||Retirement Editor's Welcome: May 1st-23rd, 2013
Nothin' Left to Do But Smile, Smile, Smile
By Greg Phillips, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
Once again it is the time of year for us Alaskans to celebrate the end of another long dark and cold winter, and to lavish in the lengthening hours of daylight, currently around 16 hours, and the fortune of sunshine! Last summer was a wet, dreary somewhat downer of a time for most of us. It seemed as if the winter past had drug itself into the summer and several months later we were still dragging on with the next winter. Like on long winter that never seemed to end! However, we have had more sun in the past month and a half, than the past year combined, so… woo-hoo! While most of the country is baking, raining or ‘springing’ away, we still have night time temps dipping into the late teens and early 20’s …and the snow still hanging around… not melting fast enough for those of us eager to get on with the outdoors!
It was a long winter with some pretty interesting hardships, disappointments, a few really sad events and some exciting ones as well. All in all this winter weighed heavy on me. I found little to no time to do any of the things I like to do for self fulfillment, and although blessed with the fortune of plenty of work, basically did nothing but work! Along with work, the long hours and days of plowing snow, what typically is enjoying for me, actually found me tired and lacking the motivation to…push on…pardon the pun. Many have told me I’m experiencing burnout. Go figure.
But the summer promises some potential for fun… Salmon fishing on the river til 2:00AM, a halibut trip or two out into the bay, surely will find me some peace. Along with our projects here at home, I am praying for some sense of accomplishment! Why, after looking at stacked boxes of laminate flooring under the counter top and living on plywood for the past two years, I actually made the time this past weekend to install them! Huh…me, doing my own project for a change… But let me tell you, I am hoping it is the beginning of a summer time trend. Getting my own stuff done!
To boot, both our kids are buying their first houses locally, at 22 years old, with the promise of their growing career paths in front of them! Talk about proud! Ironically they both close on their homes this week and the other next week. Excited and proud of their accomplishments, the home improvement and honey-do lists are already being put together for handyman dad. And for handyman husband too! And the battle of whose home of the three will get the most attention from…handyman dad/husband! I’m kind of getting exhausted just thinking of it! Yikes!!
The hope is that I will be able to find some balance. Summer does things to people here. You really don’t want to sleep much with all of the daylight. It is common for people here to be working their gardens, firewood, or other outdoor projects into midnight and later. And, it is common to have to mow the grass two to three times a week as well. You can literally sit and watch it grow! Cool thing is you only have to mow for a few months before the cooler temps come and eventually the ground begins to freeze.
That’s my story! What’s yours? Everyone depending on their location in this great United States of ours, experiences some kind of shift from winter into summer. I bet people in Arizona can talk about going form hot…to hotter! In any event, here’s to all of us that stomached winter with the promise to live for the summer! It ought to be interesting, at least for me, to see how it all pans out!
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: April 1st-23rd, 2013
By Greg Phillips, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
Lately, I’ve been doing some looking back. Being an empty nester now for about 4 years, I have experienced many different emotions on this subject, through this period. Overall, the mere fact that we are free to run amuck, naked if we so desire, and not worry about having to behave is so grand…still…even after 4 years! All the way down to the refurbished former bedroom of our son. It is now a den/music room. A room of good chi, and a place that is 100% ours, pet free, clutter free, to do and feel as we like, be it listen to or make music, or just sit an have deep meaningful talks and relax.
Above all, and eye opening reality to our son, is the mere success at our ability to survive without him at home! There was a time in the beginning we both believe….oh hell, we knew for a fact, that he honestly thought we would be unable to do the chores around the compound, and really be able to survive on our own without him around. He convinced himself that he did everything around here. Really?! Sitting back and watching his own personal progressions and achievements has made us proud of him and given us both the feeling of accomplishment in the way we raised him. Especially at making him “do everything around here”…chores. A simple concept.
Looking back, I have no regrets really. We provided well for him. Taught him all we knew about morals, respect, accountability and responsibility. Most of all we spent time doing things as a family, taking him on trips, and keeping ourselves, as a couple, in check to be able to be there both as sound minded and supportive parents. Too many times anymore, I see and listen to younger couples we know, and how they comment on wishing their kids were grown up and out of the house. How they drive them crazy… They seem too busy to take interest in their kids and it is so much easier to let Facebook and gaming baby sit and raise them.
