Water Bearer

Water Carrier

This post is about a cracked pot. I came across it while attempting to clean out some old papers in my office during our period of self-isolation. The moral of the story follows the post and it seemed appropriate at this time. Trust you all will enjoy.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of his accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?” That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.

Moral:

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life!

Until next time!

P.M.A.

How can I tell what I think until I see what I say? – E. M. Forster

Crazy times!

Lately I have not been myself and I am sure it is due to this crazy coronavirus, our period of self-isolation, as well as our current political situation. I am thinking that quite a few Americans today are feeling the same way.

My desire to watch TV has waned and while I join my wife and watch a show  every so often, I can tell my mind is not with it unless it is a terrific movie or television show that has a good plot to it.

As far as my wannabe reading habits go – I started a short mystery novel May 5th of this year (Sunshine Hunter by Maddie Cochere) and I am still only about two-thirds through it. It appears I only feel like reading it twice a week.

I try my best to post short funny quips on Facebook every day, but even that has become more of a chore versus something fun to do. But I need to take my own advice – Positive Mental Attitude! Watch for this below.

So, getting back to the reason I opened this piece with a saying associated with E.M. Forster.   

My goal is that by the end of this post we all will be laughing because as the quote states “I cannot tell what I think until I see what I say” and my goal is to say nothing but stuff that will make us both laugh. Fair enough!

I have decided that what it all boils down to is “attitude” and I am determined to have P.M.A. by the time this piece is written. And for those of you that wonder what it is I am talking about, here goes:

Positive Mental Attitude

I am determined to turn things around and be more Positive, and while many of my friends have already told me this, I am also going to be more Mental (Okay, you can stop laughing now – I know I am mental). Last, but not least, you all know I have Attitude! There you have it – A good Positive Mental Attitude is what will get us through this time of our lives.

Positive thinking

One other thing we need to keep in mind as we get older is:

With old age comes “Multi-Tasking”:

We can: Laugh, Cough, Sneeze, Fart, and Pee – and are you ready for this– we can do it all at the same time.

Ah – Old Age!

Another thing I noticed now that I am truly considered old, experts say that caffeine is bad for us, fat is bad for us, sugar is bad for us, and guess what – we cannot worry about it because, well, they say worry is bad for us as well.

We only live once!

Sorry, not done yet. With all that is going on in the world today, did you ever think about running away? I did but the sad part about that idea is that I’m so afraid that by the time I put my teeth in, my glasses on, and find my keys, I’ll have forgotten why I’m going! And let’s not even get into where I might be going!

Where are my dentures?

Is it true I will turn 80 later this year? Wow! There is something about soon becoming 80 years of age. It seems the older we get, the more we think about various things. One of the things I think about is the possibility of my needing some type of operation in the future. Don’t get me wrong, the thought of the operation doesn’t really scare me. What does scare me is waking up after the operation and having the doctor tell me that everything went well … Short pause. But! There is that darn but as he continues his talk with me, and says: Oh, one other thing I need to tell you: “The digital medical records were hacked and mixed up, so we won’t charge you for the C-Section!”

What did you just say?

Okay, I am coming to the end of this post. So what do we do?

We have to look at life as though it is a camera: We need to just focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, just take another shot!

Just one more shot!

Hope this post brought a smile to your face.

Until next time!

Isolation/Lockdown – Whatever!

Gotta keep smilin!”

Today is April 13 and it has been one month since we have been isolated, so to speak, in our own home. We learned of the rule that groups of 6 or more could not congregate on March 13. That was the day we were having our dress rehearsal for the annual Variety Show we (Dolly and I) host for our 55+ community. ☹ Oh well, there is always next year.

But life goes on. How do we spend our days? Well, to begin with we have told ourselves that we need to resume our usual early morning routines of stretching. That takes about 15-30 minutes. Having done that and completed one’s usual bathroom routines, I prepare our orange juice (How does that saying go – a day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine). Then I prepare our breakfast and finish it off with my morning cup of coffee.

This is usually when we both write in our daily journals outlining whatever wild and wacky thoughts are going through our minds. Mine usually mentions my weight, what the temperature is outside, how I feel (upbeat, somewhat down, wild and wacky, or whatever) and she usually records something health related.

This is also when, on a separate piece of paper, I devise a list of all the things I hope to accomplish before days end. Sometimes the list is less than a half-dozen things while other times the list is a dozen or more items (wishful thinking on my part). In either case, at the end of the day, whatever items did not get accomplished are moved to the next day’s list and the next day we start all over again.

Being in this period of isolation, we have not ventured out since March 13. Our daughter, who lives 20 minutes away, secures our groceries when supplies run low. Our family physician has been keeping in touch with us via phone conversations and a representative from their office calls us once a week to check in and see if we are okay and if we need any medications.

Other than watching TV, we keep ourselves busy by finding little jobs within the house that need to be done. We also take time to play gin rummy or some other card game. I am also trying my best to get back to reading (mystery and detective type novels) and have even started reading some of the books on writing I purchased long ago. We make it a point, weather permitting, to take at least two walks around the block every day and to make sure we get our daily step count in for the day we even walk the distance of the house several times a day. Our step goal per day is 3000 steps.

Seeing that we cannot have physical contact with our children, our son has set up Zoom and both my daughter and I now know how to access it and we have video conference calls between the three of us several times a week during which time we play games such as Trivia, Yahtzee, and other such games adaptable to long-distance conferencing.

While it isn’t as good as being able to hug and kiss our children (no matter how old our children get, we still enjoy hugging them when we do get to see them), modern technology such as Zoom, Duo, and Skype, (forms of video conferencing) are a blessing. It would be much harder were we not able to see them during this time of self-isolation.

