Tag Archives: Living

Life Transitions

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected
Robert Frost

We never really notice them, until we do.

We move through the early years of our lives almost seamlessly, understanding the changes that occur but viewing them as nothing more than another transition. Some are more dramatic than others, even life altering, at times. But we move on, knowing there is something up ahead, another phase in our lives. A transition from childhood to adulthood. For some it may include marriage and children. For others a career, a new business, a divorce, health issues, grandchildren, travel and even loss.

But while we’re young, or younger, there is always tomorrow. There is a confidence of tomorrow that is somewhat tempered as we age. We don’t live in fear because that type of life is not really living. We just understand the reality of life. I’m more aware of my mortality at 65 than I was at 35. That’s not morbid, it just is.

It’s the reality many people refuse to speak about. People think about it but can’t seem to verbalize their feelings. Even if they did, no one would want to hear it.

I was watching a baseball game the other day with my grandson and we were talking about this young player who is in his early 20’s. And it occurred to me that this player might have a career that lasts twenty years. It also occurred to me, though I hope to live a long healthy life, that I may not be around to see the end of his career. That’s not morbid, that a reality I never thought about before. I’ve watched sports my whole life and that single thought has never crossed my mind.

I’ve transitioned from from my youth to adulthood. I married, have raised a family and have been blessed to see my children begin their own families. I was fortunate to have a good career and I’m now retired. I’ve transitioned once again but I understand that what’s behind me is very different than what’s in front of me.

That being said, I know that I will never be any younger than I am today. In many ways, I am living the youth years of the rest of my life. I don’t know if that makes sense to everyone but it does to me. It has to. Because there is much more to see, much more to do. My mind understands the number and how many trips I’ve had around the sun but it continues to rage against the machine.

I don’t know where the next transition will take me, I only know my eyes are always open.

Just know that if I become famous in my still unknown second career, I will remember everyone who hits the like button on my posts.

 

 

 

 

The Things We Don’t Say

Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.
Mitch Albom

This is not an elephant in the room kind of thing where the problem we all acknowledge keeps getting pushed under the carpet. This is more about an unspoken hug. It’s about the things we don’t say because we don’t know if the person we care about wants to hear them or if the words are just inadequate.

It’s about love, and pain. It’s about hurt, and loss. It’s about moments that stay with us forever but never get acknowledged once we’ve moved past them.

It’s about remembering, and forgetting. It’s about understanding, and learning. It’s about wanting to put your arms around someone you care about and tell them you can’t begin to understand their hurt or loss but you think about them everyday. It’s about wanting to let them know that you see past the smile.

This is about learning to live with the kind of loss that is not openly discussed. It’s about what if, and never was. It’s about what you can’t get back, and what you can’t let go.

It’s about remembering.

It’s always about remembering.

So when I walked over and hugged you the other day for no apparent reason , it was my way of letting you know that I remember, too. That I wish things were different for you. For all of us. Because for as  long as the people who love you have breath, you’ll never be alone.

And if there comes a time when you feel that words might bring you a sense of comfort, I’ll know before you begin speaking.

And I’ll see you there.

 

When The Beast Wins, Children Lose

A ten-year old student in an ELA class at one of my schools was asked to provide an argument for something he felt strongly about. He chose a sports related topic. This is what he wrote, unedited.

Parents, teachers, coaches and kids! I call on you to change the policy that kids have to try out for sports. It’s wrong to not let kids join sports because it hurts their self-esteem, because it builds a nasty sense of competition and because all kids deserve to play if they want. 

Some pooh-pooh the idea that a kids self-esteem gets hurt but how do you think it makes us feel? I’ll tell you how it feels, it feels TERRIBLE. It feels lie everyone is staring at us , feeling sorry for us. It makes us wonder if we’ll ever be good enough. The truth is our school, coaches or parents don’t think we’re good enough to participate. They’re supposed to make you feel stronger or better, not destroy your self-esteem and confidence.

Not allowing other kids to join sports also makes kids competitive with each other. In one survey, 18 out of 20 kids said they would rather make the team than stay friends with each other. In an interview with a student who made the team, this article said, “I really don’t hang out with any of my friends now who didn’t make the team. They don’t have the shirt we have. I don’t know, I just don’t see them any more. You might think competition brings out the best in kids and maybe it does when they’re older but in elementary school it makes kids mean and lonely.”

The most important reason not to make cuts is that all kids deserve to play. For goodness sakes!!!! We’re nine and ten years old. Isn’t this the time we should be learning skills, getting stronger and having fun? A lot of people say it’s just sports, that’s how it is. But we’re not pro ball players. All of us deserve a chance to get better.

Change this policy, please. Give us the fast legs and strong bodies we deserve. Let us all be the athlete we want to be. 

Interesting discussion topic.

I have three daughters who played multiple sports through high school and I coached basketball and softball for quite a few years.

But it was a very different time in terms of youth sports. It was not all-consuming and I could probably write a short book on the strong feelings I have about children and the parents and coaches who affect their lives.

The immersion and consumption of time in sports today at a very early age has to be witnessed in order to be understood. I think the biggest fear for me is how it affects families and the time they spend together.

Or don’t.

It’s time that will never be returned to them and it passes so very quickly.

I understand that making cuts as it relates to some teams are the nature of sports and I think some kids learn from these disappointments, but some things this student said are pretty sad; specifically about the interaction between kids who make teams and those who don’t, and what competition brings out in children.
At younger ages, it should never be about the score. Who wins is irrelevant. How good you are at 8-9-10, is irrelevant. We’ve all seen stars at ten who burn out or fall behind others as they get older; stars at ten years old who never play a high school game. Coaches and parents lose sight of the fact that young children who choose to play sports should, as this child mentions, focus on basic skills and development, not winning and losing. Can both be accomplished? Of course. But all too often one takes control of the other. It’s the nature of the beast.

