Archive for the ‘feeling older’ category

The Light Touch

August 12, 2017

laughing catMost people think I’m funny.  I am given to wisecracking and awful puns and humorous observations on life, even in business meetings.  Not everyone laughs at my jokes … that is the nature of comedy … but I’d guess that 70-80% of the people I encounter do.  I won’t even attempt to guess the percentage of those that are laughing to be polite. There are people that like to sit near me at dinner because I make them laugh and I even have a friend who says I’m like Robin Williams.   I’d suppose I’d rather be compared to Billy Crystal given the sad end to Robin’s life but we take our good reviews as we can get them, don’t we?   My lovely wife, Muri, sometimes gets tired of my continual puns and wisecracks but that’s OK … she gets to hear more of them than anyone.  She probably checks in at 35% headshakes, 25% polite chuckles and 30% real laughs.  10% of the time she just ignores me.  My sister-in-law, GeorgeAnn reports similar statistics with my wisecracking brother, Glenn.

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Park Adventures

August 5, 2017

Even when I had Younger Eyes, I was never particularly adventuresome.   I might ride a particularly frightening roller coaster when pressed by my friends or try white water rafting in the Colorado river.   But there was no skydiving or bungie jumping, even though there was a part of me that wondered what it would be like.   In my forties, I ran 13 marathons and participated in a dozen triathlons … I guess hanging on for the last few miles of 26.2 … or swimming in high surf half a mile off the shore at seven in the morning with hundreds of other exercise-nuts qualifies as an adventure.   But now that I’m in my seventies, my adventures are more passive … and they usually take place at Yorba Regional Park where I spend an inordinate amount of my time.  While spotting a particularly fat ground squirrel or seeing a newly hatched baby bluebird might not bring the burst of adrenaline true adventurers crave, they are exactly the what this old curmudgeon craves.   Septuagenarians need endorphins, not adrenaline.

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Independence (To)Day

July 4, 2017

photostudio_1499193749123Last Saturday night, my wife and I attended Stadium of Fire, an Independence Day extravagana sponsored by the America’s Freedom Festival at LaVell Edwards Stadium on the campus of BYU.   It was a grand celebration of patriotism, featuring a skydiving team trailing an American Flag, a flyover during the presentation of the colors and a stirring National Anthem by a 14 year old singer from The Voice.60,000 people recited the Pledge of Allegiance, something an old guy so far from grammar school rarely gets to do any more.  I have to admit, I photostudio_1499193693175teared up.  I consider myself a patriot, you see.   There were two country music acts, a comedian and several dance routines, each dedicated to our servicemen with the voiciferous support of the crowd.    And there was an unbelievable fireworks show set to that most American of music, Rock and Roll, as well as an assortment of patriotic tunes. Between Saturday and today, Independence Day, evenings have been punctuated with explosions and aerial displays, delighting the kids but scaring the crap oout of the dogs.  You see, fireworks are legal here in Utah where we are spending the 4th with our grandkids.

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Old Softies

June 16, 2017

bud and dadTwice a week, I find myself in rooms with many men who grew up with difficult, even abusive fathers, men who say things like, I know my father loved me, even if he couldn’t show it.   I am fortunate to have had a father who made it clear that he loved me, more often by his actions than his words.  Was he difficult?  Not by the standards of my friends in those rooms.  Still, he could be a strict disciplinarian with a quick hand (as was the nature of discipline back then) and he had a tendency to push me toward being better by pointing out the things I didn’t do well instead of my successes (also more common back then).  He was a man of few words.  My uncle once said to me, Your Dad doesn’t have much to say but when he does, he sure knows what he’s talking about.   Dad wasn’t given to emotional or philosophical discussions … that was the province of my Mom.  No one ever called my Dad a Softie and if they had, he’d likely have considered it insulting. (more…)

Seven Tee Three

May 20, 2017

Since I started blogging in 2009, it has been traditional to post something here on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog for my birthday, which is today.  May 20, 1944.   A long time ago.  A long scroll down the list of years when you are required to provide your birthdate online.   A very different time and place than I inhabit at Seven T Three. I spent my first year living with my Mom and grandparents while Dad served in Italy, then in a bud 1950smodest apartment in New Haven, Connecticut.   If I look at my life now, I’d have to say we didn’t have much but I had a loving, attentive family and lots of friends. According to firsthingsfirst.org,  Recent scientific research has shown that the connections needed for many important, higher-level abilities – like motivation, self-regulation, problem solving, communication and self-esteem – are formed in these early years. Or not formed. And it’s much harder for these essential brain connections to be made later in life.   When I was five, I told a neighbor I wanted to be a nuclear physicist, so I guess those first five years served me well.  Thank you, Mom and Dad.

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Life … in Session

April 25, 2017

thermoThe 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…)

Enclave

March 30, 2017

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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…)