What a year…and a year of WTF? LOL Retiring isn’t an event, it is a process.

 

Hey Gang,

      It was a year ago today that I first talked to the Banks about the houses,so we could downsize and started that long process. It was only three months before that, when I found out I was going to have to retire. Now, after spending almost an entire year finding out who I am, and how I got to be here…I find I am still thinking and changing.

  I found out I wasn’t immune to stress. I found out I really don’t want to work again. I found out a lot about my past…and figured out most of it. I found that I wanted certain people in my life, and others, well, I wish them well. I have found a measure of peace that I never knew was possible, and I have become if not a simpleton, a very simple person.  I have come to accept that I am old, but not that my life is over. LOL

  I have few wants anymore, and even fewer needs. My challenges are child’s play – especially to the very real challenges I used to face just to work. LOL I still have a bit of travel left in me, mostly by car, and mostly within a few states. LOL  I have some bridges to rebuild, if I can. If I can’t, well, I shall have to build a small temple to them that they can see from their side of the bridge. LOL

  I have found much intellectual satisfaction. Not a driving need to know anymore, just a constant flow of some form of knowledge. My desire to “prove” myself to other people, or be validated by them, or even to need their approval, is gone. I am what I am. The ones who truly like, or love me, or both…well, they can handle that. I kinda have learned to like me. My days of impressing anyone with any skill, talent,  or quality,  I may have…are over. I am simply – me. An overweight, balding, white haired man, who had a heck of a life. And still does.

  Yep. What a year. In two weeks, my birthday. I have one friend, whom I – in my rapid fire revelations about my own crooked mind thoughts- managed to alienate – I wrote a note begging forgiveness. If that isn’t answered on my birthday…the bridge won’t be burned from my side, but planted with flowers and small fountains, to make it a place of beauty, should they ever decide to cross over. There will be no guard, no gates, I shall leave the bridge open to cross whenever their time line allows. No one I care about, is ever shut out of  my life.

  I have lost the ability to like war in any way. Planes and ships that used to awe me, make me feel sorry for their necessity now. For crying out loud, I took my wife on our honeymoon to a Civil War Battlefield. Now, and for years now, I can’t step onto any battlefield , of any country, without feeling sad that we haven’t learned. On my recent trip, I went by all the major battlefields of our Civil War…and stopped at none. Not one. I had to stop my weekly updates of the Great War ( World War One) for the toll of human misery quickly overwhelmed me. I have even stopped reading three of my favorite Sci Fi authors…not because their writing has dropped off, but simply because I can’t deal with the violence, political intrigue, and deceit displayed in their award winning books.

  TV, as you know, disgusts me most of the time. So, in just a year, I have separated myself from a lot of things of “meaning”, that are now, at least to me, meaningless. I wish the world to be full of love, of joy, of purpose and real achievement. I am almost a prototypical 1960′s love child, or hippy. LOL

Sans bus, and still take showers.

  I know this was a long letter, but it has been a long year…but a quickly passing one too. Like almost everything us humans do, it seems like a contradiction, but isn’t. It seems yin and yang, are built into our very beings.

I am happy. I am alive. I am at peace. Just doing the best I can, to avoid being drawn back into the world I left behind.

  Smiles to all, and even though I am turning 63, I have the body of a 62 year old. LOL

 

The Hyperbole of Romance, Love, and Commitment… it is the little things. Big things you have to deal with, little things erode, or build – depending…”

I read a posting about “how to stay married” that a friend sent me, to see what I thought about it. When I finished, I realized how much: “Love Hyperbole” , “Romance Hyperbole,”, and  “Commitment Hyperbole,” we are subject too.

I have been married to my Hero, my best friend, My Kathy , for more than 33 years. I learned a lot during those decades; about me, about her, about change, about life. Nothing stays the same, not love, not romance, not feelings, not people, and certainly, not a marriage. Time has an affect on all things. The way I courted Kathy 34 years ago, well THAT Kevin, and THAT Kathy aren’t here anymore. The strong supple bodies, with the hour glass figure on her, and the broad shoulders on me- have been replaced with, let’s be gentle and say: more huggable bodies. No hard edges anymore, no sharp curves, or firmness to most parts of our bodies. Hair has chosen where to grow, and decided to thin, or disappear, from our heads to sprout up in the most unlikely of places.  Sex is not a several times a day, or even a week, or, to be honest, even a month anymore. Sex has been replaced, with a deep penetrating affection that permeates every moment of our day. Our hands reach for each other like they have a life of their own, and once they are safely tangled in a familiar grip- the world, our world together, is okay.

