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Showing posts from September, 2016

The Meaning Of Life

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Finding purpose or meaning in life seems to be a boomer obsession and my search for that elusive definition is rapidly growing beyond mere curiosity for me.

I'd like to follow the often suggested idea of 'live for today', 'live in the moment'. But I am also a planner and sometimes a visionary and often look to and plan for the future. Finding a balance between those competing ideas is my challenge and mission.

Have you ever wondered what all this is about?  Why are we here? Where does our life fit in with the universe?  With our friends and family?  With God's plan if there is such a thing?

How much planning should we do for our future?  How much should we embrace the present?  There's no time like the present. In fact that is a quite literal observation because the past is gone and the future instantly become the present.

So what does all this mean?  Sometimes I think if I have a purpose here, maybe it is to help other people feel good about themselves. T…

Fall Is Was Is My Fave

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Starting the year after moving to northern states in my 20s, fall has usually been my favorite season.  My hometown New Orleans really only has two seasons: summer and not-summer. Living in Wisconsin, Illinois and Maryland has taught me the beauty of four seasons, especially the colors and anticipatory chill in the air in the fall.

Fifteen years ago, however, I came to hate fall and that feeling lingered for many years.

Fall 2000: an awesome vacation in Arizona and Utah in September, beautiful tree colors in October on the acre and a half property where I had moved a few months before, a pleasant Thanksgiving Day with a roaring fire in the fireplace in November followed by a nice drama-free Christmas and much less than usual holiday depression.

I love fall.

Fall 2001: terrorists attack on September 11, my parents move into a nursing home on October 5, my dad dies on November 11, all of which ramps up to the usually emotional rollercoaster of the holiday season. I was numb and depress…

Comfort Zones

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Sitting on the deck, coffee in hand, witnessing yet another beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic. Standing at the overlook sipping wine while watching the spectacular sky colors as the sun sets beyond the next mountain ridge. Singing and dancing to throwback songs with like-minded friends of similar age. Hiking nearby trails or browsing shelves at the neighborhood bookstore dressed in shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. Three or four friends sitting on the porch sharing life stories and memories of traffic jams and grumpy former coworkers. Talking politics and tax rates and TV shows from the 1960s. Comparing aches and pains and scars. Renewing your driver's license in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Idaho.

Many people my age contemplate retiring somewhere other than where they currently live and visualize scenes unlike their current lifestyle. Right at the age when comfort is key they consider packing up what they don't sell off and moving to another state. Or co…

Never Forget

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The peaceful, cloudless blue sky was a calming stark contrast to the endless lines of red tail lights in my field of vision on I-270 that morning.  Traffic in the Washington, D.C. area is always bad during the first few weeks of school as commuting patterns revert back to post-vacation reality, but this day was worse than usual.  As I hummed along with a country song on my radio I asked myself why the hell did I choose 9am Tuesday morning for a full blown physical?  Why did I choose a doctor inside the Beltway in Bethesda when I lived twenty miles away in a less crowded part of Montgomery County?

I don't remember what song had played a minute before but I do remember the funny conversation the DJs were having was interrupted by one of them saying "oh my God," followed by a few seconds of silence. His next words were something about seeing a breaking news alert on a TV in their studio. Some kind of plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York …

Twenty

The Atlantic was calm that afternoon, with the slow tidal ebb and flow framed by a clear blue sky and a nearly empty beach. The view from the floor-to-ceiling beach house window briefly included a trio of dolphins in the distance, said by some to be a sign of good luck. That became the signal for us to walk across the dune ramp and pick our spot in the sand.

Our party of six included me, my bride, the minister, his wife and a couple we knew who lived a few miles away. The Outer Banks beaches near Kitty Hawk NC seemed to be the perfect spot for our wedding because we loved visiting there. A small, simple ceremony, written partly by me, with only the minimum number of people in attendance was exactly the right formula for our kind of wedding.

In retrospect, the word 'our' is not really accurate. I fooled myself into thinking that's what 'we' wanted but it was really only what she wanted. I am happy to exercise give-and-take in a relationship but that turned out to …

To Risk Or Not To Risk That Is the Question

I love my job but sometimes my passion for it is diminished. The sense of security I feel as a result of working there for almost twenty five years is not really justified. I could be fired at any moment for any reason. My union contract includes a very good severance package but the prospect of losing this job does scare me, so I probably take fewer risks. I am good at what I do and it is unlikely I would ever be fired, but I still refrain from speaking up, sometimes, and I don't often take risks with new ideas or unconventional ways of doing things.

I'm currently reading the Steve Jobs book and I am amazed and intrigued by the idea that a visionary asshole could become such a success. To use his own words, he made a 'dent in the universe'. He was a visionary who had a huge impact on computers, movie animation and business by combining technology and art. He lived life on his terms. He was simultaneously supportive and a jerk, hot and cold; a man who rejected materi…

What If You Already Do What You Always Wanted To Do?

The common AARP-style advice about aging or retirement is that midlife and beyond is the time to 'do what you always wanted to do.'  The assumption is that we often design our working life around financial needs and family expectations, or maybe we just stumbled into a job or our career.

Some people, like me, spend most of their careers doing exactly what they/we wanted to do. So what do we do as we age?  The typical age of someone with a job like mine is 35 - 45; I'm over 60. I can still do this but at some point I might not be 'relevant' any more. Will I know it?  Will someone tell me?  I love my job but sometimes the workload is out of control. What if I can't keep up?

Ok, maybe there are a few things I always wanted to do but have not done for a living. Writing, for example, or photography.  I've written press releases, commercials and newsletters but I used to dream of writing a column for a newspaper. The closest I've come to that is this blog. …