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.

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.

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!