Love, Romance, Commitment, are processes, not events. They unfold over time, sometimes in ways that can’t be predicted, or anticipated. Each day requires you to do maintenance on your relationship. You don’t need the hyperbole that is evident everywhere in our media fed society. Diamond rings? New cars? Fulfilling her every wish, and demand? Putting your life and dreams on hold for his, or hers? Giant expensive boxes of chocolate? None of that is necessary…okay, maybe the Chocolate. LOL  Whisking away to romantic getaways, or taking three days on a deserted island will not, repeat, will not, save, or build your long term relationship, although they might, under certain circumstance – build memories, or defuse some stress. To make a love grow, or romance to appear, or to stay committed to one another, over time, it is the little things you need to pay attention to.

Want to have sex with her on Saturday, start on Wednesday! Don’t initiate sex until you have done a few things for her, like: laundry, yard work, the bills, or taken the kids so she can have a quiet cup of coffee. When she is rested, refreshed, and restored THEN tell her about her beauty, her sexiness, her soft skin, pretty eyes, and warm, friendly, funny, personality. Tired loving, is work. A chore. If you are the female in the relationship, sex is not a weapon to be used to reward or punish. And, believe it or not, there is a huge difference between male and female sexual needs, desires, and feelings. In my opinion, most of the sex drive is hardwired from eons of evolution, therefore, male and female desires in that area, seldom match the societal framework we try to hang it on. On top of that, individual tastes, preferences, and basic biological difference between individuals, and timing, all affect the amount, quality, and experience of sexual trysts. Which is why real deep affection is in the cuddles, the hand holds, the kind words, and the hugs. Believe me, for many decades sex will be important for both of you, as it brings you close in a truly intimate way. Sex will never reach the deep level of intimacy provided by a quiet, private, sharing conversation. There is a reason that at the end of life, most couples just want the companionship, and sharing silences that come from years of doing the little things right. You can have sex with almost anyone who is willing, and attractive to you, the number of people you would trust with a secret, is much smaller. The number of people who can sit and share watching your new DVD with, is smaller than that. The person who you feel completely safe with, and trust your heart too, is a small number. Usually only one, at the most two (and that presents its own challenges!).

What are these little things you should do that are bereft of hyperbole?

1) Help. Yep. Help with dinner, with the kids, with chores, with making the bed, with errands. Help out when ever you can. Do the dishes. Paint the porch. Move the furniture without complaining, and leave his ugly recliner alone!

2) Be kind. Always. In all ways. Say: Please, Thank You, I am sorry. When you do say them, mean it. Open doors, open cans, treat her/him with kindness. Tell them they are smart, catch them being smart, and tell them- that way it sticks. When men and women are cranky, or tired, kindness can be as simple as giving them space, a place to rest, or bringing them their favorite book and a hot chocolate , without having been asked. Knowing what will let them chill out, is a kindness. So is making sure they know you love them.

3) This next one is a biggie, and it might be the single most powerful tip you will ever hear for truly good communication. Millions of books, TV shows, and scientific studies show tell us how important good communication is- so why can’t men and women, or partners communicate well with each other? Ready? The reason is simple- most of us talk, and few of us listen. Or, if we listen, we only hear the words. So here is the single most important, deceptively simple, but agonizingly difficult to to do, tip:

When the other person is talking, listen without forming a reply. That’s it.

“What?” I can hear you saying. “What the heck?”

Most of us aren’t listening to the other person, we are just waiting to put in our two cents worth. The whole time they are talking we are formulating a reply, rebuttal, or defense in our minds, which means, we are not listening to them, but ourselves.

Want to have deeper, more meaningful, and interesting conversations…learn to listen. Not to just the words. Tone of voice, what is said , and when, and where, facial expressions, all convey a lot more than words. If all you do is listen to the words, you often miss out on what is really being said.

