Seize the Moment

“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour!”

Seeing that it is Memorial Day weekend, I am going to deviate a bit this week (primarily due to all that has happened across our country this past week) and be a bit philosophical versus comical.

Did you ever stop and think how often during our lives we say and do things that – when you really get right down to it – create negative feelings within us.

For instance, how many times can you remember days that you got up – went about your business – and later in the day or quite possibly early in the evening you find yourself saying – Wow, where did the day go?

I could go on about days we worked but being retired now for over 25 years instead I’ll talk about what we do now in our retired life. Even though we are now retired and supposedly have all the time in the world, at times I find myself mumbling things like “It’s Friday, where did the time go.” You know what I mean, we remember getting up Monday and saying to ourselves, hmmm, let’s see I have this, this, and this to do, and then before you know it, we are checking the calendar and lo and behold its Friday!” Where did the week go?

This could go on and on and on – for instance, where did May go, and later in the year we could find ourselves saying “Can you believe it the year is almost over. And I won’t even get into the times I have thought about the fact that “can you believe it – 60, 70, or 80 years of our lives have passed by already”. Sad feature is that we cannot go back to relive or do over those times no matter how enjoyable they were. I know – there are probably many things we think about that we could do differently.   

Fact is, if you are anything like me, when you get to my age, I stop at times and think of so many things I should be doing. I know, I know, some of those things will get done but here’s the thing – how many must be done right now? Who would ever have thought I would live this long? And since I have made it this long, my educated guess is that I should prioritize those things I want to do.

Making it to age 81 never entered my mind while I was growing up. But I have learned that despite everything that has happened in the past and being honest with myself, may happen in the future, I am going to try to enjoy whatever remaining time there is for me as we all should.

How is that done you might ask – well, let’s look at our life like an artist’s palate.

I’ve always been a guy that likes the colors blue and grey. Many of my shirts are blue or grey. But the older I get I have been adding more color in my life. I am now wearing brighter colors these days. Red, purple, tan, teal, and so forth. Also, shirts with pictures on them, flowers, stripes, and the like – anything that is bright. Let’s face it – bright things make us happy and lift our spirits. And at our age we need to keep looking for activities that we like.

I subscribe to a newsletter that provides me with several articles each morning designed to make me smile, and many times laugh. So, every morning after breakfast, I call up this newsletter on my smart phone and while enjoying my morning coffee, we (my wife and I) listen to several of the jokes provided or listen to that day’s stand-up comedian which usually has both my wife and I smiling and laughing by the time they are done. Great way to kick off the balance of the day. Why? Because they leave us smiling and ready to tackle whatever we placed on our “To-Do” list for that day.

Being our age, and I must admit – I need to work on this one – I am doing my best to eliminate the – hmmm- how shall I put this – ‘afters’ in my life. What ‘after’s’? After’s such as:

When asked to do something that truly needs to be done, I usually say “I’ll do it after…” or my honey will ask my opinion on something she needs an answer to and I will respond by saying “I’ll think about it after…”.

Think about that word “after” for a moment. What does after mean? My educated guess is that many of us don’t understand or realize what after or afterwards actually means. Think about it.

What happens ‘afterwards?

Well, afterwards the coffee gets cold;

afterwards, our priorities could change;

the charm of the moment could change;

health changes and we may not have the ability to do whatever it was we delayed doing;

our children grow up and move away;

dependent upon our age – our parents get older;

had we made promises – they are forgotten;

days turn into nights;

many of our priorities probably change;

life ends and what does that mean

 well, at this point, afterwards will probably mean

it’s often too late.

What does this all mean especially when you are my age, no, no matter what age you are? Leave nothing for later because the fact is by waiting to see someone later might just mean we may lose the best moments; the best experiences; best friends; the best family and so forth and so on.

With the world being what it is today, we are no longer at the age where we can afford to postpone what needs to be done right away.

We must live for today. Today is today. The moment is now!

Allow me to share several quotes with you that relate to this post:

Larry McMurtry said it best when he said:  

“If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.”

Eckhart Tolle said:

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you really have.”

But the quote I liked best of those I read said:

“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.” – Art Buchwald

If you don’t take anything away from reading this post, think about this: Consider the content of this post as a reminder that every moment matters. And if every moment matters, then we must

Seize every moment!

We must live for today. Today is today. The moment is now!

Until next time! Y’all come back now, ya hear!

