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.
Posted tagged ‘Life’
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?
Have you ever heard someone speak of The Committee in My Head as a way of describing the assortment of thoughts that can seem to appear out of nowhere in your mind, especially in difficult situations? As you’ve tried to reason your way though such a situation, have you been surprised by the unproductive and sometimes downright nasty thoughts that turn up? According to Barry Gordon in an article in Scientific American, We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The vast majority of our thinking efforts goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time. And if that isn’t bad enough news for those of us who would like to be clear and rational thinkers, Harvard University psychologist Daniel Wegner says that vigilantly struggling not to think about something or someone forces part of your brain to be on guard for that thought. Holding it there, even subconsciously, keeps the thought alive, and sometimes it escapes out of the prison it’s being kept in and erupts into your active thoughts. This is mostly likely to happen when you’re under stress, mentally overwhelmed or just plain exhausted. So, if we can’t control our thoughts … and trying can actually make doing so harder … what is an over-thinker to do? (more…)
I am an introspective sort of old guy. Being old … seventy-two, to be specific … is an advantage for an introspective man, providing lots of life to introspect (no, it’s not a word … consider it senior literary license). I am also a lucky man. As I move inexorably into my seventies, I am, as they say, comfortable in my own skin. No, I am not quite perfect … defects of character and irrational prejudices still haunt me … but for the most part, I manage not to act on them. Mistakes? Yes, Frank Sinatra, I’ve made a few but I’ve tried to learn from each of them and I think I am a better person for the effort. Pardon me if I pat my own back and say I have an examined life, which, according to Socrates, makes life worth living. These days, I find myself looking back over the years not in judgement but in curiosity, trying to understand what made me turn out as I am. So let me ask you this. Have you ever asked yourself, What was was the most significant year in determining who you are? (more…)
Recently, my son-in-law, Lars, bought season tickets to his alma mater’s football season. He told our daughter, Amy that it was a lifelong dream. When my wife, Muri, found out, she asked me if I had dreams like that, adding that she’s never had lifelong dreams or made bucket lists. I’ve been thinking about it ever since because, to my surprise, I don’t. Oh, I’ve had plenty of things I want to try and things I want to see. Even a few things I’d like to have, as materialistic as that sounds. And if I kept score … which I don’t … I think I’m doing fairly well at trying, seeing and having things I want. And I’ve always regarded bucket lists as rather theatrical, as much as I enjoyed the movie of the same name.
With visitors coming this week, this Saturday was a chore day. I had a long list of things to do around the house and of errands I needed to run in order to be able to do those things around the house. Chances are about 98% that on a chore day, a trip to our local Home Depot will be required. Today, I needed flowers … assorted viola and some sweet alyssum … to brighten up my flower pots in the yard. I also picked up some kitchen cabinet polish. The plan was to finish at Home Depot, take some boxes to our storage bin, then stop at Target to pick up some cat food before heading home to start on my chores. Everything was on schedule until I loaded the plants into the trunk in the Home Depot lot and closed the lid. Have you ever had one of those moments where your hand is in the process of closing the door and a voice in your head shouts KEYS!!! … but it’s too late to stop? You hopefully look in your pocket but you know where they are. In the trunk with the plants. And the car doors are locked. Shit. (more…)