Rambling Prose...

Rambling Prose...
.Let's take a walk together.....

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

LIFE AS A SEPTUAGENARIAN

WEBSTER College Dictionary defines "Septuagenarian" as..."one who is between the ages of 70 and 80..."  Well that's me! 


 I don't quite look like the cartoon ....no beard, don't smoke, no typewriter, and no cats!  However, we might be getting a small dog soon. 




 About a month ago I celebrated my 78th birthday with my young wife in attendance, and quietly gave thanks for making it this far.  I'm certain that she had much to do with this accomplishment, given her eternal optimism and her abiding belief that everything is "going to turn up roses".  She is one of the most positive women I've had the pleasure to know!




So...what is life like as a Septuagenarian?  All things considered, my life is rather good.

I'm married to a wonderful women.  

We are both in good health for our ages.

Our income is adequate for our needs.  

We have very little debt.  

We reside in a nice home in a good neighborhood.

We live close to our "adult children" and grandchildren.  

We have a close circle of friends.

Now...I wouldn't want you to get the impression that we are living in a"Ozzie & Harriet" TV lifestyle.  We have challenges like any other couple.  But we are quite similar in core beliefs regarding religion (spirituality), politics, family values, life goals, etc.  We both believe that we are "soul mates" who were destined to be together in this life time.  

My everyday life at 78 isn't much different than my life at say...74 or 75.  I'm an early riser as before, but I'm not exactly bounding out of bed.  I've found that moving a little slower, stretching my body, and rubbing my muscles...especially the legs...makes for a better morning.                      

 cropped-dscn2000.jpgMy routine is quite predictable.  I slip into my "uniform of the day"..Wrangler jeans and a t-shirt...; brush my teeth; splash on some after shave to wake up my face; and head to the kitchen.  My wife is usually up before me and has the teapot water boiling and my green tea set to go.  After a morning hug and a brief exchange, she's off to her home office to begin her day, and I'm in front of my computer...checking out the weather report, a look at our calendar, a check of my emails, writing my "Morning Pages", jot down a few lines in my blog, and then I'm off surfing the Internet.

 My pattern is to check out general news first...Huff Post, Google News, Twitter, New York Times, L A Times, and spectrum Live TV.  I then branch out covering politics, local news, the environment, health news, and several "activist" sites.   Every 15 minutes I'll take a break...stretch, walk around, fix a morning snack, and rest my eyes.  I'll post some articles on Facebook and Twitter, respond to emails, and make every attempt to limit my surfing to 2 hours.  (Sometimes it works..)

While keeping informed is a serious component of my life, staying healthy is equally important.  Walking and working out at the fitness center has been a "on again, off again" routine for the past few years.  But right now, I'm stuck in the "off" mode and need to just get out there walking and going at least 2 days at the fitness center.  I really do enjoy walking around the neighborhood, but working out on the machines is less exciting.  I wish I could recapture my days of running Marathons and 10 K's during the 1980's, but that will just have to be a pleasant memory.    (My own words have inspired me....going out for a walk right now!)  

benefits-of-a-healthy-lifestyle

 

My life...especially during the past 15 years... has changed in many different ways.  It's been a metamorphosis, a bit of a "shake up" at times, it has evolved slowly, parts have been renewed, others left behind, a Left turn here, and a Right shift soon after, a passage from one form, state or stage to another, a belief no longer held, an experience that challenged my view about many things, and a change that didn't change a thing!

Back in 2001-2002, life seemed simple and less complicated until "9-11" happen and several weeks later I was hospitalized and under went a procedure to correct my Atrial Fibrillation.   (Knock on wood....no further Fibs in all these years!)  

 The Things that were important to me then at the beginning of a new Millenium  seemed almost unattainable.

To live an Abundant life...

Enjoy good times with my wife, family and friends...

Stay active and enjoy good health... 

Travel the World...

To engage in Life-Long Learning...


