The first time I heard the saying, Life is in Session, was about 24 years ago in a 12-Step meeting for families and friends of alcoholics. Someone was going through a crisis and after they shared about it, they closed with, I guess life is just in session. I’ve probably heard the phrase thousands of times since then and it has never been used in reference to a pleasant or exciting event in life. It has always been associated with a difficult stretch of time, probably because families and friends of alcoholics seem to have more than their share of those. It is not so much a complaint as an acceptance that life is not always easy and that we are probably best off trying to learn something from what we are going through instead of just complaining. The notion that life is a classroom offering lessons we are intended to learn appeals to me philosophically … it even fits with what my Mom taught me about life … that it’s for growing. As somewhat of a lifelong student, it’s a notion that helps keep me going if I can see the value of the lessons I’m learning. But I’ve never done well in required course if I can’t see their purpose. (more…)
Archive for the ‘feeling older’ category
I am most often a grateful person who can look to the good things that life has given me instead of focusing on the difficulties. That is not an ability I was born with, in spite of the fact that I am the son of a woman who could do exactly that, even in her later years when the effects of diabetes were making her life harder and harder. Fortunately, pragmatic optimism and an attitude of gratitude can be learned … my particular education came in the rooms of a 12-Step program but I am sure there are other places it can be found. However, for the last few months … and in particular, the last few weeks … issues with my adult son have dragged me downward. A clash of lifestyles made it necessary for us to (finally) push him out the door and this week, after several false starts, he moved out … not, of course, without some nasty arguments with us on the way. To say life at home has been stressful is an understatement and it certainly doesn’t end with his moving. He is still our son and still on our minds. (more…)
I have never liked to use the phone. Conversations and transactions, whether personal or business, that I easily conduct in person become loathesome by phone. I don’t know why. Perhaps it is because I come from a family of phonophobes. I don’t think I have ever had a conversation of more than five minutes with either my father or my brother, and while my mother and sister were more that willing to converse on the on the phone, neither seemed to know that it was a device that could both place and receive calls. On the other hand, perhaps it is a characteristic of most men. In my Thursday Night Men’s Group, calling the guys, whether it is for help with a problem or just to talk, is part of the program. Whether it is the dislike of using of the phone or of asking for help, most of the men refer to the phone as too heavy to pick up. Having lots of company doesn’t make being a phonophobe any more acceptable at home. (more…)
When I was about sixteen and headed off to a high school dance with a date … which means it was probably a prom … my Dad stopped me and told me I should shave before I went. In a town that was largely Italian, I may have been two or three years past the usual first-shave age, but I was thrilled none-the-less. Every boy wants to be a man until they’ve tried it for 20 or 30 years, at which point he realizes how much fun being a boy was. My first shave was with my Dad’s electric razor. As my beard thickened, I got my own Gillette double-edged safety razor, just like Dad’s. You may not know that King Camp Gillette was the inventor of the disposable double-edged blade and was the supplier of safety razors to American troops during World War I. Because GIs were allowed to keep their razors when the war was over, Gillette had a guaranteed customer base for his blades, making Gillette the dominant force in shaving supplies. (more…)
Since I started Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog, I have tried to present a balanced view of aging … focusing as much as possible on the positives without ignoring the fact that, as people my age like to say, Getting Old is Not for the Faint of Heart. I was 64 when I wrote my first post, Feeling Older, which is now the frontispiece to my home page. Three years later, I wrote Feeling Old. Looking back I can see that I wasn’t considering that going from Older to Old so quickly made titling a continuing progression of posts about aging problematic. I mean, what now? Feeling Ancient?
My wife, Muri and I, deliver Meals on Wheels once a month as a way of being of service to others. I drive and she packs up the meals to take to the clients … except for one house that has a large but friendly dog named Bubba. It is my repsonsibility to to deliver the meals there. This week, as we were driving through the nearby rural town of Yorba Linda, Muri exclaimed, Oooo, skunk! wrinkling her nose and putting her hand over her mouth. Really ? I said. I could smell something but I couldn’t tell what it was and it certainly didn’t smell strong enough to be a skunk. But at this point in my senior years, I know my darling wife is always right when it comes to smells (and, by the way, many other things). I know I have presbyosmia, the loss of the sense of smell due to aging.
Many years ago (shortly after that nasty asteroid put an end to the dinosaurs, I believe), I was running on the Santa Ana River trail, approaching the halfway point of my long Saturday run, about an hour out from my starting point, Yorba Regional Park. I was minding my own business and in that relaxed place often described as a runner’s high. From the bike path, which travels along side the dirt trail I was running on, a passing bicyclist shouted, That will ruin your knees! I have no idea what motivates people like that. Perhaps he had ruined his own knees running and wanted to spread the word. Perhaps he was just a horse’s ass. I’d like to think I ignored him but I was in my arrogant forties, so it is likely I shouted a response, somewhere between, Mind your own business and Go (have a certain sex act with) yourself. Of course, even then, I knew there was some truth in what he had shouted … I’d already had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus and was running with orthotic inserts in my shoes to correct a leg length discrepancy that was giving me … hello … sore knees. But I loved running.