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Metaphors/Time

Hello folks:

‘Tis me, and I am back again one week later with yet another attempt to exaggerate the truth to elicit yet another smile from those of you that take time from your busy schedules to read my dribble.

What am I taking about – well, let me open this week’s post with something that while it probably would not happen today, it could? Is it funny? I think so but you be the judge. Picture this if you will: A man or woman walks into a bookstore, meanders up to the desk where various clerks are diligently working doing whatever it is they do and asks this question:

“Where is the self-help” section?  The clerk closest to the customer stops what she is doing, walks over to the customer, shrugs her shoulders and replies: “If I tell you, won’t that defeat the purpose?”

Each week I try my best to find the funnier side of things to share with those of you following my nonsense. While it is true, sometimes I wander off point and write something more profound than comedy, but the bottom line is that looking at the funnier side of things, especially in today’s atmosphere and world conditions, assists with taking the edge off things enabling us to cope just a bit better.

But before I drift off to funny land, allow me to share with you two things I think about that help me cope. For instance, say I sit down at the computer to do some writing be it something to place on Facebook, create a post such as this one or perhaps start a fourth book and nothing comes to me – nothing, nada, zilch. What do I do? I think of the metaphor:

Books are the keys to your imagination.”

If I feel stumped regarding what to write, I peruse my library of books and sure enough one of them will provide me with the inspiration I need to spark my imagination and shortly thereafter I am back at my computer pounding on those keys. 

Now if, when I wake, I feel like my “A” game is still hidden under those covers, well, then I think of music. What type of music? Well, country (think Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and the like) is my “Go-to” medicine when things have me down or I just need a pick-me-upper. Sometimes, it is just the song title itself that gets me in a better mood, but more times than not it is a memorable “hook line” that gets me out of my mood.

Take the song “The Gambler” sung by Kenny Rogers.

For those of you not familiar with the song, I am referring to the verse that goes like this:

You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money while you’re sittin’ at the table,
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

See what it is telling us? Play the hand you have been dealt the best you can. These two methods (my books and my country music) have served me well over the years and more so during these, our twilight years. Books spark my creative side of my brain and before long I come up with a thought or two enabling me to write something, be it a Facebook quip, Lakeland Musings post, or the thought of writing a fourth book. Listening to my country music picks my spirits up and before I know it, I am dancing throughout the house which can last anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes. Listening and dancing does wonders for my spirits and puts me back in the happy frame of mind I prefer to be in.

Now that I am in what is sometimes referred to as the twilight years, some might say that “life (or age)” should be looked upon as a staircase. Each passing year becomes a step up that staircase. Some might say that as we take each step up the staircase, another year passes (I hope it is a long, long, staircase). How do we approach this staircase? By being very optimistic. If we are lucky, being optimistic about such a trip up that staircase will enable us to become more experienced, a wee bit wiser, and as the old saying goes “the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” more at peace with ourselves by the time we get to the top.

Okay, enough with my viewpoint of life as I see it during my twilight years. Let me move on to something a bit educational. I know, I promised comical, but the post isn’t over yet.

Did you ever think there would be a town called Why? There is. It is a town called Why, AZ. It is approximately 30 miles north of the Mexican border where Lukeville, AZ and Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico, border each other, and 10 miles south of Ajo, AZ.

According to Wikipedia, the town derives its name from the fact that two major highways, namely Routes 85 and 86 originally intersected in a Y-Intersection. At the time of its naming, state law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town’s founders named the town “Why” as opposed to simply calling it “Y.” The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) later removed the old Y-intersection for traffic safety reasons and built the two highways in a conventional intersection south of the original intersection. Oh, and by the way, it has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names. What’s that? You want to know what the population of this town is? As of the 2020 Census there were 148 residents. Nuff said!

As to the comical stuff I promised, well, here are questions that have been bugging me for some time now:

Do astronauts change their clocks when they move over different time zones in space?

What do Greeks say when they don’t understand something?

What happens if a Queen gives birth to a pair of Siamese twins? Who gets to be king?

If a taxi-cab driver were to drive backwards to the destination given him, would he end up owing his passenger money?

If a bouncer at a bar gets drunk and unruly, who throws him out?

If you had a three-story house and were on the second floor, isn’t it possible that you can be upstairs and downstairs at the same time?

