Archive for the ‘feeling older’ category

From the Heart

February 14, 2019

heart

Whether you are a romantic or not, whether you have a Valentine in your life or hate the day as 45% of Americans do, unless you lock yourself in your room today with the television off, you will see hearts everywhere. And odds are that somewhere during the day, you will hear someone say, I love you with all my heart. Now I think most people who know me would say I am a romantic, but I am also a scientist, a scientist who has within the past few years had a thorough evaluation of his heart by a

heart

cardiologist. I assure you, he was not checking to see if I could love my Valentine, my wife Muri, in the way she deserves. No, he was making sure that a cardiac misfire hadn’t caused a blackout I experienced while riding my bike. It hadn’t and I’m fine, by the way, but having peered at my heart valves on the ultrasound machine, I know that my heart is a muscle, albeit a very sophisticated one. So what’s with all this Love from the Heart nonsense?

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(Old) Year, (New) Year

January 1, 2019

new year1Last night, over the dinner that never came (more on that later*), I asked my wife Muri if she thought 2018 was a good year.  She surprised me when … without hesitation … said, No.  It is a characteristic of my wife that I love, except when it bugs me: she doesn’t mince words.  Me?  I can be a word-mincer when it comes to quality of life.  Twenty-five years sitting in 12-Step meetings have instilled in me a tendency to look for the positive and to practice gratitude, even in difficult times.  It’s not that I don’t see the bad things that happened in 2018, believe me.   We lost one of our dearest friends.  Our son made no progress toward self-sufficiency.   My business went into hibernation.  I have had more than my share of aches and pains, culminating with sciatic pain that has me limping around for the first two hours of the day.  But we have a small cadre of friends who accompany us on this journey, some from afar.   And we may ache and groan but we have an active life, not by car-commercial standards but theater and movies and concerts that make perfect dates.  We have the cutest grandkids in the world (yes, I’m biased).  A few business opportunities may still blossom and if they don’t, we’ll be OK.  And we have each other.  If I were to give 2018 a letter-grade, I would give it a B. (more…)

Feeling It

December 6, 2018

neillold

When I was 69 years old, my wife Muri and I were at a Neil Diamond concert at (of course) the Greek Theater. Isn’t it odd to see your childhood favorites age along with you? At the intermission, an older gentleman (six years older, to be exact) and I were talking. For some reason, he felt compelled to bestow on me these prophetic words: The road from 69 to 75 is a tough one. At sixty-nine I was blogging here regularly and based on my posts, several of my back-then readers had told me, You seem to have this aging down. I believed I did and so I filed the advice from my momentary concert acquaintance as his problem, not mine. But he was right.

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Thanks

November 22, 2018

thanksgiving

Last night on Erev Thanksgiving, I was looking through my posts from past Thanksgivings. After 9 years of on again off again blogging, I need to check the past before charging off on a new idea that might turn out to be an old one. For a number of years, I’ve featured a gratitude video I made back in 2011, photos of the many things I’m grateful for set to Louis Armstrong’s beautiful version Beautiful World. As such things do these days, it made me verklempt. As one ages, the good things in one’s past seem more and more precious. This is the video.

Seven years doesn’t seem like a long time at seventy four, but there are so many photos I’d add today but I am away from home with my grandkids, so that is not an option. Since made that video, my grandkids have grown and moved to Utah, we’ve sold our little house in the desert, and my business has gone into hibernation. There have been illnesses among family and friends, some with recovery and some not. we said goodbye to two cats we loved and adopted a handsome rescue named Claude. My wife and I have more aches and pains, but watching our contemporaries, we feel fortunate. Our small cadre of friends and family are more precious than ever. We celebrated fifty years of marriage and I love my wife more than ever. We have some big decisions to make that are making us crazy but they are decisions we are lucky to have at our disposal. So … I remain a grateful old coot. Sometimes the gratitude is a feeling that swells up inside me and brings tears to my eyes. Other times, it’s an action, assuming an attitude of gratitude that reminds me that even when I’m feeling down, I’m a lucky man. Isn’t that what Thinksgiving is about?

THanksgivingFrom Oldereyes

Tomorrow. Vote.

November 5, 2018

electionTomorrow will bring an end to a long midterm election campaign season, none to early to suit me.  Our phone has been ringing regularly with robo calls and soundbite messages of what will happen if I don’t vote for so-and-so.   This year, I have gotten an average of 5 texts a day offering the same thing.  At one point I decided that I would not vote for any candidate who texted me but by now I realize that would mean not voting.  So,  I will sit down today with the voter handbook and review the candidates resumes and the ballot initiative summaries and decide.   Initiatives are particularly difficult because the TV ads incorporate more scare tactics than information.  Of course, so do the  ads for political candidates.  This year the message mostly seems to involve President Trump.   As he himself would say, Sad.  Sad that our elections, a centerpiece of democracy, become a personality contest about one personality. (more…)

Biased … Again

October 29, 2018

I posted this before here and on my other blog, Both Sides Now, but reading the news this morning, it seemed more appropriate than ever. It seems to me that if we don’t harness our tendency to find evidence supporting what we already believe (confirmation bias), we will tear our nation apart.

biasI like to begin my day with a cup of coffee at my side and my tablet in front of me, seeing what is going on in the world from the various news outlets. I have searched for years for a source of unbiased news (a phrase that should be a truism but turns out to be an oxymoron) but have finally settled on reading biased news from a variety of sources, then drawing my own conclusion. Over in the blogosphere or on social media, it is worse. Opinions masquerading as facts may not win the day but they dominate it. It is as if we are pre-programmed to be biased, which we are. The culprit is not some brain-hacker out of The Matrix but a fundamental characteristic of our species known as Confirmation Bias. Our Creator (or Evolution, you choose) has endowed us with a very strong tendency to sort through the array of information available to us at any instant and choose that which supports our currenttiger2 opinions, thus strengthening our belief. Some scientists explain that for our ancestors, dealing with simpler (but more critical) situations (like Is that a Sabre-Toothed Tiger and is it likely to eat me?), reaching a quick decision in the face of sensory overload was a matter of life or death. If this is the case, then Confirmation Bias is strongly linked to our Flight or Fight Response, becoming strongest when the situation seems threatening.

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Phases

October 23, 2018

stagesOne of the primary reasons I write is that it leads me to insights that get lost in the maelstrom of thoughts often swirling in my mind.   An insight can appear at any time, dropping unexpectedly into the a.m. ramblings I call Morning Pages or appearing in a nostalgic piece on my high school years.   The latter was the case this week on my legacy blog, A Dad’s Legacy, also known as the best written blog nobody reads (yeah, I know … call the whaaambulance).  Looking back on my high school years coming to an end, I wrote, I don’t recall graduation as a big deal because I have always been a man who is ready to move on to the next phase of life.    (more…)