What is Happiness?

“Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.” – Palmer Sondreal

As I got to thinking about the above quote, I decided to pause and give thought to where we are in life at this particular moment in time. Our children are, or at least appear to be, happy and in control of their lives at the moment.

While we all have our little medical idiosyncrasies, none of us have any serious diseases or health problems that cannot be addressed by diet and exercise. 

We still are able to leave the house each morning by 7:35 AM to go and teach our line dance classes five days a week plus the two days we teach at 2 PM. While it is true there are some days we would prefer to lay in bed for those extra thirty minutes or so, truthfully we both feel so much better after we have exercised. So, even though there are other members of our community that would like us to change the starting time, 7:45 AM works well for us and once we have exercised (line danced), we have the balance of the day to do whatever our little hearts’ desire.

Speaking of our community, we live in a very friendly tight-knit community and should anything happen to either one of us, there would always be someone nearby that would check in to see how we were doing and if we needed anything. Same is true of us, should we learn that something is wrong at our neighbors house or that one of our neighbors is sick and needed some type of assistance be it running to the store, driving them to the doctor and so forth, we would be right there for them.

That, I believe is the one reason we stay here where we are and have been since 2006. Years past with the exception of or two particular homes we owned, it has been sort of a ritual with us to move to a new location and house every 2 – 3 years.

But, the older we get, the more comfortable we are living within this environment. The hardest part of this life-style though is the fact that our children are at different corners of the country. With one son and his family living in NE Connecticut, the other son living in southern California and the daughter living within fifteen minutes of us – it is hard to get to see them as often as we would like.

But, fortunately we both still have all of our faculties and are able to make the road trip to CT (with a side trip to PA to see my kid brothers and sisters) at least once and sometimes twice a year. We decided last year however that next time we visit the son in CA it will be via plane and rental car. Traveling across country taking, at a minimum, seven days to get there just doesn’t sound as appealing it did when we were much younger.

So, back to where we are at this point in our lives – knowing that we may eventually reduce the number of trips we make in a year – and having had come across the quote I opened this article with – one begins to ask themselves – are we happy with this life style that has worked so well for us these past ten years or so? Or, do we want to take on a new challenge and consider making a change of sorts.

We have spent quite a few years living near our youngest child and visiting the others – perhaps it is time to live near one of the other children but continue visiting the others. Whenever I hear the word “old” and think of such a possibility – I tend to say to myself – but am I too old to make such a change and if we do – will it work?

If I have learned one thing over the years – it is this – we will never know if something will work until we try. And taking it one step further – it will work if we want it to work. That is one thing we have prided ourselves on over the years – our willingness to look at a problem, dilemma, or proposed change of direction with the thought in mind that says – “Hey – that should be interesting, fun, and something we should do – let’s go for it.”

I must also admit that with such an attitude, most of our crazy ideas have worked out rather well and thus see that I have a bit to ponder on as it might relate to what our next adventure might be.   So with that thought in mind, I will close this article with but one more quote:

“Nothing is more beautiful than the love that has weathered the storms of life. The love of the young for the young, that is the beginning of life. But the love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of things longer.” – Jerome K. Jerome (1859 – 1927)

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Wild and Crazy Guy!

As evidenced by the title of my blog – Lakeland Musings by Irwin – musings are also ponderings, reflections, reveries, and so forth. When I last posted on this site, I promised that I would be taking a different direction with future blogs and that they would be geared towards either positive stuff or funny stuff. My ponderings over the last few days have drifted into the wild and crazy side of my head but hopefully they will bring a smile to some of your faces and cause you to forget whatever may be bothering you and you too will get lost in my craziness. So here goes:

Being a senior citizen and having been retired now for almost two decades – I have a question to ask:

Once we become a certain age – what makes us an “old fart?” Could it be at the age when we leave the house – walk to the car only to remember that our car keys are still setting on the bedroom dresser. Or better yet, after returning to the house, obtaining the car keys and then making our way back to the garage, realize that we failed to pick up the garage door opener.

Want to really feel like an old fart – let’s take this one step further. And I am not sure the scenario I am about to paint is one of an old fart.  My educated guess is that it would be more in line with a pathetic senile individual, but here goes – we are back in the car, garage door opened, ready to put the car in “Drive” when we look down and notice that we do not have our pants on.

Talk about being forgetful and quite possibly a “true old fart!”