Which leads to the last things; words should match actions. If you tell her you will do something, then do it. Make your eyes smile too. When you hug someone, relax. Snuggle into it. I need a hug, means they need to be held. NOTE to Guys: Hugs are not foreplay. They are pure comfort, trust , and safety. If it leads to sex, from her initiative, by all means, have a great romp. However, 99% of the time, a hug, is just that. Nothing more, nothing less. It is being held for the sake of being held. Hugs vary in intensity, necessity, and length of time. Do not hurry hugs. Try this, when you hug her- or him, don’t say a word, and hug them gently, and see how long it takes for them to relax in your arms. If they do relax, just hold them until the moment ends…do not rush hugs!

The last thing I want to bring up is something most folks don’t notice: change. Change is a constant. Our bodies age, our tastes change, and our desires wax and wane. Music that used to make us jump up and rush to the dance floor, now seems loud and distracting. Foods we used to love, have been replaced by new tastes, or a preference for old tastes might emerge again. Change means you have to adapt. Being a young couple with no children is much different than being a young couple with two kids. When kids leave the house, the dreaded “empty nest” syndrome, is a real change for a lot of folks. Many good marriages become all about parenting, and the couple hood is taken for granted. The kids leave, and the parents found out, that is what they had become- parents. They forgot, for years, maybe…how to be a couple, how to date, how to talk like they did before kids.

So, be kind, learn to love and be loved as you are now.

And that, isn’t hyperbole.

re: Immunity to change, and why we believe weird stuff about ourselves- like, I like being a bit fat, because it proves I am rich enough to eat at restaurants! LOL

Okay Gang,
I am taking one of the most interesting and challenging courses of my life – for free! Online at EDx Harvard. The Professors are wizards, the staff is helpful and the people taking the class are so open and honest – it defies description. Some folks started late, and got overwhelmed so I wrote this short synopsis for them, and I think it shows how I see the class fairly well. So, I thought I would share it with you folks to pique your curiosity! Here you go:

Hey Latierraeduca…don’t get overwhelmed! Take a deep breath and I will give a short synopsis of what I think we are doing. If you haven’t read the readings, please do so. Watch the videos, and make your map with the four columns. Okay, so how does this work? Let’s say you want to lose weight. You have tried every diet, and nothing works. You lose, you gain it back. The Professors call all those diet and exercise things you did- technical approaches. They treat the symptom, not the cause. What this course is about ( I think) is really to find out why you like being fat, or at least, why your psychic immune system feels you are better off fat. And what that is, is your mindset in action. If you change your mindset, you can change your weight. So, there must be some belief you hold, that keeps you from just losing the weight, and keeping it off. That is your Big Assumption. So you try and find behaviors that reveal your Big Assumption – which they call your: BA. Okay, now let’s use a weird example- you think you are a bad speller. But, all your friends use you to write and edit their papers. And, you won the spelling Bee in sixth grade. So, your Big Assumption, is that you are a bad speller. So it doesn’t even notice that everyone else thinks you are a good speller! It even ignores the fact that you won the spelling Bee? Why? Well, you go back over your life (the biography exercise) picking out five or six memories from your childhood from about age six to sixteen. Nothing earth shattering, but things that lingered in a negative annoying way. And into your mind pops that sixth grade spelling Bee that you won. The next year, you got into boys and got to go to your first dance! But it was on the same day as the first round of the spelling Bee. So, you were thinking about the dance, your dress, the boy who asked you, if your Mom or his Mom would drive you…if he knew how to dance. So, when you go up to the microphone and get hit with the word : diarrhea – you get booted in the first round. As you leave the stage, your teacher, who was so proud of you LAST YEAR, and brags about you constantly, comes up to you, just as you were starting to cry from embarrassment, feeling slightly humiliated too, in that hyper emotional state, for both of you- she says: “You can’t spell. Why did you even enter? You are a bad speller.” And your Big Assumption is born. The purpose of this course, as I see it (and I am a student not a professor. Just an old guy trying to learn new stuff) is to find out where that Big Assumption came from,find out if it still fits, or fills a need, or even is true! Looking back on our example as an adult, you could see that you were just the typical 12 or 13 year old girl, excited about going to your first formal dance. So, you didn’t study like you did the year before. Perfectly understandable. And, you know it isn’t true, you can spell. You can spell better than almost anyone you know. BA was found to be false, and now you can change, and accept the fact that you have a PH.D in English Literature and earned it! LOL So, make the map , do the biography, find out what is helping, or hindering, treat yourself with mercy, get some distance from what it is you want to change, and why change hasn’t happened, and you will be caught up to the class! I hope this helps. Smiles, Kevin (who by the way, found out he was fat, not because of food, but because of poverty! I ate to prove I was rich enough to go out to restaurants ! That is the kind of insight lots of folks are getting from this course.)

