I'll Have No Regrets
I've been thinking about life in general recently.
Eldercare isn't easy. For me, though, it hasn't been horrible either.
I've been able to spend more time with my father in the last two years than I have since I left high school.
Its prompted me to think about things while I still can.
How will I approach that time when I might seem okay on the outside but the gears aren't really meshing under the hood. I really don't know. All I can control is how I live now.
My dad has a 30 years' head start on me, so, hopefully, I have about thirty years. I think reaching the age of 90 would be excellent.
I saw this the other day.
According to the 2012 article, Top Five Regrets Of The Dying, in The Guardian,when people come to the end of life their biggest regrets are, and I quote:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I'm determined to not have those regrets when the clutch starts slipping and the pistons start misfiring.
How do I accomplish that? How do I counter those things most people regret? Countermeasures baby! I have a choice.
That's my list. Those are my countermeasures. It sounds like great ammunition to me.
And - I'll make it fun! Shouldn't it all be fun?
I will make what I make and do what I do the best way I can and I promise not to take myself too seriously.
I'll keep on creating till I get to the end of this journey so I can "... skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
When I see you on the road or on the other side, I hope you’ll have no regrets.
Until then, I wish you peace.
I was in Barnes & Noble the other day, and I bought a book. Yes, it was an honest-to-goodness book. It had real ink and real paper and occupied real space.
Nowadays, I almost exclusively buy e-books. Every so often, though, I love rummaging through the shelves in a real bookstore. Holding a physical book in my hands makes me happy.
What convinced me to switch over to e-books?
I switched over to e-books when I was moving from Phoenix back to Dayton about eight years ago. Our shipping bill doubled from when we moved to Phoenix only two years earlier. Surely the shipping company was ripping us off. Someone was taking advantage of me.
I nearly jumped out of my skin. How in the world could that have happened? Did we get new heavy furniture? Did we buy some extra lead flashing? Did I pack the limoncello? Were we shipping stuff that wasn't ours? Did our neighbors sneak some of their stuff in the truck?
I had to scratch my head. Then it finally hit me.
What caused the big jump in shipping costs? I had to put it down to the books we bought over the previous two years. We had bought tons of books. Okay, maybe not tons, but a lot of books.
Why was I paying to ship something I might never use again? I could donate the books and save shipping costs. Then, I could buy new books on the other end. It would have been a net win.
But, it is so difficult to get rid of books. You have time, money, laughter and tears invested in them. When you read them, they become a part of you. If you give them up, it's like giving up a piece of yourself. Would you want to lop off even a finger or a toe?
It was then that I decided I would only buy e-books. There are advantages to owning e-books. Like:
So, I've made the switch. I'll stick with e-books for most things, but when I need indulge my emotional attachment to paper and ink, I reserve the right to head down to the bookstore to entertain my tactile nature.
Like life, I am full of caveats.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
It's Okay To Say No
Just like any other American family, when I was a kid, we'd go to amusement parks.
On some random weekend or other, we'd pack the car up and head out for a day of magical fun and adventure.
Though mom was keen, I think dad would have rather been mowing the lawn, vacuuming the carpet, doing dishes, or sticking needles in his eyes.
I can see them now, waving excitedly, as I stepped on the roller coaster, the tilt-o-whirl, the spinning teacups or any other medieval torture device. Were they out to kill me?!?! I don't think so, but I'm sure it crossed their minds a few times when I was a teenager.
Just think of it - death by teacup.
Amusement park rides and I have never played well together. I dread long lines. I hate carnival food and, of course, who can properly describe the overwhelming joy of expelling, at velocity, carnival food you didn't even like traveling in the other direction.
I'm sure heredity has nothing to do with it either. I think my brother loved all that stuff. Dad was in the Canadian Navy and spent five years at sea. Mom could probably sleep upside down on a train moving at the speed of light. She could sleep anywhere.
Me, I got the seasick gene.
Going to fairs and festivals isn't horrible. I like going for the music, the spectacle, the camaraderie. I can even enjoy them as long as I'm not asked to get on some spinning whirling rickety nausea-inducing death trap.
I used to go to fairs and such because I wanted to be with my friends. My so-called friends, however, always intended to get me on some spinny thing. They'd goad me or somehow coerce me into getting on a ride.
Sometimes I'd give in. Maybe, it was the excitement. Maybe, I wanted the same experience my friends had. Maybe, I didn't want to be left out. I don't know why. It could have been a combination of all those things.
When I did get on the ride, I'd remember why I didn't like them. First, there would be that flush feeling. Then, the color would drain from my face. That pallor would soon be replaced, in due course, by a lovely shade of green.
I learned much later in life that it's okay to say yes, but it's okay to say no too. It takes some of us a bit longer than others to catch on.
Now, I don't go on those kinds of rides anymore. I can admire them from afar but I don't go on them.
While at San Diego State, millennia ago, I knew a guy who followed this principle to the letter. If you asked him if he wanted to do something his answer was either yes or no. There was no equivocation. If you thought there might be some explanation coming, you'd be wrong. I admired him for that.
It took me a lot longer to put that lesson into practice.
You can say no politely. You can offer an explanation if you'd like but you don't have to.
No is often the best answer.
The next time somebody asks you to jump off a bridge, you can say no. I know I will.
This week's painting was done a while ago. It hangs in our house and I see it every day. It's a bit creepy but I like it very much.
Until the next bridge comes,
I wish you peace.
One Step At A Time
Some people like to multi-task, but me, I like to take it one step at a time.
I learned the value of concentrating on one thing at a time playing golf.
When my brother and I were teenagers on summer break, a little to old for babysitters and a little too young to be left to our own devices or to create new vices, dad would sometimes drop us off at the golf course on his way to work and pick us up on the way home.
I suppose it kept us out of trouble most days. We spent lots of time on the golf course. It's a good thing we liked it.
I learned a few things on the golf course like how projecting into the future can be a bad thing sometimes. Most great golfers will say they visualize their shots before they even step up to the ball. They pull from their experience to project into the future.
The problem is that I had a lot of experience hitting bad shots. So I'd visualize everything that could go wrong and didn't pay enough attention to what could go right.
Negative forecasting is a bad habit to get into.
My projections really worked against me. I'd get all flustered and nervous and nothing would seem to work. I'd become my own worst enemy.
If you spend too much time thinking your ball is careening off a pine tree into no-mans land it will happen. I've been told that trees are 90% air but somehow my golf ball never got that memo.
I learned to take my mind off the bad stuff by focusing on keeping my head down, keeping my eye on the ball, and following through. That's it. It's what they call "swing thoughts". Yup, it's a real thing.
Swing thoughts, for me, exist to block out the negative so I can concentrate fully on what's happening now. I think they might call it mindfulness today.
It's the same thing when I sit down at the easel. It always goes better when I concentrate on what I'm doing right now rather than worrying about the results. I think about applying each brush stroke, paying attention to the brush as it hits the canvas, and focusing on what happens as the colors come together.
If I stick with doing one thing at a time, most of the time I get a pretty good result and the experience is much better too.
I just show up and paint.
BTW- I did show up and I did do some painting this week.
I have included a little video of my brush hitting the canvas. I hope you enjoy.
Until next week - I'll keep painting and ... you ... well ...
I wish you peace.