Tomorrow, I will become the lower highway speed limit in the United States. Yes, I will be a pair of 5’s. So, looking backwards from my last day as a 54-year-old, I wanted to reflect on what I appreciate most and what I have learned thus far on my journey.
What do I appreciate most?
- Clearly my bride of 28 years tops the list. I have noted before she is easily the best half of the marriage and her sense of humor keeps me going. That and her tolerating my many faults.
- My health of course. I am still here which is good, especially with a past health scare on my 44th birthday when I said God gave me a birthday present by scaring the crap out of me and letting me live another day. Coupling that by being alcohol free for over six years and I am in a better place than I could have been.
- My three wonderfully, imperfect children. They are all healthy and trying to figure what life is all about. My two boys and a girl are an eclectic lot and I love it. Life is too boring if everyone “conforms” to the same way of being.
- My mom is still with us. My dad and my parents-in-law have all gone. We miss them and I think of my dad from time to time. I used to call him my 45-year-old pitching machine as he was always willing to pitch batting practice to me. Mom’s memory has some lapses, but she still does daily crossword puzzles and bible study, teaching a class of adults every Sunday. Roseylinn, she would love your “Word of the Day.”
- My grade school friends. I have three that still get together. I have known each dating back to elementary school. They are the best and we can laugh for hours.
- My country. In spite of our incumbent leaders who now are beholden to special interest groups, we still have a great place to live and the freedom to do so.
- My friends, including my blog friends. Thanks for listening, reading and commenting. I met Amaya yesterday as we live in the same state. It is so nice to put a face and voice with the someone whose opinion I value. I need to find time to meet other kindred spirits.
What have I learned along the journey?
- My old friend Jon said “you can never have enough cups of coffee with people.” Coffee is the metaphor as his point is the getting together part. It can be tea, a drink, a walk, a drive, etc. – just invite someone along.
- Never miss a chance to say or demonstrate you care about someone. It could be as simple as a fist bump or, better yet, a hug. Or, a kind word or remembrance of a common event or issue they are dealing with. My wife is very good at this and I call her one of life’s “Rainy Day People” using Gordon Lightfoot’s song as “rainy day people always seem to know when it is time to call.”
- Limit exposure to negative people and influences. Trust me, we all have them and, since we are not perfect, we can be them as well. I can be one on occasion, so I have to remember to check my opinion at the door. Sometimes my passion for a topic can be off-putting, so please forgive my zeal.
- To the point above, it takes two people to have a communication problem. There are very few instances when a communication problem is 100% one way or the other. Try to see the other’s point. I am reminding myself of this one as well.
- Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard. Parenting is hard. Guess what, you get out of them what you put in. The more you practice something, the luckier you get.
- No one is perfect. No family is without problems. Some just hide them better. Since we are all imperfect, there is something always going on or simmering on the back burner. Just when you think life is good, God shows his sense of humor.
- Helping people in need is one of the most rewarding things you can do. The psychic income is huge and you will get out of it as much as the person you are helping.
- I am sorry. It is my fault. I will try to remember to do better the next time. Don’t forget these words. Please reread the previous bullets. We all will screw up. Trust me. If you think you don’t ever, that it is always someone else’s fault, I can assure of this – other people know your faults better than you do.
Well, I could go on, but feel I am being redundant. I have been fortunate. I am an imperfect person and managed to live this long and remain reasonably healthy. And, one final piece of advice courtesy of Anne Murray in “Danny’s Song.” Please insert the gender of choice in the song. “Love a girl who holds the world in a paper cup. Drink it up. Love her and she’ll bring you luck. And, if she helps your mind, you better take her home. Don’t you live alone. Try to earn what lover’s own.” I got lucky on this one, but I have to remember to do my part.