-posted about 10 hours ago by ComicKev
Wow! You have displayed such generosity with sharing and helping. I commend your efforts!

-posted about 5 hours ago by Francadc
I comickev, you have really done justice to this course. Well done and thank you for that great clarification and explanation. It really simplify all the technicality of the course.

-posted about 5 hours ago by Afun-Ogidan
Amazingly helpful and reassuring for many, I am sure.

-posted about an hour ago by JanOz
Aloha Francadc, Afun-Ogidan, JanOz, Thanks for your kind words! I just don’t want anyone to get overwhelmed, trying to catch up is tough enough, but because of the nature of this class, a breakthrough, an insight, an “aha” moment, or a quiet: “Hmmm…maybe I can change that.” Can come at any time. Some folks got their maps done on the first try! Mine needed a bit of work. It seems my Big Assumption has a whole host of bigger and littler brothers! LOL Good luck, and thanks for taking the time to tell me nice things! Smiles, Kevin

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 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!”
Smiles, Kevin

re: Change is on the way…

Aloha All,
Some changes to come about soon. First, I am moving as we continue the process of downsizing to live well within our means. We have found a wonderful place, with a great landlord. We have our outgo down to just rent, utilities, gas and groceries. Not quite debt free, but getting very close. On the fitness side, I am doing great. More than six hundred minutes ( recommended dose is 150 minutes a week) of biking, walking, running, and generally moving about. More than four times the weekly dose of exercise. Exercise is Medicine, and that is a shift that folks my age need to make. Just walking is more potent than most medicines to change so many things about your health. Get out and move!
Diet wise, well, ever since the Ape/Evo diet, I have become a fan of making my snack plate every other day. A dinner plate filled with five vegetables to snack on, and occasionally some berries. A hand full of nuts are always available too. I haven’t added sugar to anything yet this year, and am working on the next step…eliminating white breads, and pasta, and chocolate milk. Nutrition is really a tricky subject, and there is much bogus pseudoscience out there about dieting, and what to eat. You, as an individual, must experiment with your own body, and find what works for you. It is like Caffeine – for most people, just a little provides a lot of jittery energy- but, for me, nada. I can drink tea (which has more caffeine than coffee) and go right to sleep. LOL Just try things that work for you…and continue to work for you. Bouncing back and forth by twenty pounds every six months, is not healthy. Slow and steady, beats fast and dramatic.
Stress. I haven’t found many studies – or at least studies that I trust, about the effects of worrying over how, when, or what you are eating. I don’t use the word “Bad,” about food. I am not bad if I eat a donut. I just ate something that isn’t as healthy as say, a tomato. LOL You are not bad for eating, although you can eat things that are bad for you! I do. The stress from trying to be perfect, or feeling bad because you snacked on a cookie, I feel can be more dangerous than the cookie was! If you have to many treats, figure it out, and have fewer treats. But don’t beat yourself up because you ate a treat.
Money. Hmm…that one I really have to work on. I learned a lot as we downsized. Like a lot of folks, even as simply as we live, we had all kinds of stuff we didn’t need.Yet, with all my smarts, my energy, and my effort, I still find myself without the “extra money”for the things I really want. I have to really figure out how I feel about money. I have made money, but it has never driven me, and I am not sure why I feel “extra money” would change me. I am working on that a bit too.
Okay, so Phase I of retirement has been an interesting combination of stress, freedom, change, and lifestyle adaptations. What will Phase II bring? Stay tuned.
Smiles Kevin

re: Some things I learned in 2013

So what did I learn this last year?

