Category Archives: Opinion

I Refuse To Act My Age

I’m 57 years old and 60 is fast approaching.  I was recently told that I don’t act my age when I showed someone a home obstacle course/jungle gym I’m building.  This was meant as a good hearted rebuke, but I take it as an affirmation.  I freely admit I don’t act may age because I’m not convinced that age is a limitation.

There are plenty of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond who don’t “act their age”.  Daniela Barnea, 73, recently won three gold medals in swimming.   Jacinto Bonilla at 77 competes in CrossFit and even had a WOD named after him.  Paul Tetrick, 85, has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial Championships.  A quick online search will turn up so many “seasoned” athletes it will make your head spin!

Growing older is inevitable barring illness or injury.  To my knowledge there is no law that says we have to grow old in our spirits, though.  Certainly there is nothing that mandates allowing our bodies to fall apart from disuse or misuse.  I honestly do not see myself growing old with anything approaching complacency.  As Dylan Thomas wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I plan to go down kicking and screaming until I draw my final breath!

It’s almost finished!

Expectations

I took a lunchtime walk yesterday on the Kennebec River Rail Trail, as I usually do during the workweek.  The day was moderately sunny, although it had begun rather cloudy and certainly cold-a chilly 6 degrees Fahrenheit at my house.  It was around 30 degrees at noon.

I started out bundled up with my heavy winter coat, knit cap, and wool mittens.  I usually shoot for a 30 minute walk.  By the time I was five minutes in I had to remove my cap because I was heating up.  By the time I reached the half way mark, I had also removed my mittens, and shortly thereafter I had unzipped my coat.  I actually had worked up a light sweat by the time I got back.

Here’s the thing:  I had prepared myself for my noon walk based upon expectations I formed at 6:30 in the morning regarding the temperature.  What I should have done was check my smartphone for updated weather information prior to my walk,  instead of relying on outdated expectations.  As it turns out this principle applies to a lot of things in life: make decisions based upon reality not preconceptions.

A hand holding a thermometer in front of some icicles.

Baby, it’s cold outside! Or, is it?

Make America Kind Again

There is a photo I recently reposted on Facebook.  It shows two little girls walking down a lane, one with her arm over the other’s shoulder. Superimposed on this black and white photo is “Make America Kind Again”.  You know, I’ve been thinking about that.

Regrettably on more than one occasion I have posted something snarky, typically regarding politics.  Local and national, I’ve snarked them all.  But with the extraordinary vitriol coming out of the Presidential race and many “down ballot” races, the level of nastiness has reached new heights…or lows, depending on your perspective.  And it’s not just politics, it’s also racism and immigration, poor versus wealthy, us versus them, and a plethora of other issues.  The common denominator is plain old meanness.

The people who are supposed to be leaders are not leading, they often are exacerbating the problem. Here’s the thing: for every one of the meanies out there, there are thousands of us who aren’t mean, or who don’t want to be but got swept up in the hysteria.  So, here is my radical idea:

Be kind.

Seriously, be kind.  I challenge everyone who reads this to do at least one kind act per day.  Do it in secret or post it online, but be kind at least once per day.  Buy a stranger a cup of coffee.  Tip a waitperson double.  Volunteer somewhere.  You see where I’m going with this, use your imagination.  If we all begin to act in kindness, maybe we can counter the meanness out there.

It’s worth a try, isn’t it?

Love is greater than hate.

Love is greater than hate.

The Best You Can Do

Sometimes, the best you can do, is the best you can do, and that’s generally good.  But sometimes the best you can do still isn’t going to be enough.  So what then?

Sometimes, you have to abandon what you were doing and try a different approach.

Sometimes, you have to go back to the beginning and start over with a clean slate.

Sometimes, you just have to be stubborn and stick it out until you come through on the other side.

Sometimes, despite all else, the best you can do, is the best you can do.  If you are doing the best you can do, then you owe nobody an apology.

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Why Do We Hold On To Stuff?

I freely admit that I don’t understand the strong emotional attachments that people have with inanimate objects.  Granted, I inherited most of my father’s tools when he passed away,  and I often think about him when I use them.  At the same time, I often think about Dad when I’m doing some home repair project or another since I learned those skills from him.  My point is, my memories of my father are not exclusively associated with his tools or any other objects.

Some may call me unsentimental, to which I would reply that I agree when it comes to stuff.  I just don’t see the point of tying up my emotions in trinkets and bric-a-brac.  I do get that many, if not most, people don’t share my perspective.  That’s cool, what works for me is not going to work for every other person.

Here’s the thing: I invest my emotional energy in relationships with family and friends.  I’ve reached a point in my life where as long as my physical needs are met and I can pay my bills, I’m content.  I stopped measuring my success in life by tallying all my stuff, hoping to come out ahead of everyone else.  Going down that road is a sure route to being frustrated and miserable.  And you know what?  It’s not necessary-all you have to do is let go of your need to own and be owned by stuff.

Yes, I know it’s not that easy for many of us.  To that I would suggest starting small and building momentum.  Donate unused clothing and unread books to charity, and see how it goes.  From there, you can start looking for more ways to simplify and declutter.  “Just do it” as they used to say.

Useful, beautiful, or gone.

Useful, beautiful, or gone-that’s my way of thinking!