Tag Archives: Thoughts

Living With Dreams

 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” 
James 4:14

Thirty-nine years ago today my father passed away suddenly, less than a day after we buried my thirty-two year old brother-in-law who died of cancer. When you spend a week and half sitting in a funeral home making final arrangements for two people of your immediate family, life has a way of changing you. Not immediately, and sometimes not even in ways you can understand or explain. But it does change you.

It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by and even more difficult to think about everything they missed and everything we missed sharing with them. We lost a part of our future and past in a matter of days. I don’t know if we ever really recover from loss or just throw a blanket over it to allow us to function each day. We carry on, we laugh, we welcome new family members, we enjoy life because there is no other choice. We live for the living and for ourselves. Still, there’s always a hole, always moment in days where we stop and maybe smile at a memory or what they might have done or said about a family situation. Or the way life has changed so much over the years.

Here’s the strange part of the story…

A couple of weeks before my Dad died, I had a dream. In my dream, I saw him in a coffin at the funeral home, exactly as he appeared after he passed away.
Ten years earlier, my grandfather, (my father’s father), died unexpectedly. A couple of weeks before he died, I had a dream. In that dream, I saw him as he appeared in the coffin. My grandfather lived in Brooklyn so I had never been to that funeral parlor. And yet, when I walked in, everything was as I had seen it. In detail. I remember it very clearly.

A couple of days after my father was buried, I told my mother about both dreams. For obvious reasons, I had never told anyone about them before. She wanted to know why I didn’t tell her. She wondered if there might have been something we could have done if she had known. But as soon as she said the words, she understood.

You can’t alter your life chasing those types of dreams, just like you can’t alter your life chasing what might have been. There’s no time for that, no secret recipe for the secrets of life.

So hold the ones you love close. Those that are here and those who are not. And if the ones who are here don’t understand, hold them closer.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up With Language

I’m not sure if you plan to watch the Grammy’s tonight. After never missing them for years, I’ve only stopped in the last couple of years. It’s become a little bizarre for me and I hate to admit it but I don’t recognize many of the performers, plus much of the music sounds the same. I know that makes me sound old and I can hear the voice of my parents when I write these words but it is what it is.

Anyway, if anyone decides to watch it, I thought I’d provide a list of slang words kids are using these days along with their meaning. Sort of a cheat sheet for those of us in the out of touch crowd. It might help you enjoy the show a little more. Or not. (Apparently the days of OMG and LOL are long gone). Even if you don’t watch the show, it’s something you might use to impress your kids or grandkids, though you ‘ll probably embarrass them when you use the words. You know how that goes.

Anyway, here we go….

Bad

Bad means good, actually better than good. It’s often a reference to someones appearance.

Bet

Bet is used when you’re in agreement with something. If someone makes plans and you say “bet” that means you’re confirming said plan. Apparently the days of a simple ok isn’t clear enough.

Don’t Trip 

It simply means not to worry or stress about something. Easy one, right?

Fam

No, not your family, but close. It’s used to describe people in your life who you’re close with, good friends or homies, but not your family.

Flewed

You hear this when someone is bragging about getting “flewed out.” It means someone “bad” got flown out to a place. The difference between flown and flewed is that the latter applies to “bad” (really attractive) people. (See how we’re bundling this up?)

Get A Bag

A bag refers to money, so to get a bag means you’re acquiring money. ( I wonder where that phrase developed its origin). Must have missed that Breaking Bad episode.

No Cap

Basically it means no lie. When someone adds “no cap” to a sentence it means they’re not lying. Conversely, “cappin means lying. So when someone says, “why you cappin,” they’re asking why someone is lying.

OKurr

This is a word made popular by Cardi B, and if you don’t know who she is, it’s probably best if you don’t watch the Grammy’s. It basically means that someone is being put in their place.

Out Of Pocket

To be out-of-pocket or to say something out-of-pocket means that something is disorderly. If you say something “out-of-pocket,’ it means your comment was out of control.

Shade

You probably have heard this one. To throw shade at someone means to make an underhanded or critical remark about someone else.