But then, let’s look at this from a different vantage point. Okay – so we just turned age 75 and we realize we are slowing down and need more assistance in many of the things we attempt to do on a daily basis. Who do we turn to?  Our children! Hmmmm – Remember when you used to hear people talking about their children – you got it – “Be careful how you treat your children in your old age – because they are the ones who may just move you into a retirement home!”

Here is another thing I think of in my spare time – sometimes I think we “old farts” have way too much time on our hands – but here goes: What do we do with our time while waiting to take that final ride? Let’s see – we could go out in our yard or garden and stack the rocks found there – or perhaps we could go to our grandchildren’s birthday party – poke bubble gum up our nose and see how big we can make our bubbles. After all aren’t we just big kids at heart?

Or, since I know many our grandkids just love their high-tech gadgets – we could go visit them and ask them if we could just sit and watch them play computer games. Or another scenario could be – but this would only apply if you are renting your premises – see how many imaginative ways you could come up with to clog your kitchen sink. Then count how many different people the landlord sends over to try to unclog them. Another thought is that we could polish up our skills on the harmonica or trumpet. But chances are, being the age we are, we wouldn’t have enough breath to blow either instrument.

And then being “senior citizens”, we love to go to our high school reunions, if for no other reason, to see how many of our senior high school chums are still around. But, another thing to think about now that we are “old farts” is the worriment that, once you walk into the reunion and your eyes wander around the room – you may say to yourself “where did I make a wrong turn – this doesn’t look like my high-school reunion – it looks as though I wound up in a convalescent home?”   Such may be the life of an “old fart.”

My ramblings here are just my way of providing funny or senior moments! Oh, and having lived as long as we have one must realize that many of us are not as limber or quite possibly as active as we used to be thus causing us to take quite a few pain pills on a daily basis. What does this mean – well, it means as an old fart, I know that on the next pain-free day I or other seniors might have, I will be wearing my best suit and someone will, in all probability be saying a eulogy.

Well, there you have it – short and sweet – a brief but hopefully comical take on what the future might – yes I said might – be for those of us that eventually will join the ranks of those individuals known as “old farts.” Hopefully, though this will be a post that you will find comical as I try my best to write funny and off the wall type ramblings but ones that are definitely more positive than negative and ones you may enjoy reading and get a kick out of.

One thing I will add before bringing this crazy article to an end and that is that as a senior citizen or “old  fart” if you will, – the years spent since we retired back in 1996 have been some of the funniest, craziest, and most wonderful years of our lives. And if I have anything to say about it – we will have many more years of such antics!

Until next time!

2016

Now that we are into our third full week of 2016 I am up to trying new things and basically not reflecting much on the past. I use this analogy because from my standpoint I tend to constantly remind myself of things I should have done – what I intend to do – and basically things that truly haven’t worked all that well in 2015.

My intentions therefore for 2016 are to not only come up with new things to try, but also different things to tackle. My overall goal is to improve my style of writing as well moving forward into this new year of 2016.

Recently we were at our line dance practice and I had slipped out of class to use the bathroom. As I was walking down the hall, a member of the clubhouse staff asked “Are you learning line dancing?” I didn’t have the heart to tell her I have been line dancing now since 2005 and so I merely responded, “Yes I am!”

Her response was “Good for you – you are going to be a chick magnet!” Little did she know though that there are two good reasons why I have no intention of becoming a chick magnet! First is I am and have been happily married for almost 53 years and second having lived past the age of 75, I do not need to add stress to my life. I like things just the way they are in that department.

As we get older, they say many of us get out our bucket list and start attending to those things we want to accomplish or do before we die. To be quite frank, I never really prepared such a list as I cannot think of anything I really want to do before I die. But then the reason for that may be that I am just glad that I wake up every day being able to put both feet on the floor and take in all that the world still has to offer me.

However, one thing that hasn’t changed and one that I am trying my best to wrap my head around is what to write about on a weekly basis. I have been reading the newspaper every morning now and notice that if I were to write about the news – I could probably come up with quite a few debatable articles. Likewise, there are always present-day stories that I could write about. And thinking back as to how I originally got into this blogging habit, I could write about retirement and the contentment one can find if they but search for it.

Things I do not particularly want to write about are health or financial issues basically because I am by no means an expert in either of these two areas nor do I wish to spend my time learning about them which is what I would have to do in order to write about them.

And then there is my funny side – something that I do enjoy doing although truth be told, if asked, I am sure that many people would say that I am not such a funny guy.

