Are You a Glass is Half Full or a Glass is Half Empty Type of Guy?

Half Full or Half Empty?

I am a “the glass is half full” type of guy. However, that is not to say I have always been that way. Prior to retiring, and as a matter of fact, even up to a few years after that – well more than a few years after retiring, I looked at life as one where my glass was always “half empty.”  I am sure we all remember the expression “the glass is half full” or “the glass is half empty”.  Were I to say this in today’s age and in front of small children, I would expect to hear one of them say: “What’s that mean?”

Now that I am much older, I tend to look at my life as “half full!” This may seem a bit odd because depending on what group of people you associate with many people might feel that the glass is pretty much “half empty”.  Why? because we are senior citizens!

In my humble opinion, those individuals preparing to retire must ask themselves this question: Are our glasses half-full or half-empty? One of the best ways I know to look at our lives when we reach retirement age is to look at life as though we have a half-full glass as opposed to a glass that is half-empty.  Okay, for the skeptics out there, having reached retirement age, one might argue that our lives may be half-over. But that does not mean we should look at our lives as being half-empty.

True, I would have liked to know at age eighteen or even age twenty-five what I know now but one thing we all know is that we cannot turn back the clock. I am sure there are many facets of our life we wish we could relive and do it better but being realistic, the fact of the matter is there is no genie we can conjure up out of a bottle to ask for three wishes that might enable us to redo those days or years of our lives. So, what are our choices? Complain, scream, holler and say woe is me, woe is me! Nay, those are the words of an individual looking at life as if our glass is half-empty. Instead, we need to “man up” and accept our lot in life as it is and get on with it. Bottom line, we need to look at the rest of our life as if the glass is half-full.

Every morning I wake, I look forward to whatever life throws my way. Am I happy with some of the crap being thrown at me – No – but I stop and think to myself, posing the question: “Hey, will this matter five years from now or even better yet, next year?” Probably not – so why sweat the small stuff?

True, we all have issues as we get older but I have found that taking life one day at a time is the only way to move forward at this time in our life. One of the things I find helpful is writing a “To-Do” list every morning and by having a busy schedule. I’ve been retired now almost twenty-five years and the one thing I have learned is that we need to keep busy. I always thought I was a fairly healthy individual but believe me – when a sickness or health problem comes up at our age, the first thought to cross our mind, leastways my mind, is why did I let myself go. Actually neither my wife nor I have left ourselves deteriorate but we could have done more.

 Today we walk as much as we can and do morning stretches to keep our bodies limber and in fairly good shape. Years ago we line danced sometimes three days a week and some weeks five days a week. It is a lot of fun and does keep you in fairly healthy shape. Staying under the covers when that alarm goes off every morning is not a luxury to us – we look at it as an early start to something new and exciting.

Reminding ourselves that we aren’t twenty-five or even fifty anymore enables us to think of some of the comedic things that we might look forward to (or not) as we age. For instance, one thing that is consistent with regards aging is that our bladder tends to remind us that we do have unfinished business that needs to be taken care of once we wake. It is usually during my morning walk to the bathroom that I remember that I am no longer 25 or even 50. For some reason or another, once you pass the three-quarter of a century mark our bones and muscles tend to remind us that we are not as young as we used to be. Another hint is when we look at ourselves in the mirror and say to ourselves – who are you – when did you get so old? Good news though is the fact that looking back at me is an elderly gentleman smiling, saying “guess what – you don’t have to go to work today, you are retired”. 

While many of us succumb to many of the various ailments that come with the aging process, one has but to look at all the modern medicines available to us today that weren’t there yesterday. Modern medicine is being created and designed to enable us to cope with these ailments, enabling us to live  to a ripe old age of say 80 or 90.

It is true, however, that as with any change in say natures’ plan (leaves falling from trees, flowers dying and then watching both the trees and flowers come back to life when the seasons change), we could have repercussions as we live an extended life. What repercussions you ask? Repercussions such as quality of life issues. How do we cope with such issues? By keeping each other healthy by visiting the doctor regularly, eating the proper foods, exercise, and yes, take our medications as prescribed by our doctors.