I have a friend a couple weeks back, who’s wife made him, by executive order, take a couple hours out of his work day to go to their kindergarteners’ parent/teacher ‘roundup’. He was just so upset and did nothing but whine that he had to take time in the middle of his day to take interest in his boys’ schooling. It was unbelievable to me, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity to impart some wisdom from personal experience and perspective, on how he really needs to look at it as spending quality time with his family, and be involved while he still can. Some of those times for me were the best! It all goes by too fast and one day he will wish he had taken the time if he fails to take it now.
Looking back, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have changed too much. The best part of it all is, lately, hearing little comments by our son on how he understands “why we did things the way we did”. Or, how he “really appreciates how we were sometimes hard on him or made him challenge himself”. He see’s how other kids he grew up with don’t have the benefits of responsibility and common sense because their parents did little parenting and were more of friends to their kids. These and other little affirmations that we did ok as parents, are so self satisfying. Just the open channels of communication that were developed throughout his childhood into adolescence and still to this day remain in place, is a testimony to success!
Yes, looking back, it was all worth it. Why is it now that I am taking more of a retrospective look at it all? Who knows! Just a period in my life I suppose. Maybe a step of my own personal growth as my role of supporting parent morphs into a new form. But I guess the only thing I can say about it is that at least I am not agonizing on not spending ‘more time’ with him and my wife as a family, or ‘not doing all the things I wish I had done‘. Because I did, man! And I’m pretty stoked at it all and what a wonderful, responsible and good hearted man he has become. And the fact that he aimed his sights on achieving his independence and working his goals. It made way for his own personal successes, now, so early in his life. And, the ability for us to…run around naked!! Woohoo!
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: March 24th-31st, 2013
By Suzanne Vosbikian, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
Being retired comes with a lot of benefits, but the one I love most is that my wardrobe has been reduced to a few basic items - shorts, tee shirts, jeans, and sandals. Most of my shorts are navy, black or beige while my tee shirts are white, navy, ivory, and black. Having a "uniform" of sorts makes it easy to get dressed in the morning and I tend to wear the same five or six outfits over and over until they wear out, then I replace them with like items. Most of what I wear on a regular basis fits onto two shelves and a short hanging space in my closet.
I have a few tennis clothes, golf clothes and exercise clothes that correspond to those respective retirement activities. And, I have a few "dress up" clothes. That category is the least important to me these days because we rarely go anywhere that requires formal attire. Most invitations we receive state "smart casual" as the dress code. In Florida that means a pair of black slacks and a nice blouse accessorized with tropical jewelry and sandals with a slight heal for me and a Tommy Bahama shirt with black chinos and loafers for my husband.
Several months ago we booked a thirty-five day cruise of the South Pacific as an anniversary gift to us. We have cruised many times before, but never for this duration so packing is particularly challenging given my current "retiree" wardrobe. Most of us have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear, (as the saying goes) so I thought I'd start there and see what would turn up. For the next two hours I played dress up/fashion show in my closet, sorting items into piles labeled YES, NO and WHAT WERE YOU THINKING.
What I discovered was that I have double the number of pieces needed for those TEN FORMAL NIGHTS (seriously) and enough of what I will need for daytime wear. My tenth grade Home Economics teacher would be so proud of me. She always told us to buy quality over quantity - "one really good black dress will serve you better than three inexpensive, trendy ones". Being consistent with color choices helps a lot too. All those black, beige and navy shorts will look just fine with the stack of white tees that I unearthed from the depths of things forgotten .
Everything I found in my closet will pack neatly into one medium suitcase and one carry-on bag. Packing basic colors makes it easy to coordinate separates and eliminate unnecessary items (ladies, think shoes).
Since flights and the cruise already costs a small fortune I am happy to contribute to the bottom line by eliminating additional clothing expense. I may have to splurge for laundry service at least once, but at $20 per bag I think it will be worth it.
An added bonus from this exercise was that I thoroughly cleared my cluttered closet, filled three bags that will be donated, and can now re-organize everything when I return. Of course I will continue to wear the same five or six outfits, but oh well.
What about you, has retirement altered your clothing choices or budget? And don't forget to check out this month's Retirement and Empty Nest essay contest.
