A. M. Thoughts on Thanksgiving Eve

Regrets.  Woulda, coulda shoulda.  I’m not the man I  could have been.

Today I read the article below. “Being gentle with ourselves every day means giving ourselves credit for what we’ve already accomplished, not getting stuck in the “woulda, coulda, shouldas,” and giving ourselves a path of hope for everything that is yet to come.” from https://therapychanges.com/blog/2017/05/gentle/

Why am I not the man I could have been.  Do you feel like you are all that you can be?

Overall, I feel very lucky.  It seems the right people came into my lives at the right time to give me a boost of sorts.  There have been enough challenges to force me to deal with just enough unpleasantness to want to make a change.  In high school, when I was heavy, and finding a dance partner was a challenge, so I lost weight.  When only a B student in college the first go around, I got serious the second time.  I learned how to study and memorize things more quickly, and disciplined my self to do the work.  Almost straight A’s from then on.

angst-clipart-6In high school,  I shied away from some things, like group sports in high school or group anything, like chorus, band, parties, etc.  I spent more time alone than a lot of kids then, or with one friend at a time, someone I felt safer with than a group, who i feared would see my imperfections, my unimportance, and see through my charade.  The battle inside, the time consuming decision making process of should I or shouldn’t I was often there.  Even when something or someone looked attractive, I struggled with the what if’s inside my head.  I spent far more time considering the downside of those what ifs than the upsides, and consequently missed a lot of fun and opportunities. I coulda been an actor, an athlete, an artist, a writer.  If not for the fear of exposure.  Contemplating asking someone out on a date was excruciating most of the time.

good old meA small caveat.  Some probably did not see me as emotionally constrained.  I fashioned a pretty good facade.  Good looks helped. I had older siblings whose stories and mannerisms I copied.  It worked for them after all. Sometimes I shined, when I let the creative juices flowed, and a few victories were won.

At 65, it is easy to look back.  Knowing what I know now, if I could go back, what would I do different.  You might see this as an exercise in futility.  I don’t think so.  It may help another if they read this.  The very same advice I would give to my 20 year old self, I give to my 65 year old self as well.

Never hesitate to be kind and generous.  I’ve missed out on a lot of relationships but there are lots more to have. But it isn’t just about how I could benefit.  It’s also how they could benefit from knowing me? My top most sorrow about my dad these days, who died when I was a junior in high school, and he was 47 is two fold.  I didn’t get to know or enjoy him. But the flip side is, he didn’t get to know me, and oh, how cool that could have been. richard and dad on the beach

schooner with bill and ellaDon’t worry about what other people think of you.  As they say in Alanon, what other people think of me is none of my business.  And there is nothing so gratifying of pursuing my own dream and finding success.  Whether they are critical or encouraging, it is minor compared to my own evaluation. My brothers will attest to the fact, that I don’t take advice much.  But taking some of those risks worked out for me.  A job in Maine on a sailboat for 8 months, diversifying my studies in college, resulting is a B.A. and an M.A. in “jack of all trades, master of none.” Perfect for teaching middle school shop.

Pace yourself.  Doing too much of one thing isn’t good for the body or mind, as it leads to mental, emotional or physical exhaustion. Take time to do things that charge your batteries.  One day at a time, or as Johnny Cash said, “One piece at a time.”  Moderation is key.  Whether it comes to food, exercise, alcohol, and commitments.  I don’t think there is a workaholic that I’d trade places with.

Now, more than ever, I think less and feel more.  How will I feel if I do this or that? I know I have the luxury of being retired so maybe it won’t work for everyone, especially if you are struggling to make ends meet, and take care of others.  I work part time, making my own hours for the most part, doing things that re fairly enjoyable.  With my relaxed schedule, and relative lack of concern of what others want from me or think of my, I get to ponder.  What would be fun?  What would give me a sense of achievement today.  What gives me joy. Who shall I call and talk to.  Where should I go, or invite myself, and look for opportunities for fun and friendship? It’s working for me.

As for the original point of regrets, and woulda coulda shoulda.  Sure it could have been different, maybe better.  I’ll have to accept that my journey was a little hit and miss, a little jerky perhaps.  I will hold the sentiment that I hold for everyone.  I did about the best I could under the circumstances.  However, knowing what I know now, I expect the next chapter of my life to be pretty interesting, fun and rewarding.