1) It was time to retire…so, I did! LOL
2) Eat your fruits, and juice your vegetables. Fruit juice is bad for you, pure juice, that is. The Harvard Study shows that eating whole fruits is better for you, especially if you are a type II diabetic. Juicing vegetables is okay. But, eat your fruit!
3) For over all health, and brain strength; absolutely nothing beats walking fast enough where you can talk to a companion, but you couldn’t sing if you tried. It is cumulative for Health Benefits (not training benefits) so, if you can only manage a minute or two- then do the minute or two, several times a day. But walk, and briskly.
4) Learning is fun.
5 I learned that the word “Boast”, in Ancient Greece, meant: To tell the Truth, strongly. It was an honest word. A word that meant you knew the truth, you lived the truth, and you could tell the truth. We turned it into a negative word in our modern world. Yet, isn’t it funny, we never came up with a replacement word that means: To Tell The Truth Strongly.
6) I learned that there are more than a trillion ionic reactions in a single micrometer of Neuronal Cells. If all the ions of one species gathered on the same side, the energy released would be the equivalent of several thousand lightening bolts. You would vaporize and turn into a blinding brilliant glowing plasma. Be glad you have counter ions. LOL (Thanks Doc David and Doc Wan for those : “back of the envelope equations.”
7) I learned that my daughter is a great and wonderful Mother.
8) I learned that my Kathy, is a great and wonderful Grandmother.
9) I learned that my younger daughter, is a great and wonderful Aunt.
10) And, yes, I learned that my Son-in-Law , is a great and wonderful father.
11) I learned that I am about the right age to be a Grandfather. LOL
12) I learned that forgiveness does not mean forgetting, but, if you hang onto not forgetting to much, you really haven’t forgiven.
13) I learned from the actions of one Lady on board the ship, how many lives are affected by one person, and maybe, a person you don’t even know, and never met. Every single person – counts.
14) I learned that work, or a job, for some people, brings their mind back into full gear, and gives them a reason to wake up in the morning. Work, it turns out, isn’t all bad.
15) I learned how badly TV is killing culture, communication, and conversation. Especially watching News. Turn it off, except for entertainment. ‘Nuff said.
16) I learned that no matter how old you are, it is scary to make new friends, or lose an old one.
17) It always hurts to break up with someone you loved, or liked, not matter if you are six years old, or seventy. Breaking up, as the song goes: “…is so very hard to do.”
18) Love can, and often does, last a lifetime. Even Romantic Love! LOL
19) I learned that part of Oceania ( The Island Kingdom of Kiribati) is underwater, and almost half the population is looking for a place to live.
20) I learned that the three fastest and most powerful computers in the world are in: China, Japan, and The United States. And only one of those countries has dedicated it to spying on its population- and that one is us.
21) I learned that no matter how hard core a business, a government, or a science is- it isn’t about logic, it is about people. Relationships, surprisingly enough, are the real backbone of any human activity.
22) Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and supper like a pauper.
23) Make time for yourself.
24) Get your sleep.
25) Smile.
And that is what I have learned this year. See you next Year. Kevin at home

re: Things I learned as a child, but wasn’t smart enough to do as an adult:

These are the things I learned from my Mom and Dad, and other adults, all from a generation that knew some things. I do some of them, others, well, I slipped a bit. Here you go, wisdom from the Greatest Generation:

1) Eat a little bit of a lot of things.

2) Eat, breathe, and move- everyday.

3) Smile.

4) Get your rest.

5) Take  a day off.

6) Learn to fill your needs, not your wants.

7) If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it.

8) Please, Thank You, Good Morning (Afternoon, or Night), How are you? Please. I am sorry. You are welcome. Yes Ma’am. Yes Sir. May I help you. These are the words that act as social grease…use them well.

9) If you shook hands on it, the deal is done.

10) If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.

11) Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

12) You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.

13) Don’t gossip, or speak ill of the dead.

14) If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.

15) Never buy on credit. (Oh, had I just remembered this one ! Insert sob here.)

16)  Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and supper like a pauper.

17) Share.

18) Never argue in public. Never swear at someone you love. Don’t yell at children.

