The Ukrainian Muse and the Paradox of Life

Alone I walk.  The bite of the winter chill does not let up, colors of the world fade into different shades of bleakness.  The ache for youth pulsates strong although I’m acutely aware each passing second takes me further away from this dream.

A nondescript voice echoes in my head, “the closer to death you are, the closer to life you become…”

My turned-up collar does little to stifle the cold wind caressing my neck, motivation for the continued search of a spark to ignite another year of passion.

The winter’s silence is broken by a warm whisper, “so you’ve finally come to see me again…” I look to find a smile I’ve grown accustomed to when in a philosophical mood.  She’s always walking beside me, but it’s been too long since I last heard her voice.

“This morning, I noticed you were preoccupied with a quote at the coffee shop.  What did it say?” She asks.

“Is not wisdom found among the aged?   Does not long life bring understanding?” – Job 12:12

Reading this quote during breakfast was the trigger for my current philosophical fog.

“Experience and wisdom have shifted my life more than I could’ve imagined. Hard to believe life becomes richer as we grow older – the electricity of my 20’s pales in comparison to the beautiful aches of aging,” I pause to rub the crick in my neck. “Never gave it much thought until this morning.”

I open the door to a small roadside café ~ lured by the aroma of exotic foods.

I look around the café, the serene setting and lack of urgency capture the bliss of the moment.

A newly found paradox within my mind, within my life.

In my 20’s every day had an unlimited future.  Every corner had something new to offer. The more active I was, the greater I felt. My goal was to secure enough adrenaline for the day and bold ideas for tomorrow.

A concept of my youth I held fast. A concept time erodes as years drift past.

“When we were young, life was a series of wild rapids, ridden without fear. We were unstoppable.” I pause to look at the roast duck in front of me and quickly finish my thought. “Then at some point, we began to have doubt in our invulnerability and our lives changed forever.”

“This gauze of doubt you have mentioned before, correct?” her laughter holds a touch of self-deprecation as she pours us a shot of the local spirit.

“Feeling untouchable, the definitions of youth and immortality are interchangeable.”  She grabs a duck leg and continues, “then fear creeps in.  The gauze of doubt begins to blur vision and time becomes finite. The recognition of death.”

“Ah yes, I think I’ve bored you with this before.” I smile and she points to a speck of spinach on my front tooth, I clean and go on. “We take risks when we’re young, devour the late hours of the night and soak up the knowledge around – ahead an unlimited amount of time.” I pause to think of the happiness I had growing up. Thanks I owe my parents and friends I could never begin to repay, knowing they would say the same in return.

“Then came the bittersweet moment in life, confronted by mortality I began to appreciate time.  I evolved.” I lift my glass, our eyes lock and we chase our words.

“With age comes experience. With experience comes wisdom. A young mind is too busy absorbing life to contemplate deep meaning. The growth of wisdom is a gift, a gradual gift.”  The stillness becomes magnified.

Which of us said those words? I am not sure, but their truth allows me to exhale and reflect.  On the surface, responsibilities with my career and life seem to have increased, but my relaxed attitude is a sign of wisdom with the recognition being in the now holding undeniable freedom and a purer happiness.

This small town nestled in the northeastern part of Ukraine huddled against the cold shoulder of Russia is where today exists. Questions drift around and I enjoy the chase to find the answers.

There is a certain confidence in the freedom to pursue. Pursue happiness. Pursue dreams. Pursue wisdom and relish in age.

“The older I get, the freer I become. Accepting mortality sets me free.” Again, our eyes lock and we knock back another shot. She refills the glasses, gazes around the room without worry.

“It is called the Paradox of Life.” she smiles, looking younger than ever. “As people age, the body loses the vitality of youth but the mind…” her eyes light up as she moves forward as if to whisper the greatest secret of life, “the mind revels in emotions, in the happiness of the moment.  People with wisdom forget the worries of tomorrow and focus on the positive pieces of reality in front of them.  Studies show we find our greatest happiness as we grow older, thus the paradox.” 

The walk back to the hotel is refreshing. The evening has faded into the night and while still below zero, the conversation warms the winter breeze.