Another thing I would recommend that will provide much benefit towards living to a ripe old age is staying socially active. Loneliness can be devastating. Stay active and surround yourself with friends and relatives. Even contact via the Internet, social media, phone calls, can be beneficial as we move forward at this point in our lives. While we have quite a few friends due to our dancing and social activities, and do stay in touch with our children and relatives even though they live thousands of miles away, I personally look forward to the exchange of thoughts with friends made via Social media sites such as Facebook; Retirement-Online.com, and Lakeland Musings by Irwin. Why, because our travel time has come to a standstill due to Covid-19 and since we cannot be there in person, keeping in touch via these mediums, remind us that we are not alone during this pandemic. By staying socially active via the Internet, I know that there will always be someone to talk to and share thoughts with.

Let me end this post with the following thought for the day:

Old age is like a car. Paint can conceal the exterior, but the lines reveal the age.

Look at the balance of our lives as merely another part of our story – one that we have to live, enjoy, and share with others.

“Eudaimonia”

Happiness

Have you ever wondered why some things are important to some people while others take a completely different point of view of that same subject? Being a simple man and not really needing much to make me happy, recently I have found that there are but a few of the many things we do each day that I look forward to. These are personal things. Things like: What the word of the day is? Which quote will cause me to stop and reflect for a minute or two as to where I am today! And finally, what funny joke or saying will I read or hear about before the day is out!

Each of these three things have become my bastion of hope that even though I am getting older and the world, at times, appears to be spiraling out of control, I look forward to seeing what I can learn each day be it in the form of a new word; famous quote; funny joke, or whatever (let’s face it – we are always or leastways should always be learning something) and doing so makes it all, let us just say, interesting!  

One of my most recent words that I learned about is: Eudaimonia

According to Dictionary.com – Noun: “human flourishing”, a contented state of being happy, healthy, and prosperous.

I would venture to say that eudaimonia” is what many of us are looking for most of our lives. To be happy, healthy, and prosperous!

Sometimes I think of quotes first thing in the morning while other times, I may be engaged in a conversation and the gist of the conversation gets me to thinking – gee – what famous quote may apply in this instance? Such was the case recently when I was in a conversation wherein the question was posed:  Have you given thought to what it is going to be like when you reach your eightieth birthday?  Personally, I am one of those unique individuals that think age is merely a number. However, I must say that this question piqued my interest thus causing me to look for a quote representative of age and the aging process: Below is what I found:

“Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigor. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow’s hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life.” ~Charles Dickens

Isn’t the above description that which we all seek – our hearts and spirits to be young and in full vigor.

Finally, as mentioned in my opening remarks, the third thing I look forward to every day is the possibility that I will hear and like a new joke. And while I am now well past the age of 70, the following one-liner about age struck my fancy:  Statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to every man.  Isn’t that the darndest time for a guy to get those odds? Am I concerned? Nope! We (my wife and I) are coming up on 58 years of wedded bliss come May of this year and so I don’t need to worry about those odds.

As we age, we all tend to spend our times differently. I would venture to say that golfers tend to get in as much golf as their bodies will allow them to endure; individuals that have a hobby of sorts may do their best to spend more time engaged in that hobby; those that spend a bit of time doing volunteer work may find themselves spending more time at the place they volunteer. Me, with the exception of required household chores, maintaining the household budget, and seeing to it that the house is well-maintained, I spend as much time as I can doing what I like to do – reading and writing.

Whatever your situation is though, one thing we may all tend to learn as we age is that when we were younger, time seemed to be standing still whereas now that we are much older, time seems to be flying by. Don’t waste it, make every day a full day.

Until next time!

Crazy Things We Think About at 2 AM in the Morning

Being the wild and crazy person I am, at two o’clock in the morning I get to thinking about various things to write about in this week’s post. Why is it, we old folk, who are supposed to do our best to get eight if not nine hours of sleep every night, come up with the brilliant things we want to write about at odd hours in the wee morning, you know like 2 AM? Truth be told, I came up with five topics I could turn into a comical article for this week’s post. But, not wanting to lose my precious sleep I chose not to get up and jot some notes down about each of them. So I will not be writing about any of those – this time – that is!  

