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  • mariokiefer

I Have Lived

Sometimes, I have lived with the angels and soared to the heights of heaven. At other times I am lived with my own demons and crawled out of the depths of hell.

I have lived all over this country: in red states, blue states, and swing states; in large cities, small cities, and areas with no city at all. I have lived in predominantly white neighborhoods, black neighborhoods, Hispanic neighborhoods, Asian neighborhoods, and gay neighborhoods. I have lived in downtowns and in the ‘burbs. I have lived in and experienced places whose culture and politics were different from my own. I was part of, and lived in, those communities.

I have traveled. I have visited 46 of the 50 states in this nation and 14 countries on four of the world’s seven continents. I have traveled by plane, train, boat, and automobile. I have lived and taken all manner and mode of transportation.

I have made my living in fast food, in high-end restaurants, and other service industries. I have made my living from production, retail, and in warehouses. I have made my living in blue collar and white collar jobs. I have been a worker and have been management. I have been an employee and an employer. I have lived rich and I have lived poor.

I have swum in pools, rivers, lakes, and oceans. I have crawled, walked, and run. At times, I have run marathons, and at others - I have been too ill to leave my bed. I have lived healthy, and I have fought illness. But I lived through it all.

I have been to the theater, the opera, the movies, concerts (in all music genres). I have been to the circus, county and state fairs, and local carnivals as well as many of the so-called major events in major cities. I lived in revelry.

I have been a registered Republican, registered Democrat, and an Independent. I have been liberal and I have been conservative. I have marched in support of (or opposition to) one thing or another. I have shaken the hands of three of our ex-presidents and too many other politicians to count. I have met and spent time with celebrities. I have lived in their shadow, and I have lived on my own.

I have worked at a soup kitchen for the homeless while at the same time I have railed against them. I have donated my time and money to causes while dodging the incessant phone calls for more. I have worked with children and the elderly. I have held the hands of the sick and dying. I have attended parties and parades, and I have attended wakes and funerals; too many of the latter for my liking. I have lived in the shadow of death.

And, yes, I have taken as much as I have given. I have been charitable, and I have been selfish. I have been kind and I have been cruel. I have done good things, and I have done bad, and so many in between. I have been right and I have been wrong. I am just a man. I have lived in joy and I have lived in sorrow.

I have loved and been loved. I have lived with a lover and I have lived alone.

I have failed as often as I have succeeded. I have done so much, yet, I have done so little.

I am just a man.

But, I have lived.

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