“There’s a certain poignancy to life I never realized.” I look around at the scene deciding I could definitely be happy here. I look at her reflection in the snow and moonlight.

She pauses as we reach the intersection, shifts her weight and expands on my thought. “The world is dynamic, multidimensional, and there is always happiness to be found.  It’s the gift of wisdom, the gift of youth.” 

“Savor and appreciate the emotions of life.” She looks down the street at my hotel.

“When people believe time is unlimited, the focus is on knowledge, on possibilities, on the future.  A perfect time for daydreamers.”  She grabs my hand, putting emphasis on her words, “when you understand time is limited, the focus needs to be re-directed to the present…where serendipity happens.”

She looks at me inquisitively. “Not quite sure what this means for a daydreamer like yourself…” her flurry of words float in the air between us, separating me from her smile.  I watch it all drift away with the gentle breeze, and before I can answer she is gone.

221 Comments on “The Ukrainian Muse and the Paradox of Life

  1. Randall so wonderful…love this series and your narratives, as always…trust life is treating you well ~ many smiles hedy 😀

    • Life is treating me well Hedy, thank you. Moving into the warmer weather of spring helps too. Wishing you a great weekend and many smiles. Take care.

  2. I am always so happy to see your posts Randall, esp now that they are less frequent. This one is a bit more melancholy than your norm—perhaps it’s the cold?? As for aging there is much more ahead of you I’m sure. Enjoy your new-found wisdom my friend

    • Such a good feeling reading your comment Tina ~ a bit of a break from WP this past year, but always special to be able to come back and reconnect. and I think you are right, the last chill of winter had me wondering if the cold, bleak days of rain were ever going to end…and of course, Mother Nature never disappoints as long as we have a little patience. Wishing you a great Easter weekend ahead.

  3. Nice to hear from you Randall, to read of your musings and your latest foray into this northern, chilly clime. Peace and blessings.

    • There is always something pristine in travel to a new country/area, especially in the wintertime for me. Part discovery and part reflection, always fun and inspiring for me. Wishing you a wonderful beginning of spring Eliza, take care.

  4. Your words and images marry up perfectly, It’s like getting a glimpse into a secret world, filled with secrets.

  5. So lovely to read you again, Randall. Your thoughts about ageing are thought-provoking and beautifully framed with your chilly images.
    Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays 🐣 ✨📷✨🐣
    The Fab Four of Cley

    • Nothing quite like coming out of hibernation and leaving a cold winter behind 🙂 It seems you’ve had a great start to the year, and I think the spring will treat you all well. Thank you very much for the comment, Dina, and hope you all enjoy your weekend.

  6. I like the way you weave your story with your images. You are still young, R but I do believe you have an old soul. Remember the vitality in old bodies is palpable till the last breath and wisdom only comes to those who live life with eyes and heart wide open.

    • Thank you, Mary, I agree ~ you say it very well, “wisdom comes to those who are able to live life with eyes and heart wide open.” If one can do this, then forever they shall remain young at heart 🙂 Wishing you a great weekend.

  7. Wow, Randall. Love this post. I can relate to this spirit-self conversation very much. We think we know everything when we are young, but we have only just begun… Stunning photos, as usual! What takes you to the Ukraine?

    • It is always nice to have a conversation with yourself every now and then 🙂 Thank you, Jess, and I think having to shift from the mind of eternal youth to understanding that life and change wait for no one is a good thing. Makes life more interesting. Ukraine came about from the work I’ve been doing in Czech Republic, and reconnected with a guy I worked with years ago…life never ceases with surprises. Wishing you well.

  8. So lovely to see your writing and pictures again Randall. Your thoughts and deep moments of wisdom are not necesarily a gift of aging, but rather your ability to search, seek, and open yourself to learn and respect this life, this moment, and its infinite potential. I know many elderly who have no wisdom. Ah but what a gift it is to know that wisdom is always within, beckoning us to follow her and learn.

    • I think you are right, the ability to search and open yourself up to life is where potential, opportunity and wisdom originates. It inspires us to continue to pursue and enjoy what it out there – as you say, to respect life. Wishing you a great weekend ahead Karen, thank you.