nov 2019

I’ve had enough

  • Have you had enough? Me too. I’ve had enough of so called representatives of the people who protect a president, well known before he was elected to be a womanizer, an accused alleged predator, a lousy businessman, a liar, and an adulterer. Image result for president trump with jeffrey
  • I’ve had enough! I’ve had enough of 8 years of nothing but opposition/obstruction  to anything Obama tried to do, no matter how worthwhile. You obstructed, because you couldn’t stand the thought of him succeeding.
  •  I’ve had enough whining and moaning while our brave public servants testify UNDER OATH of the truth of the events, while the GOP obstructs, whines and refuses to comply with legitimate subpoenas. In prior years, refusing to comply meant arrest and jail time.
  •  I’ve had enough of your bragging about all the jobs and growth of the stock market, when in fact income inequality is greater than ever since the census has been in effect. And the party of fiscal responsibility is mum about the record high deficit.
  •  I’ve had enough of bragging about low taxes in this state of TN while poverty levels and lack of affordable health care and education achievement is some of the worst in the country and affordable housing is so difficult to find.  
  •  I’ve had enough our our schools barely getting by, and teachers subjecting themselves to pay much lower than their professional peers for the benefit of children, and your governor takes even more money away from public schools for charter schools.
  • I’ve had enough of money in politics, where representatives have to worry about pleasing their corporate donors more than doing what is right for the people. 
  • I’ve had enough of a pay to play system where people are unqualified for the position they are given after giving a million dollar donation to the presidents inaugural fund.  
  • I’ve had enough of politicians that sit on their hands and look the other way in silent complicity while thousands of children are separated from their parents in violation of international law. 
  • I’ve had enough of politicians putting their heads in the sand refusing to look at the facts about the climate crisis and do nothing except whine that it is not 100% conclusive.  Image result for climate crisis
  • I’ve had enough of the obstruction in the Senate where McConnell refuses to bring a vote to over 200 measures that were passed in the house.  
  • I’ve had enough of tax breaks for the rich and little or nothing for the people that need it. 

I could go on and on. 

1fhe8gyrful11In summary, I’VE HAD ENOUGH of whining GOP representatives that refuse to be transparent, that prefer to twist the facts, ignore those in need, pass legislation that benefits the rich while the poor and the middle class try to make do on less. I’ve had enough of elected officials treating us like mushrooms, keeping us in the dark, and feeding us BS. 

In November, hopefully, you will see we have had enough of you as well.

Our older selves can speak to us.

I was sent a link to an article that talks about the five things needed to do to be happy.  Yeah, right.  Haven’t I read them all by now?  Out of respect and appreciation to the person that sent it, I opened it and read it.  One of the five ideas to me is  huge…a paradigm shift.

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I’ve been sorting and sifting through my Catholic upbringing, a short stint in Jesus Freakism and then in my 20’s started to explore parapsychology and mysticism.  The crowd I run with for now resonate with native American motifs, seven generations, and spirituality and the other talks about archetypes, corners, and Robert Bly, inner child, and healing.

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The paradigm I’m comfortable with these days, and imperfect to be sure is one that says we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.  Call it God, love, source, “all that is”is part of us, and we are part of it.  Same track maybe, or parallel tracks that sometimes split and we get a little lost along the way, only to find our way back to a place that honors all things and the spirit that resides in them.

I have looked to others for wisdom in the words they speak and still there is sifting and sorting and trying to make sense out of their words.   It is never quite complete or perfect.

do-not-follow-the-ideas-of-others-but-learn-to-listen-to-the-voice-within-yourself-your-body-and-mind-will-become-clear-and-you-will-realize-the-unity-of-allThe concept in the article resonates inside me. Speak to, or at least listen to your older self.  For me that means me, in my mid 80’s, who sees me, knows me, and despite the good, bad and ugly, mistakes and all, loves me.  That old man has wisdom for me, custom made, and perfectly suited to my situation.

He is also a reminder  of my mortality.  He says, make the years count.  There is no destination but the process is what counts.  Therefore, make each day count.  Never miss a moment to show kindness and appreciation.  If you feel the urge, call someone, and by doing so, you may cheer up both you and the other. If there is an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time, go for it.  It may be theatre again, as it was last year. Or it might be a new job. A new club.  Hanging out and making new friends at the senior center. Volunteering for a worthy cause. It may be with family scattered around the east coast. It may be dancing, or singing, or a festival or a holiday celebration.  Show up. Make it count.

article-2643858-1E55436500000578-585_634x366My older wiser self also tells me not to get complacent.  There are enough good years left and you don’t want to squander those years with bad health.  If you are going to dance, travel and play, to fully appreciate those things, you need a certain level of health?

Older self says “Check in with me next time you have the temptation for that donut, cookie, sugar sweet drink.  I won’t tell you what to do, but let’s have a conversation about it.  We’ll talk ever so briefly about your goals, what you hope to accomplish, and how to best share your many gifts with the world.images Because if you are not healthy enough to participate fully, it won’t be as rich and good as it could be. It’s your choice.  You can settle for some temporary pleasure, but look around you.  Who lives life to the fullest?  Who has given up and just taking up space?  The choice is yours.”