Instead, I decided to go an altogether different direction and chose to write about children and the myth that surrounds the fact that children acquire a sense of companionship and personal responsibility when allowed to have a pet of their very own. Yes, instead of writing a post about one of five different topics I thought about at 2 AM in the morning, I am going to write about children and the weird pets they have during their formative years.

During my past years of child-rearing, the only thing I can remember my children learning when it came to owning a dog is that you keep uppermost in your mind that when sitting at the dinner table, you do not, I repeat, do not let the hand holding your hamburger, piece of pizza, or hot dog drop below the top of the table. And I often wondered why, when it came time to put my children to bed every night when they were younger, they would have to turn around in their bed three times before going to sleep.

Here’s yet another interesting question: What is it with young children and their fascination with rodents? Fortunately, my children were not into mice like some of their childhood friends were. No, ours liked hamsters (small, fluffy, and somewhat cuddly rodents) or was that during my elementary years. Somewhere along the way, I also seem to remember we had Guinea Pigs. What did I learn about hamsters? Well, one thing I have learned over the years is that hamsters, while soft and cuddly, can teach you one important life learning lesson. What lesson is that you ask? It is just this, even though you might feed and clean up after the hamster (rodent) – let’s face it – a hamster is still a rodent, and being such, it still might turn around and bite the hand that feeds it.

But let us move on to another interesting pet – one I didn’t understand then and still don’t to this day. What is the attraction to Bearded Dragons? Let’s face it folks – it is a non-cuddly lizard. And let us not forget the fact that they do not manufacture Purina Lizard Chow….no, this pet requires live bugs. One might think that living in Florida as we do, one could just harvest some of our own live bugs right from our own environment. But, having read the manual from the pet store, one learns that there is no telling what germs our bugs might have. Perish the thought we should sacrifice those bugs. No, we need to feed the lizard (I know – Bearded Dragon) specially raised lizard-bugs, which – you guessed it – the pet store just happens to sell – and not cheaply, I might add. I will tell you what these bugs are in the next paragraph.

Well, while it may have been fun to go to the pet store for Lizard feed, doing so created a challenge. When visiting the other fish/lizards/rodents -oops excuse me – goldfish, bearded dragons, hamsters and gerbils, and so forth during our trip to purchase lizard feed, the challenge was to not purchase any other residents of the pet store to add to our menagerie.  That was challenge #1. Challenge #2 was  getting the (Lizard feed) lizard-bugs home intact and still alive (yes, the Bearded Dragons only ate live feed), which, now that I think about it, wasn’t really that hard to do. The hard part was not telling the kids that you were feeding this reptilian excuse for a pet, baby crickets. Can you see it now if they knew? Each of those baby crickets would have a name and when you would go to pick it up to feed it to the reptile – one of them would scream out at the top of their lungs – NO, you cannot feed Betsy to the lizard. You notice the dis-association now with the pet Bearded Dragon/lizard. Now he, (assuming it is a he), is The Predator.

Have you ever thought about how we might explain the difference between a ‘pet’ rodent, the cute rodent in many Disney animated movies, and the uninvited mouse that at one point in your lives makes its way into your kitchen or basement?

Can you see it now, it is three o’clock in the morning and you hear a noise down in the kitchen! You make your way to the kitchen just in time to see your husband or wife, depending who is the warrior person in your house, chasing a mouse, Rubbermaid salad bowl in hand, with the hope of being able to plop it down on the critter not knowing what he/she is going to do next if he/she is successful.

Ah, the days of yester-year. And no, I do not want to go back. Suffice it to say, I look forward to hearing the stories as told by my children and their children when it comes to pets, so that I can just sit back, smile and remember how it was back then.