  9. As always, Randall, beautifully written and captured with your eyes and the lens of your camera. Food for the body, mind and spirit.

    • Thank you very much, Mazigrace. There is a lot of power in living a life of freedom for the body, mind, and spirit. Cheers to a great spring ahead.

  10. Great to read your captivating words and photography Randy, I missed you both. Your sorjourns over the years is now become ours, cherished and savoured like mama’s home cooked meals 🙂
    We say in my language, Ijeoma. It means safe travels…never let your shadow fade.

    • So wonderful to hear from you Dotta, thank you, and I’ve been missing you too 🙂 There is something about always knowing that there is my mama’s home cooked meal to come home to, makes this wandering path around the world more interesting. The great value of friends and families to keep it all real. Ijeoma ~ I now have a new favorite word. 🙂 Beautiful, and I love the idea of never letting your shadow fade. Wishing you a great and happy weekend ahead, take care.

  11. A beautiful write, Randall. We all go through life and age. Both body and mind changes, and agree with you that the body might get slower as time goes on but the mind much more rich than ever. In your conversations ‘unvulnerability’ was brought up. That much be such a turning point, to realise that you may not reach your dreams, that what you have hoped may not come true, or start realising some challenges you may not neccesarily come out on tops. But it is at that point where mentally we become stronger and I think gain a sense of acceptance about what this world has to offer and what we will face.

    There is always happiness to be found… That got me thinking what happiness is. In our 20s, we it’s probably an elusive concept as we go about learning what the real world is. Happiness is a concept in itself and it has got a lot to do with living in the moment, at least that is what I think. Some moments will be shorter than others – shorter and sweeter. Sharing longer moments can be harder because so many of us are on the move these days. But when we do find ourselves in one of these longer moments such as an extended stay of time in a certain place or a lasting friendship or acquired knowledge over time so as to be able to see the bigger picture, that feeling is not just sweet but overall priceless – and looking back on those moments you may feel that something called happiness.

    Lovely to see you here again, Randy. Hope all is well and enjoy the summer that is coming your way :a

    • So true, Mabel, as we move through life ~ the mind becomes much richer in experience and I think it makes us appreciate ‘the moment’ much more than we did when we were younger. Not to take anything away from the time when we were in our 20s, as there is something perfect about the feeling of invincibility at that age, but the beautiful bite of reality is something not to be missed. Makes us appreciate the good – and also as you say, helps define the happiness we find along the way.

      Very much looking forward to seeing what the spring and summer will bring. I hope you had a fine summer and the autumn will treat you well. Wish you a good weekend and take care.

      • That feeling of invincibility is one that makes us feel like a kid…and I think we should all never forget that. And by getting older and having all these challenging experiences and more responsibilities, many of us will find ourselves going back to these younger moments – and that’s how we remember. Then we find the strength to keep on going.

        Enjoy your favourite season, Randall. Work hard, play harder, stay safe 🙂

      • Agree, I still wake up every day feeling invincible 🙂 Much more responsibility as we get older, which I think why we reflect so fondly to those memories in our teens and 20s. Wish you both success at work and definitely at play Mabel 🙂

      • Good to hear that you have that feeling of a kid still in you 🙂 Never stop playing. Work hard but always make time for play so you feel like anything’s possible, anytime. And also…time for good food. Wishing you well for the season ahead 🙂

  12. Hi Randall, I’ve missed your posts here. Lovely and awesome captures and your words…beautiful!

    • Hi Arlene, thank you very much and so good to be back writing and shooting again :-). Wishing you a great weekend.

  13. Dear Randall,
    as older I get, as freer I become. I fully agree.
    What a well written text! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Wishing you happy holidays
    Klausbernd 🙂

    • It is a very good feeling, a greater sense of freedom ~ built from a life well lived 🙂 Wish you all a great weekend Klausbernd, take care.

  14. These conversations have a lot of wisdom. Many reflect my past and my present. The Paradox of Life? Nothing seems to have cost or no ideal condition exists.. Great pictures that go so well with the dialog!!!

    • Thank you very much for the comment ~ always fun to have a conversation with yourself at times 🙂 Looking forward to the spring season, a start to stretch the legs a bit and get after another year. Cheers to a great weekend ahead.