19) Act married all the time (if you are married).

20) Find someone, or some thing, that you love. You will never be lonely.

That’s it. Just a few things I was raised with, but did not heed, or at least  not all the time.

Bullied and Beautiful, watch this amazing Canadian Poet put it in wordsss…

Aloha Everyone,

I sent this onto as many people as I could. I have watched it three times in a row. If you were ever bullied, sad, or just couldn’t figure out where you belonged, this young poet hits it. I cried openly, and laughed, for like a lot of folks who made it- he has a sense of humor. I think, some of you will see yourself, I did.

His questions as a child…well, they are some of the ones that are bothering me now. It is only ten minutes long…and lasts a lifetime. Kevin

Ten Things I have learned in life. (So far!)

1) It is your life. Live it.

2) Learn to forgive.

3) The hardest person to forgive, is yourself.

4) You are going to make mistakes, miscommunicate with someone you love, and fail at something. So is everyone else.

5) There are no perfect people: there are people perfect for you!

6) If you are lucky enough to find love, enjoy it.

7) Take some time to empty your mind.

8) If you can’t find someone you love, find something you love.

9) Learn as long as you live.

10) Find some Art to appreciate: music, painting, theater, writing, nature, the medium doesn’t matter- it might even be math, or science, or construction for you- but find the ART.

RE: Nothing in Stone- life is not a rock.

I wonder, where, oh where, did we get the idea that the way we live now, is the way we have to live forever, and ever more? Especially when we look around and can see that we don’t even use the same tools we did before. When is the last time you had to walk to a phone? And dial?  Phones aren’t fixed to a wall anymore, they are in your pocket, the same pocket with a smart phone, holds all the information in all the libraries in the world.

How many people you stay in constant contact with, live with you? Two? Four? Maybe seven, if you are lucky. How many are on your contact list? Your FACEBOOK page? Your Twitter account? Your social circle is giant sized compared to just 20 years ago. How many phone numbers have you memorized? Any?

How many checks have you written this month? Where and when do you watch movies? How many team sports do you play? Online or in real life? How much debt are you in? It might surprise you to know, that in 1959 – no one I knew was in debt. There were no credit cards- and if you didn’t have cash, you didn’t buy anything.

I knew exactly one kid, who came from a divorced home. One.  I only knew two families who had less than five kids. Blacks could not use rest areas on Highways, and Gays weren’t even mentioned. Today, African Americans, Latinos, and Gays, are just Americans for most folks- and have risen to power in every field of endeavor. Women, who numbered less than a few percent of the work force, and college students of the time – now outnumber men in sheer numbers of college students, and in most business arenas. Oh, to be sure, there is a long way to go for any “minority” group, but progress had definitely been made.

On an Individual level, we are living longer, healthier, and smarter, than ever before. So, why this line of thought we feed ourselves that we can’t change? That we are stuck? That we have done what we could with our lives. NO YOU HAVEN’T. You just bought into someone else’s dream killing belief system. It is your life. It has always been your life. You may have made commitments, and feel you have a duty to uphold- and maybe you do. Yet, if you think you can’t change them – you are wrong. It isn’t easy to change, and it sure isn’t easy on the folks around you- but you can become who you want to be.

You can share the journey, or make your own. You can give up your choices, which is a choice in and of itself. Change , as the saying goes – is inevitable – growth is optional. Take the options!  Can’t move to a warmer climate because what would your relatives do without you? Well, move to the warmer place- they will visit! Especially in winter. Want to play sports but your partner doesn’t want to? Play, and make sure they have a nice seat to watch. LOL  You do have to compromise some things to get along, but no where, no way, no when, do you have to compromise yourself.

When you die, only you go. Nobody else can die for you. So why not LIVE for you? No one else can live for you either.  Wishes, can become dreams, which can become goals, which can become reality. Of course, there are no guarantees, so, guess what? A dream can become a Nightmare- and a real one. Risk, is part of life, and managed risk is still risky. On the other hand, without risk, you shall never know what you might be, do, or meet. Grow, or stop. Or , if you are truly lucky, you have found your bliss and are contented- for now.  Move a pebble, and the stone falls…Life, is not a rock.