Understanding My Epiphany

I was reading a book a couple of days ago when suddenly, in a clear flash of understanding; I became aware of what propels me most in making choices and decisions. I found that especially shocking since I’m seventy-five years old. One would imagine, by that age, one wouldn’t be surprised at all by anything they might choose or decide. Yet, I was blown away.

The book’s passage had to do with how different people relate to life. Some people are practical and stoic and are led by natural laws following virtue alone, or through reason, fear, boredom, led or indifferent to other’s opinions, passions or emotions. I’ve always considered myself a rather practical person, most of the time, weighing pros and cons to make good logical choices. So I thought.

Instead of reading on in this book, I found myself dwelling on the dialog of one character to the other when he said to her that she was the kind of person who had to have passion when she picked her friends, selected favorite music, decided what to eat, even when decorating her abode. Those choices were what made her, her. But, she thought, if she believed hard enough, could she choose to follow convention or settle for security and not incorporate her passion?

What suddenly hit me was, the choices and decisions that have made me the happiest and most satisfied in my life have been the ones made with passion first, and not necessarily with thoughts of security or convention or so-called common sense. And I’d never really thoroughly thought this out before.

Not long ago, I attended my 55th high school reunion and our former class president asked several of us to each tell the group what we were passionate about now. One classmate said he wasn’t passionate about anything in particular. He was the only one of us who had not retired and when asked about that, he wasn’t sure what he would do when he did retire.

I remember feeling immensely sad for him when he said that. Here was a well-educated man, nice looking, healthy, very comfortable financially, with potentially lots of years left to him. The former class president asked him what he liked to do and the answer was, sail. Later I found out he’d bought a sailboat and I was so happy for him until I learned he was in the process of selling it. Too much trouble keeping it up was his reason why. He was divorced and didn’t have anyone to care about except two grown children. I kept in touch for a while, but the last time I spoke with him on the phone, he told me he wouldn’t want to live if something ever happened to his kids. Gosh!

I have a son, daughter-in-law, grandson and a sister and her family and I look forward to talking on the phone with them and visiting whenever possible. I don’t think about negative things that might happen to them or me. I just enjoy them and look forward to sharing my life with them and vice versa, now and in the future. There still are so many things I want to do, experience and share.

Although I’ve tried to be sensible, passion has made my life more rewarding and fulfilling. My mother taught me to be a “Save for a rainy day, but also enjoy each and every day to the fullest” kind of gal. But, for me, the special ingredient of passion has made “fullest even fuller.”

How about you, have you ever analyzed what drives you in life? I’d love to hear.


Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.


Filed under life, musings

16 responses to “Understanding My Epiphany

  1. Pat Gordon

    Hi Coco,

    OMG! Your story touched my heart. My passion is wandering and discovering new adventures; I’ve been like this since I was a child. And my camera comes along on my adventures to capture these exciting moments. When I was a child, my Mom always said: “You are always on Cloud 9.” And I’ll always be on that CLOUD! Hence, the reason why I arrive a few days before I begin a scheduled tour. I love my Vacation With Pat!

    Thank you for writing this beautiful story, Pat

    • Thank you so much, Pat. I’m so glad we met in Russia! Your enthusiasm and love for adventure made me HAVE to be your friend. Your talent in photography is exceptional and I have enjoyed your sharing trips with me through your slideshows. Have fun in your next adventure. I can’t imagine how deep your emotions will be when you lay your eyes on Da Vinci’s “Last Supper!” Talk about OMG!!!!!!

  2. Ernesto Patino

    Your post was thought provoking. Made me think of my own journey through life and the choices I made…especially the poor ones.

    • Ernesto, I’ve been trying to decide if your reply to my post was in ernest (no pun intended) or if, when you wrote, there was a twinkle in your eye. I guess it really doesn’t matter if I know as long as you were able to get a good “thought session” accomplished. Thank you for reading and commenting. And if I have been any help, I’m glad.

  3. Coco, first I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around that you are 75 years old. No way, Jose! Good for you because you look amazing. Second, what makes me happy is having my husband in my life. We’ll celebrate 48 years of marriage in September. I joke about not remembering life before Bob. In truth, I don’t want to remember life before Bob because that’s when my life began. He’s always supported and encouraged me as he’s enjoyed watching me grow. Still growing at 70 and don’t intend to stop. My fur and feathered babies make me happy as well. When we lived in Tennessee we had a young friend who would stay with our brood while we went out of town. Since moving to South Carolina, we haven’t been anywhere because we no longer had a responsible and trustworthy person to stay with our kids. We “happily” just found the solution. A little over a month ago we bought an RV. We took it on its virgin voyage last week and just returned last night. We had a wonderful, relaxing time. Bob’s blood pressure has been high for several weeks. When we got home he took his pressure and it has dramatically dropped. Today it was down even more. That makes me immensely happy. We’re going away again in a few days with neighbors who also own an RV and gave us the idea to buy one so we could take all the kids with us. This first trip we took the two dogs and two cats. We wanted to get the cats acclimated to the RV before bringing the birds as well. That worked out well as a neighbor looked in on the birds. I’ve been retired for five years and I love it. I can be industrious when I want and lazy when I want. No alarm clock to wake up to. Bob sort of retired last June, but has stayed on as a consultant which is the cause of his blood pressure. I’ve been after him to commit to full-time retirement. This first trip convinced him that he will do that at the end of August when he celebrates his 75th birthday. Life is good. However, one thing I learned a long time ago. Life is only good if you work at it to make it good. Keep your hopes high but your expectations reasonable. Spend wisely but don’t deprive yourself. Pay off your house and get an RV. Then travel the country as often as you are able. Next year, we’re headed west. I’ve been to the west coast but only flown over the U.S. It’s time to see it all up close and personal with my favorite person in the whole world and my sweet critters. Enjoy life as I know you do!

