood up against oppression of others. I have taught thousands of students, and helped countless among them towards their dreams.  I have experienced joys and pains too many to numerate. I find myself with so much, and yet at times feel so empty.  Some days I cannot help but feel so intellectually alone in a distant land, and other times so spiritually rich with friends and family.  I guess my life can best be summed up  by the Grateful Dead lyrics: "Sometimes the lights are all shining on me.  Other times, I can barely see. Lately, it occurred to me, what a long strange trip it's been."


Hervé February 14, 2017 @06:43 am

Bonjour Keith, Belles réflexions, pleines de désespoir - ou presque... - et pleines de bonheur! Nos parcours sont un peu parallèles, moi aussi je nourris un sentiment de solitude profond alliè à la joie d'avoir accompli ce que j'ai pu accomplir avec mes talents limités et mon ignorance toujours immense... Je te souhaite encore bien plus de vingt ans de bonheur dans la maison que tu habites et avec ceux que tu aimes!

John Dougill February 14, 2017 @05:22 am

Wonderful piece of writing. My sentiments exactly.

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