Okay, I am taking this class online from Harvard, teaching you how to change, or, rather, why you probably cannot. I have written about it before, but the other day something remarkable happened.
I called my flight instructor to set up my biennial flight review, and to be checked out for the Club airplanes. The BFR isn’t a test, it is a refresher, to see how “sloppy”, you may have gotten with procedures, or skills. I haven’t flown in seven years. As I was chatting with him on the phone, I asked how he would structure the training? Steep turns, stalls, take offs and landings, slow flight…he interrupted me:
“Kevin, you are a private pilot. Those are student lessons. We simply see how you fly now, refresh some skills, bring you back up to date, and when you are safe – I simply endorse your logbook. Then, you get to go learn again the joy of being in the air. ”
Oh, my gosh. I had forgotten that I EARNED my license. Nobody gave it to me. I have more than 680 takeoffs – and the same number of Landings! Those two should always match.lol I have more than 500 hours as pilot in command, and have flown from the East Coast to North Dakota, Natchez Mississippi, down to Florida, all from Charlotte, NC. I know how to plan a flight, fly cross country with just a map, compass, and dead reckoning – pilotage. Now with the new glass cockpits, it is even safer, smarter, and easier to fly well- at least from the planning, information and up to date weather angles. I am a Private Pilot.
With that, my whole attitude changed from one of timidity. From a place of fear, and needing validation, to one of knowing I can, with effort, become competent again. In fact, I realized that even though I am average in so many ways, and even below average in some- in some things, I have skills. I have knowledge. I have experience. I am special, in my own way. As we all are. I focused on my weaknesses, because that is what I was taught, and that is what most people will talk to you about, your (in their minds) weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures. What I realized is most folks want you to change, not for your benefit, but theirs. Most folks want you to be like them. Don’t be. Be you. Listen to folks who have walked their talk, been there , done that, got the T-shirt; you can learn a lot from them. If someone who has never driven outside their state, tells you not to drive cross country, because it is dangerous…smile, nod, listen politely- but don’t act on what they say. Why? Because they do not know what they are talking about. Not wanting you to head out into the unknown, is their fear. Not yours. Dream big, it is a huge world out there. Find the part of you that can hear:
“What? You are a private pilot! Go fly!”
re: Maybe you are special after all…. “You are a Privat Pilot.” With those words, a whole lot of crap fell away…
Okay, I am taking this class online from Harvard, teaching you how to change, or, rather, why you probably cannot. I have written about it before, but the other day something remarkable happened.
I am taking a course online called: Unlocking the immunity to change. It has been life changing. It asks you to change your mindset – once you find out how you think the world, and people are- and then ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t believe the world to be like that at all. So, you start with something you want to change. I chose something mundane, harmless, and routine- my weight. I was innocent and naive about the process they were going to teach us, and within weeks, I discovered that my weight challenges have more to do with money issues: poverty, lack, correlating worth with money, than it did with actually being fat. That was just one, of many insights. The course is ongoing, and they don’t expect us to “change” overnight, but do expect us to “change” over the next 12 weeks. I have changed already.
Oh, the belly is still there. And it has a name – The Alien. I call it that, because all of my fat is in one location – my belly. When I do a pushup, a channel of fat hangs directly down my mid-line, when I look under me, it looks just like that Scene from Alien. Well, how uncomfortable can you be with a belly that has become so much of a companion, that you have affectionately named it: the Alien? It means a) I am comfortable enough with it to give it a pet name. b) It has some sort of permanence. c) Why make an effort to remove it? It is just there, all the time. Now, however, I think it shall go away. Not easily, but since I now know the cause(s) for its existence. I don’t like being fat, and having a huge waistline, so how can I have one? Well, in part it is because I thought the issues was weight. LOL
I think some of the things I am working on, are to private for this, or any blog. Yet, I do think it is fair to give the above “tip of the iceberg” example. Maybe the issue you- the reader- are wrestling with, isn’t the real issue either. Maybe retirement isn’t about relaxing, enjoying and finding things to do, maybe it is the sudden cut off from what the rest of the world considers “important”- work. In a moment, you are marginalized and no longer a part of the rat race. The position you filled, is filled. Not with you. They don’t NEED you anymore. The company didn’t fold because you left, sales didn’t go down, the phones got answered, and the folks who knew you as a coworker – don’t call, why would they? You can’t help now. You are out. Maybe that has more to do with you you feel about retirement – than how you actually feel about it- yourself. Maybe your poor spouse has been subjected to being your entertainment, or your sounding board, or your designated listener for how the world should be. Lots to put on another person.
