Then again there was the run up until I got hired by the fire department in Rahway and then again Newark. Then there was the interminable waiting for the day to arrive when I received my promotions to Captain and to Battalion Chief. I could literally hear the clock giving off it slow and monotonous series of ticks and tocks. When you consider that I was promoted to Battalion Chief on the very last day on a three-year promotional list, you can better see what I mean.
But then again, there are other times when the moments really seem to fly by. I can recall when the day came and I could retire from Newark. I paused to draw a breath of fresh air and ponder the possibilities of my future. Then it seems like there was a large poof and now I am suddenly thirteen years older. I cannot believe that I have been out of Newark for more than 13 years. Time is an integral part of life and it seems to move in uneven fits and spurts.
How do you explain things like this to a younger person? I guess it is like the time when one of my veteran buddies in Newark suggested that I enjoy each day on the job, because, as he stated, time will fly by and you will never really know where it went. Suddenly you will be retired and wondering where your life went. Son of a gun if he wasn't right on target with that one.
So it is the passage of time which is hard to define for the young folks. I have taken great pains to pass on the information which my older buddy shared with me so many years ago. I urge the younger folks with whom I share my thoughts and ideas to take each day as the gift it is and enjoy it to its fullest. There are only going to be so many of them and you must not waste them.
Let me now share a critical element which can be lost by each of us as we grow from an eager young novice into a grey-haired, longtime veteran. It is hard to remember just how much of our time was spent as a younger person dreaming of those things we would like to accomplish. I can recall wanting to get out of high school and head off to college. I can recall wanting to get out of the Air Force and get on with my life. In each of those cases I had dreams and my actions were targeted in pointing me to achieve my dreams.
Sadly, the ability to dream is something which is far too frequently worn away from our spirit as we grow older. Life's disappointments take a toll on us and we are worn down by life's reality. There are people of my acquaintance who seem to be just going through the paces in the living of their lives. Some of them seem to be patiently waiting for the final knock of death and their life's door. That is really sad. Let me suggest that does not have to be this way.
I am not a young man. Heck, I even have a Medicare card in my wallet. But I still have dreams. I still have plans and my writing for you is one of the major parts of my life's plan of attack for the decade of my sixties. Let me suggest that you need to review my article on optimism and review the list you created for yourself that contains those things where you can have an impact. Your dreams can cure the problems you face which fall within your ability to attack them.
I still have dreams my friends. I want my wife and me to live long enough to see our son appointed a Monsignor in the church. I want to live to see my firefighting daughter meet the man of her dreams and get married. I want to live long enough to take my grandchildren to the Jersey shore and walk on the boards at Ocean Grove en route to yet another concert where they can see their grand dad play his tuba.
Further more I want to keep responding to fire calls with the Adelphia Fire Company as long as I have the physical ability and mental acuity to perform my duties safely and correctly. Finally I want to spend many, many more evenings out on my front porch smoking cigars and dreaming of things to share with you.
Let me suggest that you shake off the cobwebs of adulthood and embrace the child-like nature of a true dreamer. As long as you have the ability to think, you will have the ability to dream. Maybe there will be a better way to raise money for your fire department. Perhaps there will be a way to train people so that they never again die from falling through a building with a trussed roof.
Your ability to dream is limited only by your willingness to think. Let me assure you of one important fact. There will always be one more thought to think and one more theory to share. There will always be one more dream of what you and your fire department family can do it you just try. My friends, that is my dream for the future.