    • Maribeth, after reading about your earlier years, it gives me great joy to see you happy with such a wonderful husband. I think you and your husband are realizing that at 75 years old, we don’t handle stress as easily as we did years ago. At least that’s true with me. And since I retired, I don’t worry if I’ve slept a little later than usual or don’t complete a chore I’ve set for myself. I just do that when I can with no worries. You’re right, there are no urgent reasons not to enjoy the years we’ve worked so hard for. I see you agree on that front, too. And you and your husband have been practical in your life perhaps so that you could enjoy experiencing the things you are passionate about. Congratulations on discovering that RVing is the way to solve your wandering urge! Good for you. And you get to share this new adventure with friends! What a bonus.
      My first commenter above is a gal I met a few years ago on a trip and she and I are both basically alone, no spouses or significant others. Rarely does loneliness occur with us because we actually enjoy our own company. I was an only child so I learned how to be alone years ago. I don’t really know if she has siblings, but being able to like being with ourselves really helps in our world that has become so autonomous. Have fun traveling and experiencing the American West. My parents made sure I visited all the states, but just a couple, and all the Provinces of Canada. Believe me, you have quite a treat (or more) in store!

      • Just reread your response. Yes, I know what you mean about enjoying your own company. Over the years I have come to realize that, although I was one of six children, in addition to having our maternal grandmother living with us, I lived by myself with myself in my head. I believe part of my resilience was something I nurtured in myself. I am very resilient and resourceful. I have typically been able to make up my mind that I will accomplish something, then focus on that task only to succeed. I would like to be able to pass that ability on to others, but have not been able to figure out how. So many people suffer from events in their lives. It’s so important to be able to depend on oneself to overcome the results of that event and especially the emotional fallout. I feel as if I am rambling, but something tells me you will understand what I mean. Keep being who you are. You’re a great human being!

  4. Susan Coggins

    Agreeing with Mary Beth, 75????? Doesn’t matter the number of years, it is the thought process that counts – so how did my children become older than me? I stick with positive thinking, fun loving, adventurous, believe that every day is a gift kind of people. Always waiting for the sad/bad things to happen drains a lot of energy. I choose to always have my glass at least half full! Love your epiphany story. When I think of having a passion for something, I look back at my volunteer work (and continuing volunteer work) to see where my real passion lies.

    • I know, Susan. It’s hard for me to realize I’m actually 75 years old, too, but I agree with you, attitude is everything. It can make or break us. I also agree that volunteering is one of the best ways to satisfy our need to be useful and matter in this world. It’s so rewarding to see people’s faces when someone has been kind and eager to help them succeed. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas here. Have a great day, week, year…..

  5. Passion is a great prompt for me when making decisions, even as to how I spend money. I felt passionately about going to Scotland, and about all of our travels. I feel passionately toward each of my books and the characters in them. If I’m trying to decide about making a purchase, I ask myself if I feel passionately about the item, and if I do, there is no guilt about buying it even though I have many more practical things I could use the finds for. It’s a good guiding principle and I am so thankful I have a husband who shares my passions and helps make it possible to attain the things I dream about.

    • Sherrie, I figured my post would resonate with you, because passion is so much a part of your writing, both in books and blog posts. And visually in your photos( both near your home and also abroad), food, paintings, decorating your B&B and I could go on and on. You, my friend and colleague, are an inspiration to me and I’m sure many many others. Thank you for your contribution by example. And thank you for reading my blog and commenting on it.

  6. Salustra

    Thanks, I needed that! Lately I have been letting life get me down and I am not that kind of person but what is missing lately is my passion. While I do like my job and feel I am contributing between the 9+ hour days and 2+hrs a day in traffic I have been existing. Other than my reading I’m missing my creative passions – art & dance. I need to readjust my expectations and just do! P.S. you will never age!

    • Oh, Salustra, I can relate to exactly what you just wrote! I, too, became lost for a while and perhaps, that’s why my epiphany was such a surprise to me. Believe me when I say there are very few people that know about passion like you do. I’ve witnessed it in your art work, some of which I still have, and also in your beautiful dance performances and even in your dedicated law enforcement work. You are another person who has inspired me to be creative and passionate in my life. Get back out there, and wow the world some more. You’ve got so much to offer!!!!
      (Thanks for telling me I will never age. 🙂 My son tells me I’ve just never grown up.)

  7. Maybe I tell my kids to read this. Thanks Coco.

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