  15. A wonderful post. Stunning photos. I like all of them but am particularly drawn to the first and last – the b&w scenes. Also, the on of the roadside cafe. I love the quirky, old-fashionedness of it then see the very modern monitor on the counter. I enjoyed reading your musings. Coincidentally, Sue Vincent posted a lovely piece today about aging. Must be happening to all of us, all at the same time!

    • There is something very powerful with B&W photos, for me, it is the starkness of certain images where B&W helps convey the emotion of a shot. Thank you, Mary, for the nice comment and I will have to check out Sue’s posts ~ must be the beginning of another spring that gets us thinking of aging :-).

  16. Wonderful photography and reflections. Such a nice surprise to see this post on the cusp of spring. 🙏 Peace to you.

    • Spring took a bit of time getting here, but so glad it finally made it ~ feels good to awake after a nice little hibernation. Thank you, John, and wish you a great season ahead.

  17. Having purpose and community is paramount. Granted, both more desirable for some than others and much easier to achieve, I believe, when the structure of “job” is present. Retirement of any kind lessons the ready-made (if you will) purpose/community combination. When that particular combination becomes less accessible or a constant is, hopefully …“when you understand time is limited, the focus needs to be re-directed to the present…where serendipity happens.” Now that I’m older, not wiser just older, is more concentration and concentrated time for…honing-in…

    So nice to see you, Randall. You are looking mighty-fine…..

    • There is always the question of balance in life, and would not have it any other way. Between work, social, artistic, and the physical world ~ the endless rocking to-and-fro keeps us alert to change. We either adapt or remain unbalanced 🙂 Per your last post, it is necessary to give up total control sometimes and let serendipity run its course. Thank you, Raye, wishing you well.

  18. I was waiting for your next original and interesting post! I like your talent how you easy combine beautiful pics with text. Bye. And wish you Happy Easter! Kamila

    • Thank you very much, Kamila, wishing you a great Easter weekend and continued safe and exciting travels.

    • It’s usually the small journeys that capture our imagination. Thank you, wishing you a good weekend.

  19. Great to ‘see’ you, Randall, out of hibernation. Perfect match of images and whispers. Your Ukrainian muse is a great ‘sparring partner’ … producing wisdom out of the philosophical fog. Most enjoyable.

    • Nothing quite like a nice little hibernation to recharge the soul, Helen. It is always nice to have a muse around to spar with and share ideas 🙂 Thank you, and wishing you a fine start to the spring season.

  20. Soulful conversation. I was happy to read your post. I have missed you. I’ve practically forgotten the” being young” part of myself. A slowing and savoring time is upon me. Inside I am my old self and outside is the new self I’m becoming. The conversation continues. I have a friend in her 90’s who just signed up for Hospice. I applaud her wisdom to take care of herself. Meanwhile we play word games with the other golden-aging people. Our minds are just fine.

    • The mind and body still work together as one, with the body occasionally reminding the mind to slow down to enjoy the surroundings allowing it time to catch its breath 🙂 Wishing you a great weekend and continued savoring of time, thank you!

  21. Ah, the lost philosopher reemerges. Tis true, age and experience often bring wisdom. But I suspect its level of growth depends on how free you feel to learn, to inquire, to develop a philosophy unimpeded rather than simply accepting the mandates of the tribe. As much as you move around and experience the world I suspect you’re in a constant state of philosophical evolution, which just grows and becomes more comfortable with age.

    Nice to see your musings and photography again, Randall.

    • Lost indeed, it seems I’ve been wandering forever 🙂 It felt great to sit, write and ponder. The idea of the continual evolution of both mind and personal philosophy fits well with the natural world. Finding what is comfortable seems easier, more satisfying. Wishing you a great weekend Dave, and wonderful travels and ponderings into the spring. Cheers.