Sis

Sis can be used in multiple ways. If someone asks you what happened and you respond with “sis,” it means a whole lot of drama went sown and there’s a whole lot more to the story. However, it can also be used as a term of endearment toward a friend. I guess it’s all a matter of context.

Stan

Stan is not just a fan, but a super obsessed fan.

Tea

There are multiple ways you can have your tea. You can sip it or spill it. If you’re “sipping your tea,” it means you’re minding your own business, basically side-eyeing the situation but keeping it moving. If you’re “spilling your tea,” or “having tea,” that means you have some gossip you’re ready to share.

Thirsty

Yeah, no it doesn’t mean that. Thirsty is used to describe desperation.

Weak

When someone thinks something is funny, hilarious or entertaining, they might say, “I’m weak.”

Woke

Being “woke” means to be socially conscious and aware of social injustice.

So I was going to try to be creative and combine a few of these words into sentence but apparently that’s not something one should do. Apparently too much of a good thing is not a good thing according to the users of these creative words.

So since I’m a bit thirsty and it’s cold outside I’ll just go sip some tea.

Then again, saying something like that to the wrong person might get me in big trouble. Maybe I’ll just take a nap instead. I hope that doesn’t have a sinister meaning.

Enjoy the show. You’re welcome.

Scattering Love

                   It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you’ve lived.
Helen Walton

I was thinking about my childhood the other day and trying to remember how far back my memories went. I settled on somewhere between four and five years old but there were only a handful that were clear to me. That bothered me, especially when I took what was then and applied it to now.

Making memories with the people you love or care about is one of life’s greatest gifts. Some of the times we’ve laughed most were with our children and grandchildren, especially during their early years, when everything is on the table, learning is a daily adventure, innocent words  are a sound byte and your sense of wonder sometimes equals theirs. Those are memories that we’ll keep with us forever. Unfortunately, it’s all one-sided. Because in those early years it’s not anything they’ll remember. Influenced, yes. But all the things that were said or laughed about until there were tears in our eyes will not be a definitive memory for them.

That shouldn’t bother me because it’s just another cycle of life, but it does. I remember things that we did with our children and now our grandchildren that were special moments, and though we can relay the stories, it’s not the same as being there in our mutual minds. I sit and have conversations now with our grandchildren, play games, tell stories, laugh at the silliest things, hold them if they cry and sit back and wonder if they’ll remember any of it.

I’ve always understood this but I suppose as I’ve gotten older, Helen Walton’s quote has taken on a different meaning. You want those you love to remember every last laugh and cuddle and hand holding because you know that time of innocence, like life, is so short. Eight or nine comes too quick and soon they’re moving on. Parents will always be more invested in the lives of their children/grandchildren than the other way around. That’s just the way it is. It’s not a matter of loving or caring, it’s just the emotional investment that begins long before they open their eyes and never goes away.

So selfishly you want them to remember it all. Every amazing moment. Big and small. Hoping that you’ve scattered enough love and joy into their lives that one day they may laugh at something silly for no reason at all. You may not know it or even be there. But if it brought them happiness, then maybe something in their two year old lives stuck, and you’ve scattered enough.

And maybe, just maybe, the shade of a memory will not only be yours.

 

On Loneliness

I’ve always associated loneliness with people who don’t have anyone. Older people. Those whose spouse has died or who live alone without any real friends or family for support. That can be a difficult and depressing way to get through each day.

But I read an article recently which surprised me a bit. It said that loneliness peaks at three key ages in our lives. According to their research, people reported feeling moderate to severe loneliness in the late 20’s, mid 50’s and late 80’s. The 80’s didn’t surprise me but the other two age groups did to varying degrees.
The article explained that loneliness doesn’t mean being alone, nor does it mean not having friends. Loneliness is defined as “subjective distress, ” or the discrepancy between the social relationships you want and the social relationships you have.

I never thought of loneliness that way.

Apparently, people in the late 20’s feel a sense of stress or guilt about their life paths and how it measures up against their peers. This added stress increases feelings of loneliness or isolation.
People in their mid-50’s sometimes go through a mid-life crisis. Health sometimes becomes an issue, friends may have died and you realize that your life span is not forever.
The 80’s is where I always felt loneliness manifests itself more. Sometimes the older you get the more alone or detached you become and it never seems to get any better.

