Capstone and Satori, what do these words mean to me?
When I was a younger man, in my early twenties I read a book called Satori in Paris by Jack Kerouac. Written in 1966, nine years after the seminal On the Road was published, and the year of my birth, it was a harrowing tale to me: A 44 year old Jack Kerouac, three years before his death, coming face to face with his family heritage and his own mortality.
Satori is a Japanese word for sudden awakening, like that feeling of being struck by a bolt of lightning, a jolting force that tells you to wake up. Satori. The word has hung on me for many years since reading this book. I knew the time would come when one day I would enter the final phase of my life, no longer young but something different, evolved, at the peak of my skills and knowledge, the Everest of a life time before things begin to slow. At 52, I’ve found Everest’s summit and that leads me to the second word, capstone.
Capstone, the stone set at the top of the arch that applies downward pressure keeping everything else in place. Capstone, the culmination of all of your learning applied to one project. Capstone: What do I still have to accomplish before I work my way down and off the mountain?
I woke up not too long ago and took stock of my life. My dog had died on May 30, my companion for 14 years, and her death brought me face to face with the reality that two dogs from now I could be 80. While 80 isn’t necessarily the end of the path, I don’t think waiting until 80 to find my capstone project is a good idea. No, I want to start now, I need to start now.
Which brings me full circle: The Satori I had was that I was wasting time, that I needed to narrow my focus, hone in on the things that I want to accomplish, and have a plan.
This blog has one purpose: It will serve as document to my son, grandchildren (God Willing) and anyone else interested in reading how I defined myself and my life.