  22. Hi Randall, wishing you a Happy New Year, a bit late, I hope 2018 has been good to you so far. This is a beautiful post, your photos are gorgeous as always, and I like the journey of acceptance that you’ve taken us on, “the closer to death you are, the closer to life you become…”. It’s always pleasure to read your posts, see where you’ve been, and where you’re going. It’s so good to see you here, Randall. Take good care, and please enjoy the rest of the weekend. ~ Mia

    • Hi Mia, thank you very much for your wishes and this year has gotten off to a pretty nice start so far ~ and with spring just arriving things will only get better. My eternal optimism also ensures the year will be one to remember 🙂 Wishing you a great weekend and hope that 2018 treats you perfectly. Thank you, Mia, and take good care.

      • You’re welcome, Randall. Eternal optimism ensures a great year, one to remember! Thank you for the kind wishes. 🙂

  23. I so much love your writing and they are like music to me. I can come back and read it again and again.

    • May be the nicest comment I’ve ever received 🙂 Thank you so much, Polomi, wishing you a great week ahead.

  24. Beautiful post, both images and words. I am in the last third (or maybe 1/4) of my life… at least I hope I have that long. I definitely find that life is more precious and more worthwhile at this age. I think at your age you have a better handle on what life is all about than I did. You are doing great. “The older I get, the freer I become. Accepting mortality sets me free.” That is absolutely true… so well said!

    • Thank you very much, Rosyln. The experiences and mistakes made during our youth provide us with a greater sense of freedom ~ and I agree with you, we have a greater appreciation of life. Wishing you a great spring ahead to chase all life has to offer 🙂 Cheers.

  25. “Feeling untouchable, the definitions of youth and immortality are interchangeable.” She grabs a duck leg and continues, “then fear creeps in. The gauze of doubt begins to blur vision and time becomes finite. The recognition of death.”

    when Winter begins to fade, the first crocus shows its beauty with such contrast against the remainder of the snow, you feel Spring more than see it i think….another sense of immortality, for if the crocus comes back every Spring, isn’t it possible we come back after our Winter of sleep to begin again…..with the first breath our mortal bodies take,, , we begin our journey into human death, most won’t think of death,for that fear within our limited human mind …
    though as i watch seasons come and go i think we.somewhere deep inside it’s an unforgotten knowledge of each journey we choose to take when we wake up again, we have a chance to reset our memories from time before…maybe not an original memory, just a change of reaction that will wear better within our soul…..when i died, i made the decision to come back…lately i realize how different my thoughts, my reactions are as i wander in the corridors of time…. i’ve learned that no matter what i experience, there is always two sides of my truth on how i see the moment…my truth can never be someones else’s for truth is a reaction during an experience of one’s self..emotions such as love or betrayal can change my truth if i let it…always a choice….sometimes wasted as i look back 🙂 sometimes that waste is a great lesson, and i check off karma’s bucket list …

    i enjoying wandering through your thoughts, your images….its a calm effect….a gift you have in the truths of your journey…
    Thank you for sharing with us….
    Be Well within these crazy chaotic times we live

    Blessings on the wind from my part of the world

    • Thank you very much, Mary. Yes, I think you are right: “another sense of immortality, for if the crocus comes back every Spring, isn’t it possible we come back after our Winter of sleep to begin again.” There is a great feeling of resurgence and rebirth with spring, and while we feel it emotionally with the improvement in weather & life around us, I think physically we also transform to our younger self. 🙂 Wish you a great week ahead.

  26. Such a beautiful post… The photographs and your musings as to “the pardox of life” are so well connected.
    We can´t fight time and conquer its domains, as we are finite. But we can live our lives to the fullest…. make it something special.
    I love your post dear Dalo… Great to “see you”… Love & all the best to you 🙂 <

    • Thank you very much, Aquileana ~ living life to the fullest, to make it something special…the theme for spring, wish you a great week ahead.

  27. And so he returns from the void. 🙂 You have been missed, young man. The things that reawaken us, set the mind on fire. I think that quote was serendipity. Your contemplations are so familiar. It’s something we all go through, if we are lucky to live this long. The fear that passion will die with youth. But if we let it go, it not only stays, but shifts into a deeper dimension. Wishing you a delightful springtime, wherever you are now.

    • Julie, it is good to hear from you and I love the truth in your quote “the things that reawaken us, set the mind on fire.” Agree with the idea of passion shifting into deeper dimensions as we move forward ~ a reward of experience and the determination to get all we can out of the day. It’s been a great start to the spring so far, and 2018 should be another winner 🙂 Cheers to great days ahead.