So, I continue to find out what is important to me, what I thought was important to me, and what I was taught SHOULD be important to me. Letting go of lots of things, and man, the window to my mindset is open to fresh air! Smiles, Kevin
Okay, a very sensitive subject indeed, one that is hard to talk about , or touch on (pun intended);
This will be short (write your own joke) and fast:
We were designed to procreate- and we use that same system to recreate. There in lies the rub. (Boy, I am getting all the puns or double entendres possible)
A post menopausal women is not the same as a menarche woman- the system shuts one side completely down. It does not shut down the need to be wanted, desired, to appear desirable, to be held, cuddled, or hugged. It does, in most women I have spoken with- drastically reduce their desire for actual sex. A nice cuddle on a couch, with gentle talk, and a smooch or two…is fulfilling. Knowing they are loved, cared for, and needed.
Men also change after fifty, where the desire and mental thoughts rage just like a teenage boys, but where the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Sometimes do to medications like Blood Pressure pills, sometimes from lack of physical condition (sex is exercise!) sometimes from ED of some type, and sometimes, from just : “…to much effort, for to little rewards.”
At the exact same time in our lives, where women need more foreplay, and time, we give neither. A cycle of blame starts, and eventually, the sex play dries up, and disappears- or becomes our teenage existence again, where we satisfy ourselves- at our own time, and pace.
Forget all the numbers and things you read in magazines; sex is only a problem when one is not happy with what is going on. I know couples who have sex once a year, and have a great sex life. I also know a few who have it twice a week, and both are unhappy…it is mechanical to them.
Finding a way to please your partner, and yourself, is difficult. Foreplay for a lot of us older men, is almost non existent- simply because when we get it up, we have to get it on, because unlike our teenage erections, we don’t know how long it is going to stay, or if it will last until our partner is wound up.
So, we end up hurting each other with rejection that wasn’t planned…so, we ignore it, and learn to love just their company.
So, sex over sixty, turns out to be just as complicated, loving and hurtful, bonding and breaking, as it was at 18. It is just as individual, and takes honesty on both side to reach the place where sex is comfortable to have, or not have.
Love is not sex. Sex can be loving. But don’t mistake one for the other!
Well, tonight is our last night with our old friend, the Pink Palace. I chose this place myself, and Kathy made it a home for us. It is almost empty except for a few chairs, our bed and dressers, and some office stuff- all of which we shall move tomorrow. Then a little going over to make sure it is clean- and we send the keys and garage door openers back to the bank.
Then tomorrow night, our first night as Renters. As I sit here typing this, memories are flooding through me like a river of ocean waves, some small, some big, some knocking the wind out of me.
It makes me reflect on all the places I have lived- from my parents house on West 30th Street, to tiny 8 X12 foot cabins at sea. We have lived in Hawaii, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, and at sea, since we have been a couple; and we have lived like rich people, and in abject poverty- off of the kindness and help of other folks.
So, this next move is actually part of the flow of our lives. Change, has always been a constant for us. As I sit here on a rainy, wet, and gray day, the Pink Palace has the patina of age all around her. Some green mold has taken hold on her back wall, and some little patches on the side vinyl too. Something we would have taken care of when the weather got warm. Looking out the window, there is a little patch of chipped paint, with just a touch of water rot on the sill- left over from the five times we had to have that window replaced until they finally got it right.
Like me, she can be cleaned up, but retains her dings and dents, and cannot escape that her youth is behind her. Like me, she harbors so many memories, there is barely room to anchor another one. She was a safe and welcome harbor for those memories.