Most importantly, children at that age should be having fun. Sadly, and all too often, that simple goal is not part of a parent or coaches mindset.

Children should be allowed to be children and families should be allowed to enjoy those few precious years together.

Sports is a great outlet and competition is healthy as long as both are done intelligently and balanced properly.

I was going to conclude by saying that I hope this young man figures it out and finds sports to be a positive experience, but it’s really not his decision, is it?

So I hope the adults in his life figure it out and provide this child with a positive experience. Lord knows our children can use all the positive experiences they can get.

 

Unfortunately, it’s not always provided by those who have the opportunity to do so.

The Brick

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.

As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door. He slammed on his brakes and backed the jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry driver jumped out of the car, grabbed a young boy and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost you a lot of money. Why did you do it?

The young boy was apologetic. “Please mister…please! I’m sorry but i didn’t know what else to do,” he pleaded. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop.”

With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot between two parked cars. “Its my brother, ” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.”

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, “Would you please help me get him back into the wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.” Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

“Thank you so much,” the grateful child told the stranger, wiping away his tears.

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the young boy push his wheelchair bound brother down the sidewalk. It was a long slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable but the driver never repaired the dented side door. Instead, he kept the dent there to remind him of this simple lesson.

Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention. 

 

No F#@$ing Way!!!!

So my oldest daughter sent me this article recently which claims that those who have a tendency to use salty language were also the most honest people. My guess is she sent this because it was, a) interesting and, b) she is searching for redemption.

Now I don’t throw around that particularly distasteful four letter word loosely, though it has slipped out under my breath when I slammed a hammer down on my finger while poorly attempting some household project I should have left to professionals. Quite honestly, I don’t like the word and think it’s used gratuitously in too many areas of life. Its a word that usually makes me cringe.
That being said, I do curse on occasion. I think most people do. Not F-bomb cursing, of course, but the usual stuff that generates emotion or gets your point across.

This study, done by scientists at the University of Cambridge surveyed 276 people about their most commonly used swear words and how often the say or write them. Then they measured the participants honesty  with questions about blaming others, cheating at games and taking advantage of people.
The study claims that while some may view swearing/cursing as negative social behavior, those same people are not filtering their language, so they are probably not fabricating stories which may result in untruths.
Essentially, if you’re willing to drop a few F-bombs, you’re probably not worried about making yourself look good in front of others.

A larger study of 74, 000 people on Facebook came up with the same results. Researchers found that people who try to keep it clean also try to look cooler online, which involved fudging the truth. That same practice of dishonesty would eventually carry over to their personal/professional lives.

While I initially dismissed my daughter’s attempt at halo polishing, the more I thought about this, the more validity it had for me. I initially told her that a person can be honest and still not curse. Then I started thinking about the people I knew, both past and present, and began compartmentalizing them. Friends, business associates, family, clergy, etc.
I even remembered a saintly aunt I had growing up, and I know she cursed, even if it was in Italian.

I began to realize, as I went through my list, that I don’t really trust the people I never heard curse. Now I understand why. If this study is correct and those who don’t curse are not honest, it stands to reason that I wouldn’t trust, or even like, them.

So there you have it. If you ever want to be taken seriously by people or have them take you into their confidence, you’d better sprinkle a little salt on your vocab. If not, you’ll find your friends becoming fewer, your professional life becoming stagnant and your family largely choosing to ignore you. Because the truth is, people who throw in a few little colorful words now and then are more fun, tell interesting stories, are better children to their parents and better parents to their children. Hell, I exchanged off-color jokes with my parents from the time I was a kid. I can still see my mother laughing as I told her another one.

Of course the seriously rigid, can always hang out with other tight ass non-cursers.

Imagine how much f@#%&ing fun that dysfunctional group will that be?

images

 

What You Don’t Know

You know my name,
not my story.
You see my smile,
not my pain.
You notice my cuts,
not my scars.
You can read my lips,
not my mind.
Unknown

About a year and a half ago, shortly after my grandson was diagnosed with lymphoma, (he’s fine now, thank God), my daughter and I were in a store picking up some things she needed. We looked like everyone else in the store, going about our business as if everything was normal. People who may have noticed or spoken to us could not possibly know what our lives were like at that time. The uncertainty, the shock, the pain. The feeling of wanting to breathe but not remembering how. To everyone else, we looked like everyone else.

Everyday, we sit next to cars at traffic lights, not knowing if those people are on their way to work, or a doctor’s office for test results. Not knowing if they’re going to visit a dying relative or attend a wake. We speak with people who work at their jobs, especially in the service field, and wonder why they’re not very friendly. Co-workers may be having a personal crisis they choose not to share and be withdrawn or distant. Some may become argumentative or angry.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all have moments in our lives when life just doesn’t seem fair. We struggle to get out of bed sometimes and face what’s in front of us. We hope people are kind that day, even if they don’t know or understand our pain.

Kindness and understanding are the best hugs you can give someone.

We’ll all need a little of both at some point in our lives. If we understand that simple fact, then why not return the favor or set the example for others. Give that person who may not be in the best mood the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume the worst of people without understanding the reason for their behavior.

Kindness and understanding.

It’s really not that hard.

The Paperclip

One of my daughters saw this short video on Facebook and sent it to me.
During this season of line pushing Black Friday’s and hectic Cyber Monday’s, a little three year old girl reminds us that not everything comes with big price tags or in large packages. Most times it’s the smallest things throughout the year that matter most; a hug, a visit, a letter.

A paperclip.