In any case as I may have mentioned in an earlier blog – I do intend to re-style my blogs this year and also make it a point to post one blog a week (probably on a Monday morning to start) to see if I make it a part of my routine. I know – it is now Monday evening and so I am late already.

My reasons for picking funny items to write about are several:  One is that I enjoy a good laugh and try to do so every morning, preferably before we ever leave the house and two because with all the negativity in the world today, I am of the opinion that we should be more upbeat and positive in 2016.

Let’s face it – if we spend more time doing fun things and not worrying about what is going on in the rest of the world, who knows – we may even wake up to the fact that most people are more interested in what is going on in their own lives and really don’t give a darn about you and what is going on in yours. Knowing that – who knows – you yourself might start enjoying your life again and 2016 might very well be better than what 2015 was.

Being retired and for the most part happy with the cards I have been dealt, my basic goal in writing this blog is to share with you, my readers, some of the fun things we get to do in our golden years. So, with that thought in mind, I hope you have a great year and that reading my ramblings provides you some entertainment, brings a smile to your face and depending on what I have written about, a good healthy laugh or two. One thing is certain and that is we are all in the same boat once we retire.

The trick is to figure out what makes us happy and hopefully pursue that dream or goal enjoying life as we go. When reading my blog(s), should you have any suggestions or thoughts about what you might like to see me write about, send me your thoughts and if at all possible I will do my best to comply with your wishes.

In closing allow me to share the following quote with you – “”Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Napoleon Hill

Until next time!

Happy New Year

While it hasn’t been all that long since I posted anything new to this blog of mine, truth be told I have been keeping up with another blog site, specifically retirement-online.com. Truth is that while I could come up with several excuses for not posting here – fact-of-the-matter is that writing on many days has become more of a chore than a passion. A chore I have been contemplating giving up on.

But, then when I do step back from our somewhat active and busy lifestyle – the desire to write returns and I realize that if anyone is to make this work – it has to be me.

Ever since I began blogging several years ago I have been challenged with regards defining what my specific “niche” is or even should be. After reading and following various blog postings of other bloggers – the light bulb finally went on. Blogging is and should be about what I personally want it to be and to me, that means a return to writing about the things I consider important or in some instances wild and crazy things that bring a smile to not only my face but the faces of my readers.

Writing about what is going on in my life is not really my style although I must admit on occasion I do post something that we did that I feel others would enjoy hearing about.

I like many others, typically make one or more New Year’s resolutions and as has been the case more years than I care to remember, I usually fail to keep those resolutions because we typically set the bar too high.

So, I am going to try something new this year not that it is new to many others that have decided to follow a different course of action pertaining to New Year’s Resolutions. Rather than creating a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions during this year of 2016, I am going to focus on one word and use that one word to guide me through this new year. Hopefully by  focusing on one word, perhaps I can accomplish all that I hope to in this new year.

The word I am going to claim as my word for the year 2016 is going to be “muse.”  According to Merriam-Webster:

Muse suggests a more or less focused daydreaming as in remembrance <mused upon childhood joys>.

At my age, I prefer not to get involved with “deep thinking” and let’s face it, most of today’s news whether it be on the Television, Radio, Newspaper, and even Facebook – is usually doom and gloom type news and repetition. What you are told or read about at 8 AM is the same data being fed to us at noon, five o’clock, and the evening news we see before going to bed. Who needs all that negativity? I know I certainly do not.

I intend to focus on daydreaming and coming up with wild and crazy posts involving useless information – you know those things that tend to bring a smile to our face in spite of all the doom and gloom being printed and talked about on other forms of media today.

Fact of the matter is for those of us that refuse to allow the front pages of our newspapers, or the news commentaries on our television sets dictate our view of the world, life does go on.

So, since it is now 2016, I am looking forward to new beginnings. Remember the old saying – “Old habits die hard!” In order to rid ourselves of certain habits that we no longer find acceptable to our current or future life styles, one must invest considerable effort into ridding ourselves of those old useless habits. So, as we move forward in the year 2016, this will be the year that will serve as the Phoenix rising from the ashes:

Our passions are the true phoenixes; when the old one is burnt out, a new one rises from its ashes. -Johann von Goethe

Out with the old and in with the new. Live for today! Be happy! Accept what is! Improve our mind and body! Think positive and try our best to be more agreeable! Take responsibility for our own actions!

Until next time!