By the way, for the record, we (Dolly and I) never had a Bearded Dragon but we have had experience with all the critters mentioned in this post, and thus know what it is to keep a Bearded Dragon as a pet. As a matter of fact, one of our children even had tarantulas. But guess what, our grandchildren (well – one of them) also has a snake and bunnies as well. Personally, I could never understand the attraction children have with tarantulas, snakes, or for that matter, Bearded Dragons. I mean – look at it – how could you love such a creature. Nope, I will stay with miniature schnauzers (our pet of choice when we did have pets). Well, those and Yorkshire terriers because we had a very cute Yorkshire Terrier who was very lovable. C’mon now – be truthful – which one of the creatures shown below would provide you with comfort in your old age?

That’s all I have today. Thanks for tuning in.

Until next time!

Just Being Silly!

Welcome all of you “Lakeland Musings by Irwin” readers that follow my weirdness and craziness. Time slipped up on me this week, and today’s post, while short, and though not written by me, hopefully will bring a smile to your face, a chuckle or two, and in my small way, brighten your day.

I came across the following whilst trying to weed out boxes of paperwork we have been lugging around for years.

Tree of Life

Many many years ago

When I was twenty-three,

I got married to a widow

Who was as pretty as could be.

This widow had a grown-up daughter

Who had hair of red.

My father fell in love with her,

And soon the two were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law

And changed my very life.

My daughter was my mother,

For she was my father’s wife.

To complicate the matters worse,

Although it brought me joy,

I soon became the father

Of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became

A brother-in-law to dad.

And so became my uncle,

Though it made me very sad.

For if he was my uncle,

Then that also made him brother

To the widow’s grown-up daughter

Who, of course, was my step-mother.

Father’s wife then had a son,

Who kept them on the run.

And he became my grandson,

For he was my daughter’s son.

My wife is now my mother’s mother

And it makes me blue.

Because, although she is my wife,

She is my grandma too.

If my wife is my grandmother,

Then I am her grandchild.

And every time I think of it,

It simply drives me wild.

For now I have become

The strangest case you ever saw,

As the husband of my grandmother,

I am my own grandpa.

Okay, y’all know me so well. Cannot go with such a short post and seeing that I am in a wild and crazy mood, I think I will add a few things that hopefully will make us laugh. With that, and being a twin myself, allow me to share a joke with you all about twins.

A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named “Amal.” The other goes to a family in Spain. They name him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his mom. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, “But they are twins – if you seen Juan, you’ve seen Amal.”

I know, I know, don’t give up my day job.

Okay, let’s change the pace and take a trip to a Mental Hospital.

Jim and Mary were both patients in a Mental Hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool. Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sunk to the bottom and stayed there. Mary promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out. When the medical director became aware of Mary’s heroic act, he immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as he now considered her to be mentally stable. When he went to tell Mary the news he said, “Mary, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you are being discharged. Since you were able to jump in and save the life of another patient, I think you have regained your senses. The bad news is, Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself with his bathrobe belt in the bathroom. I am so sorry, but he is dead. Mary replied, “He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry.”

Need some more – Here are a few more things for you to consider in order to keep a healthy level of insanity:

Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

As often as possible, skip instead of walk.

Specify that your drive-through order is “to go.”

Call the psychic hot line and don’t say anything.

Well folks, that’s about it for this week’s post. Hopefully over the next seven days, my mind will come up with a wild and wacky story I can share with y’all. Anything to get us to smile and laugh a little. I can only hope that no one takes offense to any of the afore-mentioned silliness as I merely do it to bring a smile to not only my face but those of you reading this nonsense. Believe it or not, coming up with these wild and crazy posts is but one of the things that makes me anxious to get out of bed in the morning. In addition to the “To-Do” list I create each day to keep me busy, creating posts for Lakeland Musings is one of the highlights of my days (when I do sit down and attempt to be creative). So, with the hope that they won’t come and take me away, away, away, y’all take care now, ya’ hear, and stay safe.

Just being silly!

Until next time!

How do You Cope?

Coping!

Here I am again sitting at my computer attempting to write this post and be creative at the same time. During this Pandemic we have all had to make sacrifices when it comes to our daily lives and how we go about our typical day. Let’s face it, we all cope in different ways!