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: March 1st-23rd, 2013
The Bookmarks of Hope
By Greg Phillips, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
Some years ago, in the fall of 2006 to be exact, I read a story that absolutely grabbed me. I can’t describe the feeling of being ‘grabbed’ by something you read about, but I can tell you that my reaction was immediate and of heartfelt urgency. A young girl, 12 at the time, was going through chemo treatment for leukemia at Children’s Hospital in the lower 48, a great distance from her home, familiar surroundings and the friends she knew. Thousands of lonely and scary miles from her life in Alaska.
Now, the unique thing is that we weren’t even living in Alaska at this point. We were actually in the process of relocating there, from our cabin high in the Sierra-Nevada mountains of California. Part of this process for us, was that we received the local paper 3 times a week, from the small community we were moving to. I remember that upon reading her story, two things went through my mind. First, was that our son was turning 16 that month and the thought of, “oh my God this could be my child” was very present. Memory serves me correct, that the other, was the heart melting smile of hers from her picture in the paper, and knowing that this had to be one of the most daunting and indescribable moments such a young person should never have to endure.
As I read on, there were two people in her community that were named. A friend of the family trying to drum up community support, and another, a local community figure that was donating proceeds from book sales at his book store, to a fund set up for her at the local branch of Wells Fargo. I was inspired by the outreach of support, and instantly knew I wanted to do something. My first thought: Donate cash to the fund set up at the bank. My second thought: We’re about to undergo the sale of one home while simultaneously purchasing a home in Alaska. Move across 2 states, another country and an ocean to get there, and starting at $0.00 income when we land. “Cripes, man!” “We can’t afford sending cash“…just wasn’t an option. This is when another more resourceful thought came to mind.
Being an artist, a potter, dabbling in gemstones and native American beading with seed beads, I decided to contact the bookstore owner, and convince him in letting me donate and send a dozen or so beaded gemstone bookmarks to him, with the sales of such going directly to her Wells Fargo fund. Original thought was some of my pottery, but shipping costs made that idea obscenely difficult. Besides… bookmarks in a bookstore…a no brainer! Coincidentally, I was making and selling these unique bookmarks in local shops in the mountains where we were and they seemed to sell like hotcakes. Thankfully, he agreed, and I went to work for the next few nights, intricately spinning out bookmarks. After they were sent off, I decided to make one especially for her personally. Just a little something to let her know there were people praying for her and hopefully bring her some comfort. Boxed with a hand painted water color ‘get well’ card my wife had made for her, I got the room number and address to the hospital she was in and sent our small care package, with the hopes it would bring a little brightness into her world!
I never really knew for sure if she even got our package. But 2 weeks later, I did get an email that the bookstore had auctioned off a couple of my bookmarks, at a fundraising dinner being held for her, for $200, to be put directly into her fund. The rest of the bookmarks eventually sold in the bookstore…sales going into her fund. My urgent act of goodness succeeded! And I would never to this day forget that mission of support, or that smile of hers.
Months later, we relocated …feet on the ground and running, we went to work reconstructing our lives in a new land. Through the coming years we would make friends, establish ties and rebuild new lives for ourselves. From time to time throughout the years, this girl would go through my mind…I never forgot her name or what it stood for to me. It pains me to say this, but I wondered if she had even survived that horrible ordeal. Thinking back on it now, maybe that was the reason I never tried to find out. I was afraid to know.
Two weeks ago, one night while sitting on the couch watching TV with my wife, this girl crossed my mind, yet once again. For some reason on this night, it dawned on me that a girl who had worked for my wife this past summer, whom we both still had contact with, goes to the same high school that she would have gone to and was what I figured from memory, close to the same age. I almost didn’t send the text…not sure if I wanted to know or just leave well enough alone. But I did, and so came back the text of shock.
The next night, almost completely unbelievable to me, not only that it was happening so fast much less it was just happening at all…I had the privilege of actually speaking on the phone to Ericka, the girl whose smile melted my heart, whose story touched me so many years ago. The girl that so courageously beat that which tried to bring her down! She is a survivor!
I can’t adequately describe the warm fuzzies that went through me to actually hear her voice! What I had done back in 2006 was selfless act. Never did I think nor expect that I would one day actually be so happy to hear someone’s voice! We arranged to meet each other, ironically…of all days, on Valentines Day. My wife and I had an absolute wonderful evening with her that night. I being the fortunate one. First time in my life I had two beautiful young ladies for a Valentines date…at the same time! It indeed was a very special evening! One thing that I brought home that night, is that I feel as if a circle was made complete, and that a friendship was born.