Be the Change I want to see in the World...                        

and Live everyday to its fullest...             

And yet, many of these goals have been realized.

 

While we are not exactly living an opulent life, money is less important to me now.  We've reduced our overall debt, and don't need to buy "stuff" and join the ranks of conspicuous consumers.  Our 2005 and 2006 cars are just fine, and we aren't burdened with monthly payments. Renting at our age makes a lot more sense than taking on another mortgage. One credit card is sufficient for our needs  I can't recall when I last wore my one suit.  


After our return to San Diego in 2011, following  a 6 year "sabbatical" in Prescott, Arizona, we returned to be closer to our extended family.   They are now living in Los Angeles and San Diego County, and we see them all on a fairly regular basis.  As of this writing, we have 3 grandchildren....a 16 year old granddaughter; a 9 year old grandson; and a 8 year old grandson;.... and another boy due to arrive on or around August 19th.  We are blessed.  

Since our return to California, we have renewed old friendships and established new ones.  These relationships have assumed greater importance as the years go by, and are the building blocks that have created life-long memories.

As mentioned earlier in this post, Paula and I are in reasonably good health, and stay fit by a combination of walking, working out at the local fitness center, and for her, going to Yoga classes 2-3 times a week.

Travel is one area that has frustrated us.  The type of world travel we are seeking is quite expensive.  A River cruise through Europe, a visit to Great Britain and Ireland, South America, a Caribbean cruise, China and the Far East are all on our wish list.  For now, we will have to limit our travel to the good 'ole USA, and specific trips in Canada and Mexico.   travel1 

 

 

 

Learning...reading, taking classes, exploring new ideas...has been a life long pursuit.  My "bucket list" includes a goal to read the top 100 Classics before I leave this planet.  (All those other books will have to wait for the Next Life! )  Which reminds me.....lately my learning has been more Spiritual and Metaphysical rather than traditional.  I've been especially attracted to Eastern faiths like Buddhism and Taoism.  The writings of Lao-tzu ...(The Tao Te Ching)...have been especially important in adding valuable content to my life-long learning.  Old_Philosopher_by_Intervain

Since about 1980 I've been involved in Religious Science and the Unity Church.  My education has never stopped.  My questioning has increased with time.  My beliefs keep on being challenged.   Politics occupies a great deal of my thinking, especially since the recent  election of Donald Trump.  I've become a rather ardent activist in resisting his reactionary agenda! 16427578_10209575677481045_2070261803907700098_n Civil Disobdence

 

 

 

 

The balance of my life will be devoted to living up...as best I can... to the last two "subjects that are important to me".... 

  inspirational-life-quoteTo be the Change that I want to see in the World, and, to Live Everyday to its Fullest!

 

 So...at my "advanced" age, I am being the change that I want to see in the World, by supporting causes such as being an Activist for Climate Change, involving myself in issues that advance "Progressive" political and social programs, standing for Immigration Reform, marching for Peace, endorsing diversity in Race, religion, sexual orientation, gender issues, election reform, and free public education through college.  (I'm sure I have left out other important matters that will be addressed in future posts.)  My focus in the coming years will be less about political parties and candidates, and more about great issues.  However, I will allow myself to speak about our current (since Nov 2016) political landscape, and my "resistance to the current occupant in the White House!  I'll devote several posts to that.  

 

                                                                                                                                        To live Everyday to it's fullest has been a challenge for me.  

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All my life I've been so damn goal orientated...chasing after Fame and Money...and in the process, missing out on the essence of Life.  While I had more than enough goals, I really didn't have a Purpose in Life.  But after some serious thought...especially during the past 10 years... as the saying goes, I may have learned a thing or two.  Life has taught me some important lessons:

Money wouldn't bring me happiness; Memories are priceless; Relationships are so very important; and a Simple Life was a better life, at least for me!  

