Log In   ·   Become A Member

Sixty-Something: There Is Always Room For Greatness

T.J. Clemente

  |   1 Comment · Print Article

The author on one of his many adventures. (Courtesy Photo)

As we forged ahead into our later years we come to realize there are things we always thought we would do someday that we just aren't going to achieve in this lifetime. Things such as hikes in the Himalayas or trips to Egypt down the Nile, or even helicopter skiing in Alaska. Father Time has a way of closing the door for certain adventures tucked away in the deep corners of our minds.

I have a prime example. Many years ago, at age 19, I was parked in front of a ferryboat going from the State of Washington to Alaska. My buddy said, "We are not going on that ferry, perhaps another time!" and we headed to Montana. I was one ferry ride away from Alaska, but now I just don't see me ever getting there.

23 years ago, in the mid 1990's, I was having a ski lunch with, Jean Claude Charlet, who was then both a friend and President of the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix, when I told him, "When I retire, I am coming back to Chamonix to climb Mt. Blanc." Jean Claude looked at me sternly and with his best English said, "If you are to successfully climb Mt Blanc you must do it now, in the next year, or you will never do it." He continued to say, "Every summer I watch men in their sixties come to climb Mt. Blanc, but must turn back due to their age." I did come back that next summer and did summit the tallest mountain in the Alps at 15,781 ft. However if I tried to do it this summer at 65-years-old, I know I would not be able to. Last March when Cindi, my wife, and I visited Chamonix and she saw the route I took, she couldn't believe I ever did it.

However while dining this week at Union Cantina in Southampton with my wife, the waitress said something that caught my attention. She, at 25-years-old, said about life in general, "There is always room for greatness!" I believe she is right.

Every year out on the East End of Long Island, I seem to witness someone doing something great. One year in Montauk a fireman went into a burning house and carried a sleeping friend of mine out to safety. Another time I saw the whole community have a fundraiser for a cancer victim who now 9 years later is a successful cancer survivor. Greatness does happen all around, sometimes without warning. Heroes do exist. I am sure we all have an example that comes to mind immediately. I think all us "sixty-something" folks still have some greatness to be achieved.

I am hoping to have a moment like that writing someday, not to make money, not to achieve fame, but just to know I got something really right. Years ago when I was in New Hampshire to visit Saint Anselm's College, thinking I might apply there, I was driving my younger brother Jim and friend Tom Romero in Tom's dad's Chrysler New Yorker (with that 472 hp engine back in 1971). Then we became lost perhaps one mile from the School. We stopped to ask a farmer how to get to the school. He pointed to a Saint Anselm's building up on a hill in the near distance and said, "You can't get there from here!" Of course I was confused about that. But then he explained we had to go back to where we turned off and go the opposite way to get to get just right up there where the building was. The lesson is sometimes you must go back to get to where you came from to get to where you need to go. We must not be afraid or be too proud to go backwards to go forwards.

I learned a long time ago to admit to my wife when I am lost on a drive and let her turn on the GPS and get us there. One thing about the East End of Long Island it's hard to get lost on Route 27 or Route 25, but sometimes it is tough to get back to either of them at night when it's raining. I hope all those reading this column will understand that no matter what age, "There always is room for greatness." And it would be great to go for it. You can get there from here.

Related Articles:

Guest (Reader) from Santa Monica, CA says::
We all look back and think about what we could have, or should have, done. We shouldn't enter the third stage of life (youth, middle age and "you look great!") with regrets. We are all exceptional. Nice article.
Nov 22, 2017 12:57 am


Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is a banana?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

CP Complete- Landscape Design & Construction
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.

Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant. Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.

Calissa is Mykonos in the Hamptons.
Our menu focuses on seafood and Greek dishes such as salt baked fish, seafood pasta and Mediterranean mezze. Our wine list has been awarded The Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and boasts the largest selection of rosé in the Hamptons. The name Calissa is derived from the brightest constellation in the summer sky.Our sister restaurants in New York are Amali and Bar Marseille, opening 2020 in the Rockaways. Calissa offers private dining spaces for groups from 10 to 300 people. To plan your next wedding, corporate event or gathering, please email events@calissahamptons.com. 1020 MONTAUK HIGHWAY, WATER MILL

Suburban Propane in Bridgehampton, New York has been serving proudly supporting our community for 90 years.
Suburban Propane has been serving the energy needs for home owners and business in the Hampton’s for decades. We offer friendly service by local professionals you know and trust, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are among the leaders in the industry for safety.