This fall, she will start her first year of pre-med schooling to become an Oncologist. We were so impressed to hear of her career path and goals! Most especially when one considers the relevance of such a choice! We are proud of her and the decisions she has made for her life, and her motivation to see through her goals. To know she is very much healthy, successful, and enjoying her life is priceless! To be a small and simple part of it, is an honor.
And, turns out, she did in fact get our gift while she was in the hospital and still uses that bookmark I made for her, even today. She mentioned that she remembers how unbelievable it was to her that a couple from California that didn’t even know her, would do such a kind thing for a complete stranger! Well, Ericka, I guess my response is simply this: Maybe there never really are ‘strangers’ in our lives in our times of need. Only caring people...a gift...that God has brought to us. Having had this experience is a blessing to me. One that I am very thankful for and will hold close forever! <3 ;-)
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: January 24th-31st, 2013
Paint Your Own Sky
By Suzanne Vosbikian, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
I recall a quote from long ago by a forgotten author who stated, "don't let anyone else define your world, they will make it too small." That is sort of the way I feel about retirement. The standard formula for retirement in my area of the country is to buy a house in a gated community and be surrounded by other retired people, play golf three times a week and attend social gatherings within the community. This is protocol from October through April when everyone will head up north to escape the hot and humid summer months. Rinse, repeat.
Not having a blueprint to follow for retirement, we tried the predictable route for a while and finally realized that we were letting someone else define our world. And, indeed it had become too small.
After making a "not so graceful" exit from what we considered to be chains by that point, we began to really think about who we are and what makes us happy both separately and as a couple. We came up with a solid list of things that separate us from the "one size fits all" retiree.
Curiosity - our natural curiosity broadened to areas that we now have time to pursue.
Passion - we wake up excited and enthusiastic about our life choices every day.
Confidence - we are confident with our abilities and we welcome new experiences.
When we broke the mold and started living retirement life from our own definition everything changed. Life "outside the gates" is an interesting place. Within the first year we made new friends, got involved in several volunteer organizations and added biking, walking, weight lifting and dance classes to our exercise routine. We started traveling more and found great discount web sites for show tickets, restaurant coupons and hotels. We found free or almost free community concerts and art shows, made regular visits to our local farmer's market and spent more time beach-combing. At home we completed woodworking and other home improvement projects and we rekindled our love of cooking together as we prepared everything from simple meals to elegant six course dinners. We began to clear clutter and excess from our living spaces. We connected with other active retirees via the Blogosphere and on-line writing groups such as Stage of Life. We joined a community garden project to learn to grow organic vegetables and attended cooking classes that promote healthy eating. On the more adventurous side, I went skydiving and zip lining with our daughter and I have plans to take scuba diving lessons in the near future in preparation for a cruise to the South Pacific. Rarely have we declined to try anything out of our comfort zone.
We have lived this somewhat free-form and very satisfying lifestyle for the past five years and are now ready for a new adventure. It will be fun to see where the tide takes us next.
Our brand of retirement won't suit everyone, and it shouldn't. Just like realizing that restricting our time to playing golf was not right for us long term, you will sort through options until you find what makes you happiest. Health issues, finances and changing interests will likely dictate many of your decisions. The tricky part is in realizing when to make changes. Not one of us want to wake up ten years from now and feel that we have not fulfilled our dreams of retirement. If the time feels right, then it must be.
Life is good- smile at the future.
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: January 1st-23rd, 2013
By Greg Phillips, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
Much like Wile E Coyote, I like many other Americans this morning are waiting to hear that long drawn out whistle that fades into the open void of some canyon, followed by a ‘poof’ of dust. Yes, when most of us read this on Wednesday, we will either all have made like lemurs and run off ‘the cliff‘, or barely been saved by the courageous and gallant actions of our leaders, who have somehow gotten us to this point in the first place. Have you ever stopped to think of just how many cliffs we are facing these days?
2013 will hold hope for most of us. Hope for a ‘better’ year. As many of us look back on 2012, or at least for those of you who do, you will relive the triumphs, be thankful you are washing away the failures. Something about a fresh breath, new start and a new year.
For many Americans, this past year has created a void in their lives that will almost certainly be in their souls forever. While Newtown was tragic, we must remember also those who have suffered on a smaller scale. Those that the mainstream media will never tell you about, or if they do will surely be over-ridden by another headline and gone in a day or two.