At this point in my life, I've decided on my Purpose, which is always subject to change (Of course...).  While it is somewhat imprecise, it is still meaningful to me.  Several years ago, I discovered this Purpose while reading a biography on Robert F. Kennedy.  His quote:  "THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO CONTRIBUTE...IN SOME WAY...TO MAKING THINGS BETTER!"   What I like about this Purpose is its inherent flexibility in allowing me to create without limitations.    

Well, I hope my Ramblings haven't been confusing, and your leaving with a more accurate understanding of how "this Septuagenarian" lives his life.  This has been my first post in this new edition of my blog...Rambling Prose   There will be others to follow, covering a variety of subjects.  I hope that you will take the time to make comments....positive or negative ones.  

Until next time....                   

Working hard at Semi-Retirement! I'm Larry, with a "Seasoned View of Life."

Monday, November 4, 2013

WHAT DO I BELIEVE NOW Post #4

  This is my fourth post in the series: 
    What Do I Believe Now?
   


                                 
  WAR ACHIEVES NOTHING!  PEACE IS THE WAY!


My title was inspired by a saying from Mahatma Gandhi:  
"There is no way to Peace.  Peace is the Way!" 

 Deepak Chopra, the bestselling spiritual author, was inspired by Gandhi's saying, and in 2005 he wrote the book "Peace Is The Way...Bringing War and Violence to an End."  Both Gandhi and Chopra have influenced my thinking regarding this subject, along with many others such as The Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Wayne Dyer,etc., and interestingly, Carl Sandburg who once wrote..."Someday there will be a war and no one will come!"

  My father had made the military a "career"...first as a solider in World War II, and later enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1947, and eventually retiring as a Chief Master Sargent in 1965.
I served in the USAF from 1958 to 1962, received an Honorable Discharge, and finished my BA and MA on the "GI Bill of Rights."
Dad was certainly not a "war hawk", and my politics back then were decidedly moderate.  

It wasn't until later in life that my beliefs about peace and the futility of war evolved.  While I believed that World War II was "necessary"for the protection of our country, wars and major military operations since that time have "generally"not been justified. 

The Korean Conflict (1950-'53), Bay of Pigs invasion (Cuba 1961), Vietnam War (1961-'73), invasions of the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama (1965-1989),  the Gulf Wars of 1991, military actions in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo (1993-1999), Iraq (2003-2010  ) and Afghanistan (2001 to the present), have been bloodstained chronicles of American history that many of us would like to forget. Over seven decades of wars and military actions have had an adverse affect on our national psyche, and lead to the extermination of millions of people.

The Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War were waged in order to "stop the spread of Communism.  Korea was the first armed conflict of the "Cold War," and essentially ended in a draw.

Vietnam was the longest conflict the U.S ever fought (until Afghanistan), and the first war lost by the United States.  Popular opposition to the war had much to do with its ending in 1973. 

Invasions of the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama...and later, Somalia and Haiti, were "justified" as necessary to protect America "interests" by over-throwing the current governments and replacing them with one "friendly to the United States."

The Gulf War actions were ostensibly to protect Kuwait from an invasion by Iraq, but most historians acknowledge that we were primarily protecting our oil interests.

U.S. and NATO air strikes on Bosnia in 1994-'95 were carried out to prevent "ethnic cleansing".  And in 1999, U.S.-led NATO units bombed Serbian forces in Kosovo, who were killing the ethnic Albanian population.  ( These two actions by the United States and NATO were justified under the circumstances.)

America invaded Afghanistan in 2001.  It was justified as we believed the Taliban government was harboring Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist group that was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States.  We never found bin Laden (but killed him later in Pakistan), and the al-Qaeda groups dispersed to other areas of the world.  We are still fighting in Afghanistan as I write this blog.  A majority of Americans feel that we should have withdrawn our forces years ago.  People continue to die everyday!