I like our new place, and soon it will be filled with memories- if not stuff. Stuff, it seems, has become way less important to both Kathy and I. It is the doing of things, that we like- or , in my case, the not doing. LOL We shall make that rental place our home- and maybe it represents a change in attitude that comes with age.
With age, you find out that little of life is permanent. All of us grow, flame , and fade. It is life’s pattern. We move on, and the Pink Palace becomes a first home for a small family with young children- for them, it will be like West 30th street was for me…and by the time they buy their own homes, I shall be but a memory in some folks minds. As it should be. The cycle moves forward relentlessly.
I already feel the string being broken to this house, once empty, it loses it soul as “Home”, and becomes a property for sale. Our new place, tomorrow evening, will be our resting place, our safe haven, our new harbor. For how long? No one knows. No one ever does.
I have some personal challenges to deal with. For I have truly separated my wants from my needs, and my true wants from mere whims. I know what I need to earn, or make happen, for me to feel satisfied with life at this stage, and yet, I really don’t feel like doing the work to make those things happen. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. And it doesn’t bother me to waiver either. I will either take action, or I won’t. If I do, fine. If I don”t- well, that is fine too.
Life is softer after sixty. Hot chocolate, someone to chat with and chuckle with, some new learning, and it is a full nice day.
So, farewell our little Pink Palace, the new owners will fancy you up a bit, scrape off the mold, fill in the chips, and lay new carpet- and you shall shine again. A tiny palace with a big heart. Good bye to you.
Smiles, Kevin at home for the last day….
Sent from my iPad
re: Fear of the unknown…and since nothing is known, well, where does the fear come from? Fear is the mind killer, the dream stealer. The killer of Hope.
My friend sent me a story this morning about one of his friends- who died just after winning a local sailboat race. His last words?”This is the greatest day of my life.” A moment later , his life was over. So, what are we afraid of? Why is fear the mind killer for most of us? Not only the mind killer, it is the dream stealer. It is the reason most of us do not grow into who we could be, or even who we want to be.
Fear is based on three things: doubt, change, and the unknown. We don’t think we can do something, or try something, or be something, and we are right. All it took was a little fear, and we stopped ourselves. Any doubt, about ourselves, or our outcomes, and we stop. What if I become successful, or rich, or smarter, or thinner, what will people say? If you succeed, I will tell you what they will say: “You are lucky.” If you fail, I will tell you what they will say: “See? I told you it was beyond you. You failed.”
In my six plus decades there is one surprising thing that is over looked by people , or by “They”, when they talk to you- it is this: almost everyone who tell you what Rich people are like, is not. Most people who tell you what limits you have, have never exceeded their own limitations. In fact, most people who give you advice, are not the folks who tried at all. Learn to listen to folks who have been there, or done that. Fight the fear and do it any way. In a way, it is the trying, the journey, the breaking free of your fears, that make it possible to do something different, to change, to grow, to experience at least some of life’s joys, and rewards.
Fear is the mind killer. The dream Stealer. The Hope buster. Fear is self made, and fueled by fear in the people around you. Try, try again, try again, rethink things, and try again. Who cares if it didn’t work out. Not the people that tell you it won’t work out, they are busy listening to their own fear, and if they can get you to listen to their fear, they won’t have to fight their own fears. How silly are Fears? One guy told me he is never flying outside the United States again because of the recent News Coverage of a missing plane in Asia. Fear. Yet, he gets in his car. Think about it. I asked him when the last time he flew outside the United States? “Oh, I never have, and now, I never will.” Fear.
Kevin who has been scared many times…but not often fearful.
“God, If you just grant me this one answer to my prayer. I will never ask for anything, anything, ever again. ”
” My dear child, of course I shall grant your prayer. I am your Heavenly Father, and as such, I must provide for you. Here is the answer you seek.”
It wasn’t terribly long before God heard from that same human being- again.
“God, I know I said if you granted my last prayer, I would never ask again. But, I need help. This time I mean it. If you just can grant me the answer to my prayer- I will work in your name the rest of my life without ever bothering you again. ”
“I shall grant your prayer, for you want to work in my name.”