There were two other things about the report that surprised me. The first is that the reduced life span linked to loneliness, is similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The other is that there is an inverse association between loneliness and wisdom. People who have high levels of wisdom don’t feel lonely and vice versa. Wisdom should not be confused with intelligence. More times than not, they are mutually exclusive.

I don’t know if it’s always been this way or if it’s a reflection of todays society, but while we all know people who we believe are lonely, there are many more who are having difficulty dealing with life. People we see each day.

The holidays are a happy time of year for many of us. We get together with family and friends to celebrate love and share our lives in a meaningful way. But there are many who will be alone, either physically or emotionally. If we can help one person this holiday season with a phone call or visit, maybe that will extend into the new year and beyond. Then maybe another.

For all in life that is beyond our control, this is something we can affect. One hand at a time.

I pray you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and healthy New Year.

 

Saying Goodbye To 41 And A Generation

It may be historically premature to judge the greatness of a whole generation, but indisputably, there are common traits that cannot be denied. It is a generation that, by and large, made no demands of homage from those who followed and prospered economically, politically, and culturally because of its sacrifices. It is a generation of towering achievement and modest demeanor, a legacy of their formative years when they were participants in and witness to sacrifices of the highest order. They know how many of the best of their generation didn’t make it to their early twenties, how many brilliant scientists, teachers, spiritual and business leaders, politicians and artists were lost in the ravages of the greatest war the world has seen.
Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation.

This is not about politics. History will determine the legacy of George H W Bush. The truth is, being President of this great country comes with the understanding that you will never please everyone. You will always have your critics. You will never walk away unscathed. There will be people who detest you for reasons they can’t possibly understand. You will make decisions that may infuriate half the country. You will be loved and fiercely hated.
The truth is, very few people know what it’s like to hold that office. The journalists, correspondents, senators, congressmen; none of them really know what it’s like. It’s a world with great power and even greater isolation.

But that’s the political side. You choose your color and walk the path your beliefs take you.

As I watched the things that were said about President Bush these last few days, I was struck by how different our landscape has changed in the last 25 years. Politics has always been a dirty game but the last 25 years has seen it taken to new levels. It has become more about “ME” than what’s best for our country, and it extends well beyond the last two years.

President Bush came from a different time. He’s the last President we had that didn’t require on the job training. His resume spoke for itself. But more than that, he came from a time when people did whatever they had to do for their country, and asked for nothing in return. He came from a time when integrity and loyalty mattered. Like all of us, he wasn’t perfect, but he gave us something we haven’t seen since he left office; a connection to our history and all the things that make this country great.

We’ve moved away from some of the qualities this office should possess.

The generation of President Bush, of my parents, of those who gave so much, is quickly coming an end. There was a time when integrity, loyalty, decency, sacrifice, patriotism, humility and kindness all meant something. We’ve lost that over the last 25 years and I’m afraid it won’t be seen again.

We buried much more than a former president today. We buried the best part of our past. A generation of selfless dignity that won’t be seen again.

 

Why?

I just changed the time on sixteen clocks in our home. That doesn’t include those things like cable boxes that change automatically. The obvious question is why, in this digital age, do I have sixteen clocks to change but I already know the answer to that. I wasn’t born in a digital age and some of these pieces have some significance. Of course, some don’t, but that’s my problem..

However, the bigger question for me, is why do I have to do this? Why can’t we just agree on one set time, high-five each other and go along with our lives. Why do we go through this minutia twice a year? Why? Somehow, I think politics is involved, But then, I  think politics is involved in everything these days. I’ve become paranoid.

Next election, I’m going to vote for anyone who believes this whole spring ahead/fall back thing should be abolished and includes it on their platform. The six thousand mailers, four thousand emails and 4500 phones calls, I’ve received in the last three weeks have driven me to the breaking point. Thank God DVR’s were invented or I’d have to sit through who knows how many commercials.

So if anybody out there is listening. My vote is available.