I do not recall ever being haunted by ghosts from the past. I am certainly not now. Also, I rarely, if ever, regret leaving behind what I left behind. I cannot hinder the march of time or increasing age, so I take what I can, as best I can. I enjoy occasional thoughts about fond memories and strive to avoid those less pleasant. I rarely consider what might have been, if I had made different decisions or suffered a different fate. After all, I climbed many tall trees, played in unguarded waters, spent a year in a foolish, unnecessary war, drove at speeds most (but not Porsche drivers) would consider reckless, suffered illnesses, and crossed London streets on foot. I have no idea what different outcomes might have been, so do not waste time thinking about the unknowable.
Unlike many immigrants and travelers to foreign lands, I have never felt intimidated by not belonging. Therefore, I cannot empathize with those who must confront prejudice and rejection each day of their lives. Instead, I pity them and loath those that reject, torment, or abuse them. I have no idea about the source of this confidence (or indifference) and self-satisfaction. Vanity is not the cause, because I have a healthy understanding of my self. Perhaps, this emanates from not needing other people for fulfillment. Having lived away from my "tribe" for two thirds of my life, I consider myself fortunate to be like this.
I have never felt like an exile, rather fortunate to be able to choose what I want from life. Being "different" or "foreign" have never been an impediment or curse, as can often be for immigrants or someone not of the dominant race, color, or creed. Perhaps, I benefited from being an American during the years when most of the world looked favorably upon the country of my birth. I recall a saying in Germany, when I first arrived: "There are three kinds of people in this country: Germans, American, and foreigners". Of course, I belonged to what was still an occupying force, but that was not seen as overly negative, compared to what was happening/had happened to people residing to the East.
I have never been arrogant about my status and relative wealth (except when reciting the above line on occasion), but have become more cautious. I continue to enjoy life—and hope to for some time—but tend to be even more-reclusive and avoid pointing to my "differentness". Usually, this is visible to anyone with a firm grasp of the obvious.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.