It wasn’t terribly long before God heard from that same human being again. Yet again, God gave that human being what he wanted- and neither God, nor the Human Being were happy, or satisfied. But, they both carried on doing what they were taught to do. Amen.
re: Whoa…I am taking classes online, and had to watch youtube videos…have you ever read the comment sections?
Oh My Gosh…Senor Ortega was right! Read his book: The Revolution of the Masses. If you need proof of one of his concepts- that expertise will become trivialized by non experts- read the comment sections of the Youtube videos. In particular, watch the Nobel Prize Winning Daniel Kanheman- who also wrote: Think Fast and Slow. Wow, how quickly the comments descended into personal attacks, and vitriol, and way, way, way of the subject. Daniel started a field that is now called “Behavioral Economics”, and he won for discovering that rational markets don’t exist- we don’t think rationally, but use our intuition, which is often very wrong. I couldn’t get over that most of the commentary proved that these folks never read his book, or watched his many interviews or his TEDTalks, and they have no idea why he was given the Nobel Prize.
Kevin who shall refrain from reading commentary…well, except my own. LOL
t isn’t irony, that an act of procreation, is the art of re creation
most of us are born in the dark, by the light of a love, no matter how fragile that moment may have been
it brought us here…life.
The first part of life, is the joy of firsts. Even before we know what a smile is, we do. Even before we know how to gaze, we do. Every sound, every sight, every look, every touch, is new…a first. For more than a year, we have nothing but firsts, and until much later, we remember none of them, another first.
We are not blind, but cannot see, we are not deaf, but cannot hear, we are not dumb, but cannot speak, we are not immobile, but cannot move, we spend that first year learning to hear, to see, to touch to walk, to be more than we were…and that gift continues until we die.
The second phase is longer, as long as six or seven, or even more years than that…a mysterious time of life, closed to our adult brains and thoughts. It is a timeless playground, where we invent how we want to feel, and can be anything we want to be, we understand little, but want to know everything. Rules do not apply, but they are being applied. We can draw purple horses at this age, until we are told horses are not purple. We can color outside the lines, a skill most of us lose for decades. We have simple needs, and no need for money, or bills, or things. We just want to play, and the days and our minds are long enough where days, especially in summer, last a lifetime.
Oh, and then we become young men, and women, almost over night, the other sex is revealed to us, or the potential for sex is, and we mistake it for love, for commitment, and for passion, for it has all three, but isn’t any of them.
We aren’t done yet, and most of our half baked schemes, and life long scars, and things that change us, happen in these years…but the joy of youth, the certainty, the smoothness of our skin, and the healing power of our emotions as they bang wildly out of our control, make us long for sweet sixteen, even though it wasn’t. Second only to the first year of life, are the firsts in this time of ours. First kisses, first friends, first dreams of adult success, first taste of freedom, or rebellion- of stating: “I am here. I am me. Get ready world.” Oh, yes, these years lay down memories that last, until the last.
Then the blur begins, as more and more of you, is lost in the demands of others. Torn between being the individual hermit with no regard for anything but self, and being the man, or woman, who people count on, or lean on, or want on. It is a war that will last 30 to 40 years, before a balance is found. Or a truce with society is made. Or, in rare cases, you begin again with firsts.
Then, the peace of old age, the gift of patterns of life exposed to you. The smile that comes with no hidden strings. Joy, in the single moment of taking another breath. At this point in life, you love life, because it is. You see youth for what it is, without any remorse for having spent yours, nor any inclination to join theirs. All babies are grand babies to you now. Anyone who takes the time to be with you, is cherished. It comes with a price, friends find a way off the mortal coil, before you. Your bones tell the weather, and your health tells you if you can visit that day. Parts of your senses close down …slowly, so that you can shift more and more of your focus back to those first years of life, and you see that the circle is almost complete, and it may begin again.
Soon, the peace of release, the earned goodbye, the final thought of a job well done, will tickle your fancy, and you will make the choice to leave for what is next.
Before you go, you will smile, and then you will glow…and shortly after, you will go. The smile will linger in the hearts you knew, and many years later, you shall finally be gone.
Then, the smile will be complete.
By Kevin Hughes