America invaded Iraq in March 2003, and we were told by the George Bush administration that Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction", and he was a current threat to the United States.  Both of these statements were lies!  American troops withdrew from Iraq on August 18, 2010.  American troop deaths: over 4,500; wounded: in excess of 32,000!  The Iraq war was unnecessary and costly.  "Faulty intelligence manipulated for ideological reasons..."produced this horrible outcome!


All of these military conflicts, with few exceptions, have accomplished little or nothing of real substance.  

Korea:  Since 1953, American troops have been helping the South Koreans, deter aggression from Communist North Korea.

Vietnam:  After loosing this war to North Vietnam in 1973, we are now trading partners with them and Vietnam has been unified as a Communist nation.

Gulf Wars:  Were inconclusive, and eventually lead to the Iraq War in 2003.

Afghanistan:  The longest war in American history appears to be coming to an end.  However, as before the war, the Taliban will undoubtedly run the government once U.S. and allied forces leave in 2014.

Iraq:  The U.S. was forced to leave the country in 2010.  By most accounts, Iraq's fragile government can't govern their nation, and incidents of violence occur daily.




So I return to my original premise....War Achieves Nothing!  

History is replete with facts that back up this truism.  However, you need to read accounts that are unbiased, not censored, and not edited by writers interested in slanting or reinterpreting history.  

Wars have interesting endings.  Once, not long ago, we were told that the Germans, Italians, and Japanese were our enemies. Now they are all our friends.  (Governments had to make them our enemies so we would kill them!)  Communism was evil and the Cold War was a nuclear game of "chicken" between us and the USSR.  The Berlin Wall came down along with the myth that Communism was the wave of the future.  Now the Russians are "almost" friends, we trade with Vietnam, the Chinese are undergoing a "capitalist make-over",and some day, off in the future, the Middle Eastern countries will not hate us...as they do today! (Just even money on this bet for now!)

Is Peace the Way?  For me, and increasing numbers of people in the World. the only answer is Peace!  Most of us have come to realize that wars don't resolve the underlying issues that cause governments to fight other nations.  Diplomacy should be the first step, not the last!  




















Till next time....


  

Friday, August 9, 2013

WHAT DO I BELIEVE NOW...Post#3



In this current series of posts, I'm continuing with What Do I Believe Now?

 PEOPLE ARE BASICALLY GOOD!

 As I look back over my Life, I'm trying to recall when I first had this belief.  Was it all the times that my parents told me they loved me? (Did I assume that all people were good like them?)  Was it when I felt protected and secure in my family?  (Were not most families like mine?.)  Was it the innocence of my childhood, surrounded by good friends?  (With friends like that, people must be the same.)  Was it during my early school days, when each day was generally a pleasant memory?  (Life was so simple and wonderful back then.)  All of these experiences probably laid the foundation for my belief that people are good.  

For those of you who had to overcome challenges in a less than perfect childhood, you probably believe that my early life was idyllic.  It probably was in some ways.  But I don't believe it was unique.  Growing up in the late 40's and early 50's in Orange County, California....before the crowds, the smog, gangs, urban sprawl, and the drug culture....was almost a fabled existence!  (While my father was fighting in World War II, my mother and I lived with my grandparents in Santa Ana.  When he was discharged, we moved to Newport Beach.  How bad is that for a 8 year old boy....sun filled days, barefoot, and always swimming.  Life was truly a Beach!)

But, back to the subject.  Like all of us, life has thrown me some challenges.  But through it all, my belief in the goodness of people hasn't been diminished.  A 30 year career as a Probation Officer, working with juveniles and felons, hasn't changed my mind.  During my life time.... World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, The Gulf Wars, Iraq, and now Afghanistan...with all of their horror, inhumanity, and suffering, have not altered my view of people.  Read the history of these conflicts, and you'll find numerous incidents of kindness, even between the combatants.  People, with rare exceptions,  are not "wired" to kill.   