  28. Randy – today, like spring is a renewal, a rebirth. a glad reminder to cherish each day. I so enjoy the opportunity to live vicariously through your pictures and words. Thanks again for sharing and glad you are well. Happy Trails.

    • Thank you very much, Kevin. This is the great thing about friendship, being able to stay connected and mutually inspired – continually able to renew our spirit. Happy trails and Let’er Buck!

  29. Hello Randall,
    So glad to see this latest “update” from you. Glad to know you are doing well. Hope you had a good Easter holidays 🙂

    • Thank you for the message Takami, great to hear from you and I hope all is going well. With spring just beginning, I hope to get the camera out a bit more this year. Wishing you well and take care.

      • Hello my friend, glad you remembered me 😉 I too, have not been as “active” on WordPress as of late. Although I do keep up with photography and staying active. I think I needed to stay away from gadgets and the “net” and focus on the real world… 🙂 I hope you continue to stay well and do let me know if you have plans to come to Japan – lots of good photo opportunities here as you know 🙂

      • I can definitely understand the need to focus on the real world 🙂 I’m due to make another visit to Japan, hopefully later this year and will definitely let you know. And if you’re in Seattle/HK/Prague let me know 🙂

  30. It’s good to read your blog again, Randall. It’s been a long time, and this post is a beautiful, poetic one in a sense. I like it very much.

    • Thank you Hien, it feels good to be back with a camera a story 🙂 Wishing you a great start to the spring season, look forward to a good year of shooting. Cheers!

  31. A wholly beautiful post, Randall. And true… as the body slows with age, the mind is free to dance.

  32. Each photo feels like a story in itself in this special post, Dalo, and each paragraph… like a chapter, quite engaging to follow through, like up and down a winding road, not knowing what thoughts, feelings might be stirred. There are quite a few ideas and details that I enjoyed reading and rediscovering somehow. It seems bewildering, really, the way we tend to travel though life only to go back where we started, in a certain way, enriched, having gained experience, yes, but still… more innocent even, as if we just had to convince ourselves, test, accept. It made me also think, things do feel like a spiral inside our soul and heart sometimes, ever turning, and perhaps gaining momentum each step of the way, helping us realize at some point (and hopefully not too late, if there is such a thing as too late) that things are in fact quite simple, I imagine. Simple and beautiful all along, and at least we can enjoy them all fully in retrospect if along the way we could not exactly see them too clearly for what they were, so to say. It does seem to be as if, paradoxically, the older we grow, the younger we become, yes.
    Thank you for the nice read, it was like an invigorating… voyage on the sea of time. 🙂 And I must say I especially like the fire photo, it looks absolutely amazing.

    • I’ve always thought that if in writing you can lead a reader down the same path you are taking in your mind while you write the words, it is time well spent ~ thank you for your comment, Nicole. There is something special to life in that the more time spent living, the more youthful you become in attitude. Focusing on experiences to be had is where I think we can find the greatest riches in life ~ be it in your backyard or across the globe. Location does not matter, it is following the opportunities that come our way. Cheers to a great spring ahead.

  33. The paradox of life, indeed. I love your spirit of curiosity and your poet-philosopher’s heart. Recently having heard a story about a man who felt there had to be more to this universe than our world and this life we are gifted, I too have been extremely grateful that I am able to appreciate the here-and-now and the miracle of the quotidian. What multidimensional, colorful, ephemeral experiences we garner as we all head towards that great unknown. Happy exploring in whatever corner of this beautiful world you find yourself.

    • Wonderful comment, BT, you paint a philosophy of life so well in this paragraph ~ where I struggled to do so in this full post 🙂 Thank you very much, and there is so much unknown out there which deserves more exploration. Wishing you great travels and happy trails.