Well, that’s my piece for this week. In conclusion, due to my advancing years, I tend to see life through Forrest Gump’s eyes.  If you will recall, Forrest’s quote was:

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

While it might have sound silly on the big screen, for those of us now in our eighties, we are proof that it means:

“You should always expect the unexpected!”

Allow me to end this post with yet another metaphor and one that I believe in whole-heartedly:

“Life is a song; we each get to write our own lyrics.”

Y’all have a nice day now, ya hear. Until next time!

How Much do We Think About the Aging Process?

Seeing that I turn 82 this year, I got to thinking about various things that pop into my mind when thinking about the aging process. Things I might add, I probably should have begun thinking about several years ago. But, hey – I am not the sharpest tack in the box and as the saying goes “Better Late than Never!”

So, what things should we consider? Age, beauty, physical shape, and so forth!

I am sure that many individuals might say beauty, attractiveness, and so forth and I might have considered that. But truth be told, let’s face it, despite our best efforts to “stay in shape”, chances are our booty sags, our bellies expand, and the attractiveness we may have had many years ago gives way as might be expected when one thinks of what we know as “The Circle of Life!” Wrinkles – as much as most of us do not relish them – tell a story if but one takes the time to read them. One might even say that the lines and wrinkles in our face have been earned and we should look upon them as a face map (roadmap if you will) reflecting where we’ve been and depending on circumstances also reflect how we’ve weathered the journey.

Another thing I have noticed during this aging process is how both our energy and priorities change the older we get. I can remember when I had a strict schedule that I followed religiously but that has sort of disappeared over the years. However, that is not all bad. Energy that is waning should be looked upon as a hint that we need to “prioritize” those things that are truly important at this stage of our lives. While our hearts may suggest that we do this or that and believe me when I say that, at times, intentions of the heart may be very strong – we must keep in mind that aging has the tendency to affect the energy one must have in order to accomplish those intentions. How do we do that? One way I do it is to journal about what I consider to be important at this time of my life.

My list is somewhat short and probably shorter than many others at this stage in life, but nonetheless, having such a list enables me to wake up each morning and face each day with a smile. What is on my list? Things like:

Stretch daily and have a daily step goal I try to meet day in and day out.

Spend time looking and taking in what mother nature has provided us.

Writing every morning.

Eating right 24/7 which means making sure I stay hydrated; eat healthy foods that will sustain me (but allow myself to indulge on a truly special occasion).

Finally, face up to the fact that even though we might be in our sixties, seventies, or eighties and beyond we must recognize the fact that:

We need to find what gives us a sense of purpose. What is truly fulfilling and satisfying to us every day.

What’s on our bucket list, if we even have one and if not, why not make one?

Recognizing the fact that we only go around one time I must ask the question:  

What, at this point in my life, do I truly consider to be important for the time I have left?

Live life to the fullest because none of us know what tomorrow might bring.

Until next time!

Remote Control

What does this word represent or mean?

You can fast forward and rewind your life with a remote control…but!

 Let me explain:

You are traveling on a train and have a chance encounter with a stranger, who upon overhearing a discussion you were having with your wife about how your lives turned out since accepting the job in 1968 that eventually led to your being transferred to Jacksonville Florida, offers you a “remote control.”

But this is not any “remote control!” This remote control has the ability to allow you to either fast forward or rewind your life.  What do you do?

So many thoughts are rushing through your head. You are happy with your life. But being truthful to yourself you know that there were some moments, that had you done or said things differently, your lives may have changed. Question is would those changes had been for the better or the worse?

Being the realist that he is though, the question does cross his mind and he has to ask: What is the catch?

No catch replies the stranger. But know this, should you choose to rewind back to an earlier time and choose the path not taken – your present status in life may not be the same as it is today.

To which raises the question: What if I decide to use the “fast forward” button and like what my future looks like say ten years into the future? Can I automatically jump forward to that position?

The stranger replied: That is a definite possibility, but…………keep in mind that you will be going from what you know and have experienced up to this point in your life to ten years into the future.

What is wrong with that?

The stranger responded – whatever happened during those ten years will be a complete blank.  Are you prepared to live with that – not knowing how certain things came to be?

Well, he asked the stranger: what is the point of having a “remote control” device such as this?

There is a moral to this story and I am sure when you think about it a little longer now that we have had this brief discussion you will realize what it is. And with that, the stranger proceeded to say the following:

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha

Until next time!

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.