Before I end this post, let me just mention that all our days are not always fun-filled and jovial. There are days that we too wake up on the wrong side of the bed either in the wrong kind of mood, sad or what have you. But we are fortunate in that we still have each other. When one of us is down, the other is up and vice-versa. Should I do wake up in one of those moods though, I concentrate on the fact that there are many others having it much, much, worse than I do. It doesn’t take long then for me to say to myself, “Suck it up buttercup – we will get through this.”

Time to bring this to a conclusion. How many of you   remember Paul Harvey. I’m talking about his famous words:  And now – the rest of the story.

Our day usually ends with us watching some television and we do our best to end the evening with a sit-com of one sort or another. One sit-com we truly enjoy and watch even if we had seen it before is “As Time Goes By” with Dame Judy Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. There is just something about this show that enables us to retire for the evening knowing that all will be right with the world in the morning.

Until next time!

Friend

This week’s topic is the result of a quote I read recently:

“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” – Abraham Lincoln

With everything that is happening around the world today and the fact that most of us, especially retirees such as myself, have more time than ever to sit around and think, this quote made me think back to a friend I met in the year 1969.

We were taking on what one might call a major life change as an opportunity came up for me to interview for a position in Jacksonville, FL which meant leaving PA. The friend I am referring to was one of the interviewers I met upon arriving in FL. Not only did this individual interview me, he became my immediate supervisor, and subsequently my mentor.

One of the things that we find when taking on a major life change is that there are few things in life that are more helpful than a supportive friend. Think about it for a minute. A friend such as this is there for you providing ideas, suggestions, and if a true friend, does so with a positive attitude. Your desire to succeed at whatever you choose as your goal in this new endeavor becomes their goal as well.

During this friendship you realize you want to succeed because it is apparent that they want you to succeed as well. Their desire for you to succeed boosts your own motivation for success. My desire to not let this new best friend down added to my own personal desire and subsequent ability to succeed at my own goal.

By sharing my goals, which at the time was to achieve a particular professional insurance designation, CPCU, (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter), not only was he supportive, he provided guidance and stood by me to achieve the designation I wanted and was instrumental in my obtaining other designations along the way.

As we know, lives change over the years. Without going into detail, later in our careers, I became the interviewer and my friend became the subject of the interview, (due to a life change they were going through). The interview was successful and I was able to offer my friend a job as my subordinate.

What does this tell us? Cherish your friends, their worth is priceless!

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Retirement Does Not Have To Be Boring

BORED!
Bored!

One of the things I find myself doing on a regular basis is question my sanity. Good news is that it doesn’t answer me and well, being the intelligent being that I am, I take it as a sign that I’m still in charge of my facilities, in spite of the fact that my sanity has decided to keep quiet on the subject.

At times I have to remind myself that it is 2020, not 2000 and thus I should remember to stop volunteering for stuff I just do not have time for. Living the retired life is a lot of fun, but, being over 70, soon to be 80, a grandfather and great-grandfather, oh, and by the way, did I say retired, doesn’t mean I have to utter “yes” to every little task I am asked to do.

We are in the middle of the time that our snowbird friends are here in the south as opposed to being in what we “southerners” like to refer to as the frozen north. What that means is more events occur. Events like social hour every Wednesday; pot-luck suppers the fourth Thursday of every month, coffee and donuts on Saturdays, yard sales, craft fairs, dances, line-dance lessons, talent show, and other events too numerous to mention.  Did I mention that I frequently have doubts about my sanity? The community where we live has 297 homes, meaning that there are 296 other individuals out there capable of hosting some of the many events put on over the six months snowbirds are here.

With so many events occurring within such a short time (five to six months), it isn’t a huge surprise that at times I forget something. What is it I forget? I am not 50, 60, or even 70 anymore. And being of sound mind and body I prefer not to blame early onset Alzheimer’s primarily because if I do, the dementia fairy will find me.

In conclusion, when you reach our age, what we need to do is laugh more and harder. And if anyone thinks I’m crazy, well, I’d rather be crazy happy than any other kind of crazy. As I write this (on a Friday afternoon) tomorrow is Coffee and Donut Saturday (every Saturday from 8-10 am), and then it will be shopping if for no other reason than to be sure to get our “Daily Steps” in before days end. Dolly does her best to walk 3000 steps a day and my goal is 4000 steps a day (with the intent to work up to 6000 steps a day). Somehow, we manage to reach that goal on Wednesdays, Fridays (line dance days), and sometimes Saturdays – depending on how much we shop. But the other days of the week become a challenge at best.

Life as a retiree can be boring if one lets it, but boring is not for us. Looking at our Planner there is something usually going on – things like Doctor appointments, line dancing, Mexican Train, social hour on Wednesdays, Pot-luck suppers every fourth Thursday, once a month impromptu dance, upcoming variety show, upcoming entertainment show(s), soup suppers, bingo, bazaar, corn hole, the afore-mentioned Coffee & Donuts, and so forth and so on. Don’t get me wrong, we love our activities and without some of them we would never get our daily step count in.

But I would be lying if I would not admit to the fact that with all these activities, we do look forward to an occasional break. There are days when sitting across from each other at the breakfast table looking down at our daily planner which is spread open to the current month we are in and if one listens close enough, you might just hear one of us (usually me) say to the other: “Can you believe it, today is a “FREE” day. Which means we have nothing whatsoever planned. No alarm, no doctor’s appointment, no meeting, no shopping, no event, nada, zilch, nothing!  I can hear myself now looking across the table at her and reciting that famous saying by George Peppard (who played  Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith in the TV show “The A-Team”) “Don’t You Just Love It When a Plan Comes Together!”

You know that old saying that “Getting old beats the alternative,” well, having a full or even semi-full calendar along with a day or two with no commitments whatsoever during retirement beats being “bored out of your mind!”

So, what are you going to do with your next free day?