  34. Pingback: The Ukrainian Muse and the Paradox of Life – Randall Collis | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  35. As a wise philosopher once wrote “there’s no such thing as a normal life, there’s just life…” Mindful living in the constantly changing landscape, keeps us present to appreciate whatever stage we might give ourselves. I like to think that there is so much more beyond the stage of reason. The seed is sewn when we feel a poignancy and a growing gratitude for simply living.
    Feeling is especially important in the cold, when the rest of us can easily become numb.😉
    Thank you sharing your reflections, photos and your Ukrainian muse Randall. 🙏

    • Ha, so very true ~ no such thing as a normal life, there’s just life… The key in happiness, I believe, is what you mention above ~ gratitude for living. It can create excitement every day. Wish you well, Val.

  36. Just once I’d love to be a part of these otherworldly conversations you have over drinks, Mr. Collis. Transported once again. I’m pretty much speechless. Smiling because I know that isn’t surprising, but with you I’m usually so full of wonder that I spill all my thoughts before you. I may have to return and give this another go. There’s just so much about this write of yours that leaves me envious of the thought process you beautifully entertain.

    Aging looks good on you. Thank you for the walk, Dalo.

    • Now, this sounds like a perfect plan ~ I’ll pay for the first few rounds too! Thank you, Audrey, there is a certain comfort knowing that in addition to becoming wiser as we age, there will always be friends like you around to make the days happier as well 🙂 Wishing you great happiness as you chase spring around. Cheers!

  37. You got it, in our 20s, I felt like things were endless. Not sure how to describe my 30s. Vic has always felt like an old man since his teenage years. Think this describes it best for me, “My biological clock is ticking and it never consisted of kids, it was made to see the world. When I hit 30, the gears started to turn faster by year and get more restless as the days pass.” That gets some people I know upset. I don’t say it to upset anyone, it’s how I feel and even though we are traveling more than before, my soul craves for more and more. Wish the restless could settle down, it used to between vacations but now its nonstop of, “Hello! Your at the midway point and you have all these places to see. Get your butt moving.”

    Your travels in Eastern Europe look so cool. Is it ok for Americans to travel there since US relations are a bit tense? I’ve always wanted to see St. Petersburg.

    Happy Adventures! So glad to see you’re back 🙂

    • I like Vic’s assessment of your spirit, it is the beauty of embracing life as we see it in “the now” and it may be different than others, which in a sense can make it more powerful as well. I too have this view as there is no such thing as a set plan for life, just open the heart and mind and pursue :-). A very funny comment about travel, as while I was at immigration in Prague the guy asked me where I was going and I said, ” Eastern Ukraine.” And he laughed and added “An American in Eastern Ukraine ~ good luck.” But it was actually awesome, such great people. I’ve had a desire for years to travel to Iran as I’ve heard it’s a beautiful country and the people are wonderful as well. Cheers to more adventures!

      • I’m finally getting more comfy with who I am. For years I thought there was something wrong with me. It’s a struggle, still have my insecure moments. Meeting people while traveling and on WP has made me realize there’s plenty of us out there. Can’t wait to see your other adventures! To a lifetime of wandering and exploring 🙂

  38. Your thoughts, quotes and rhythm of storytelling make for a satisfying read, as always, Randall. Your compelling images pair beautifully. You are right on target for me on your thoughts about aging. Now that I am older — a relative term– I feel more resolved yet impassioned especially in this current state of the world. Glad you are back and thanks for another terrific post.

    • There seems to a bit more clarity and calmness in life once we roll out the chaos of the 20s and beyond. Even with the calmness, there is a parallel feel of increased passion as well – helps lead us to find what is important in our lives and those around us. Thank you, Jane, and wishing you continued adventures and success in your photography 🙂

  39. Your muse speaks well for you, and I know it’s no coincidence that she’s female. I like the idea of the growth of wisdom being a “gradual gift.” And that the present is where we need to be – of course – because it’s where serendipity happens. Who would have expected all this wisdom and contentment to have been found in the Ukraine? That just makes it more interesting. Good to see your beautiful work, Randall, and Happy Spring!

    • When a muse speaks, it would be a shame not to listen. And since I’ve grown up around the wisdom of women, there is no doubt in my mind where the real wisdom of the world is derived 🙂 The feeling of wisdom being a gradual gift is also a great source of inspiration and hope, as every new day will have something brilliant to offer. Thank you very much, Lynn, and wishing you a great spring as well.

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