Examples of the basic goodness of people abound.  Every day, whether on the internet, TV, newspapers, or through personal experience, we can find accounts that support this belief.  Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to ignore all the "negative stuff,"and seek out the "good news."  I find that I read the good if I expect to find it!  (Like everything else, it's your attitude.)

I'm sure that by now you are convinced that I'm a "pollyanna."  No I'm not....I am an optimist!  It is a lot easier than being pessimistic or cynical.  While I'm far from perfect, I do try to "walk what I talk."  ( I'm not quite batting 500 yet.)

  


  
Well...I hope I've persuaded a few of you that People Are Basically Good.  If I've changed one mind, that fulfills my Purpose in Life:  To contribute...in some way...to making things better!






Looking forward to your comments about this post, or anything that's on your mind.


Let's have a conversation....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WHAT DO I BELIEVE NOW.... Post #2

This is my 2nd post in the current series....What Do I Believe Now.  Please read my first post (August 4, 2012) for background on this subject.

Today, I'm writing on the importance of having a Purpose in life.  When I refer to a Purpose, I'm not talking just about a goal, or an ambition, or a plan.   It's much more.  



The Japanese call it Ikigai (eek-y-guy), which means a "Reason for Being," or it is also defined as "the reason for which you wake up in the morning."  I like both of these definitions.  Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an Ikigai.  Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self.  Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one's Ikigai brings satisfaction and real meaning to life.  Further, people with a strong sense of purpose have boosted immune systems, lower stress hormones, and are better able to deal with the difficulties that life throws their way.  ( I can "get behind that!")










 We all have probably had a number of  "purposes" down through the years.  I would suggest that they were more correctly goals and ambitions.  If you were like me, I was too busy working, raising a family, and trying to stay ahead economically, to give much serious thought to my Purpose.  I had no idea what my "reason for being" looked like, and the "reason I woke up in the morning", was to do what I had been doing all the other mornings...commuting to work, doing my 9-5, being with my family, watching TV, putting kids to bed, and getting ready to do it all over again in the morning. (Sounds awful...but I'm engaging in hyperbole!" My life in general was fine.)

But I digress...back to a Purpose in Life.  Excuse my taking some personal literary license by writing about my Ikigai.  (Perhaps my experience will help those of you who are on this path to discover "your Purpose."  It helps me to write it down, and "chew" on it some more.)

It all started with my Midlife crisis back in 1980 or so.  My mother died, and only a few years later my father passed.  (Only the good die young).  My first marriage ended in divorce, I discovered Religious Science, and my only outlet seemed to be my running. (lot's of 10 K's, and a few marathons).  What a metaphor....running away from my past life!  
However,  after I met Paula... my wife and soul mate... we began to create a new life together.

That's when I first really starting thinking....what the hell is my purpose in this life?  
I have given it some serious thought, especially during the past 10 years.  Life had taught me some very important lessons.  Money wouldn't bring me happiness; I really didn't need a new car every 4 years;  Wearing Wranglers everyday was just fine;  Eating less food was good for me;  My relationships... with Paula, my family and my friends...were the most important part of my life; and the simple life was a better life... at least for me!  


At this point in my life, I've decided on my Purpose, which is always subject to Change. (Of course...)   While it is somewhat inexact, it still is meaningful to me.  I discovered this concept while reading a biography on Robert F. Kennedy...who is one of my political heroes. His quote:  "THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO CONTRIBUTE...IN SOME WAY...TO MAKING THINGS BETTER!"  
My intention is to contribute, and make "things" better.  I'm now in the process of coming up with the "some way!" (Which has become quite a challenge..but I'm actively working on it!)  What I like about this "Purpose"is its inherent flexibility in allowing me to create without limitations, within the positive context of "making things better!"  (I believe I can really get my head around this.)

So...you have heard about my plans...I hope to hear from many of you in the coming weeks.  All your comments are encouraged.
 



Let's start a conversation....