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…)
Posted tagged ‘feeling older’
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…)
Today I am flying home from a business trip to Huntsville, Alabama. Only Monday, I posted Nothing To Do But Write from the DFW airport, complaining about business travel, particularly by air. The business went well, in spite of missed or late flights, missing visit requests, and endless meetings. We were up early to catch a flight to Dallas today on a regional jet, meaning a plane with even smaller seats than usual. I’m tired, my back is sore, and now I’m crammed into the exit row with two other broad shouldered guys. There’s not room for the three of us to sit back, a situation in which the passenger on the aisle usually loses. That would be Older Eyes, leaning into the aisle.
I was a bit astounded, even in this age of alternate facts and pseudo-science, to hear Kyrie Irving express his belief that the earth is flat. My first reaction was what my Dad used to say when someone said or did something that was ridiculous …. What and idiot! But of course, I know Irving isn’t an idiot or is he dumb. He attended Duke University, for Pete’s sake, even if it was to play basketball. I wondered if he was joking or trying to make a subtle point about fake news, but given a chance to retreat, he stood by his assertion. Several other players, including LeBron James, defended his right to believe that the earth is flat. It is certainly his right but why would he … or his friends … want him to look incredibly uninformed in front of the world, especially when there are so many simple ways to see that the earth is indeed round?
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…)