Upon looking at past writings, I am reminded of a night several, well, many years ago when we were obligated to leave our humble abode and travel to our daughter’s place because a hurricane (Hurricane Irma) was heading for Lakeland. Living in a manufactured home means when Mother Nature decides to show her force by having a full-force hurricane make itself comfortable on your front doorstep, you do the smart thing and pick yourself up and find safer quarters. Our daughter’s apartment was ideal. So off we went.

One truly gets the meaning of the phrase: “Stop and Smell the Roses!” when told you must evacuate your home due to an impending Hurricane. And one learns real quick just how good you have it after spending one week without electric power.  Especially when it is still summertime outside when the weather is extremely hot and muggy. I do not want to even think about the impending Hurricane season that will rear its ugly head come June (quite possibly May according to some weather forecasters) of this year. But I digress once again.

Back to the gist of this week’s post. As many of us have learned over the years – when we put our minds together and face whatever dilemma is facing us – we usually survive. And survive we did back then.

Lately I have been attempting to set up my desk area – writing space – if you will, in our new location (we recently moved after being in the same home for 14 years).  This has become a chore in and of itself primarily because there are so many boxes that need emptying, files needing purging and I do not want to even bring up the subject of shredding. Shredding the paperwork that should have been done years ago. But, seeing how fickle this world can be, one never knows when we will need that certain receipt, tax return or what have you. So what do we do? What we have done year after year after year – we procrastinate!  And before you know it, you have a stack of boxes filled with twenty-year old paperwork that needs to be destroyed. Got the picture?

What’s bad about this situation is that chances are – shortly after the item gets shredded, we learn that we should not have shredded it!!!! Okay, back to setting up my office. Having been homebound or isolated from the rest of the world as it were for over one year now, so as to keep my sanity, I look upon my office up as my sanctuary. What makes it my sanctuary, you ask!  I do so with little reminders of things that make me smile. For instance, I recently hung a picture on the wall next to my desk that says:

“Grant me Patience Lord but Hurry!”

Having traveled to all fifty states of the United States as well as Mexico, Canada,  parts of England and Europe, mementos from various of these places are little reminders of happy times in my life. Not only do they brighten my day but they are representative of the great life we have had.

Another picture I have is an autographed photo of Charlie Daniels and a separate picture of Dolly and I in Charlies’ trailer where we visited briefly with him after one of his performances. Charlie was one true southern gentleman. R.I.P. Charlie Daniels

Yet another plaque I have is a picture of a Beagle with his paw on an open book that reminds me of the many years I spent studying which now that I think about it helped me to get to where we are today. What’s that – you want to know what is so special about this Beagle – See for yourself:

Again, just another thing to make me smile.

Other things I hope to adorn my walls with are: An old Conestoga wagon that one of my sons made while in school; a picture of several of us dressed in old western costumes that make me smile every time I look at it. Happy times of past. On top of the bookshelves that house many of the books I am constantly using for reference purposes are mementoes from our four years spent in Bisbee, AZ back in the 70’s. These keepsakes aren’t worth much from a monetary standpoint but the memories they bring back are priceless.

Adding to the comical side of me is the latest addition to my collection of wild and crazy stuff, a stuffed “Yoda” that looks over me each day. When I greet him every morning as I come to my desk, I can hear him saying to me:

May the Force be With You!

Okay, time to bring this post to a close but before I do, let me just say that:

Retirement is but another phase of our lives.

Too many people today are always uptight and stressed out. Truth be told, having such a whimsical attitude about my desk area with all the little reminders of the good times we have had these past 80 years is my way of coping and is an excellent way to help me lighten up and thus live in a happier, less-stressed environment.

As I bring this to a close, allow me to share with you one more memento that adorns the wall of my office area. Chances are that some of you reading this might just think that the item I am about to mention is sort of silly for a guy that just turned 80 a short three and a half months ago – but that’s life – to each their own. Right next to the plaque that asks for Patience, is a picture of my mother sitting in her favorite rocking chair. When I look at her and see her looking back at me, it is as though she is watching over me and I can hear her say:

“Not to worry – this too shall pass!”

You all have a magical day – but do take time to smell the roses!

Until next time.