There was the little boy who was killed in a car turnover on a local isolated back road last year. He may have lived if his mother had put him in his seat belt. One of the first responders to that scene, our #2 kid, went through some suffering of her own that day. My prayers go out to that family and all involved, as we transition into the new year. What about the many kids killed everyday by drunk drivers? Have we all become so accustomed to this type of tragedy that we give little thought to it, or it is no longer really a type of story to report on?
Tragedy isn’t something that is left solely to our young ones. A story which shocked me last week, that many probably have not heard of are the two first responders in New York, who arrived on scene and were killed by the man who had made the emergency call, as they entered the home. This struck a nerve with me personally. One of them had only been with the fire department for two years, and was also a 911 dispatcher. This was a little too much like home for me.
Let us not forget the thousands of young men and women which have given their lives in the name of our freedoms, preservation of our constitutional rights which it seems these days have become more of targets at a political shooting gallery. This type of loss is one that I will have melted into my soul forever. Maybe one that just makes each year fold into the other for me, because he is gone. And oddly, I always felt that he had been here on this earth before…he was wise beyond his young life. He like many others believed in the freedoms so many Americans, today, are taking for granted and pissing away.
Whatever this new year has in store for you, take time to remember. In our fast paced, real time society it is so easy to forget. Our incredible Editor, Suzanne, had made a list of things in her lest piece that she was going to be more aware to do in the name of making a difference, this coming year. Many people I have spoken with this past year have all stated the same thing; that this has been a hard year levied with many things we would all like to forget. So it makes sense to try and push the goodness we have to those around us!
To those who use the suffering of another to push their already existing agendas, “shame on you”!
What we all need in this country today is a good dose of love, togetherness and more of the old family values that many of us on this stage grew up with. To those fore mentioned tragedies and the many others all around us we must all somehow work towards unity and the kind of change that will make a difference in the longer run. ‘Feel good’ speeches sugar coat the bitterness of the day, but they wont make it go away. Now is the time to remember your neighbor, your friends and to be there in ways you may have never been before. These types of thoughts and actions will be a good start to a change that will hopefully evolve with every new year.
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: December 24th-31st, 2012
Share the Joy
By Suzanne Vosbikian, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
Christmastime is a reflective time of year for me and especially so this year with the most recent tragedy in America vividly reminding us that there are many people in the world who need our love, support, encouragement and acceptance. Most of us don't have to look very far to see or know someone who falls into the category of "hurting." Physical needs are easily met with a donation of food, clothing and of course toys, while emotional needs are much more complicated. Even though we may feel inadequate to address the ills of society we can still make a difference every day. You never know when the small kindness you show will change someone's path. This season I pledge to:
Smile at everyone as I walk through a crowded mall
Let someone else take a coveted parking space in front of me
Drop some change or even a bill or two in an obvious place for someone to find
Open a door or carry a bag for someone
Visit an elderly neighbor
Be kind to a store clerk or busy postal worker
Say please and thank you more often
Call or send an encouraging note to a friend who has been hurting
Seek out those who feel lonely or isolated and show a simple kindness
Set my own selfish needs on the shelf for a while
Be patient, slow to anger and quick to forgive
Love others as I desire to be loved
Tis' the season of peace, love, and joy and those gifts are within all of us to share. How will you share the JOY of the season?
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: December 1st-23rd, 2012
By Greg Phillips, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
With life here on the home front in a state of well being, and so many of us asking, “why”? I decided to choose a rather fitting topic, for my last Editors piece for 2012. I have opinions, most of which I’m sure are shared by many... so I won’t say them. Don’t feel I need to! However, finding myself getting asked a question in a conversation topic that seems to come up often the past few weeks, I find myself growing a little irritated.
Many of us reading this stage, of life, were raised on the notion that there is no free ride. You work hard to achieve your goals and you are accountable for your actions. Your success is measured by what you put into it. These are qualities my wife and I have lived by and passed on to our son. He is doing well, basing his young life on these principles! Now, lately, this all seems to be an arguable topic. Supposedly, half the country still agrees with this and the other half wants to indulge in their ‘free’ ride. First off, the ‘half’ notion doesn’t tread water with me. The winner was named before my states’ polls even closed. General consensus doesn’t constitute “half”! A screwed up ‘college’ system does.
There is no doubt that times have changed. And, there is no arguing that “times have changed” long before now throughout the course of history. But to suggest to me that the ‘in’ thing is to just quite working and collect some kind of entitlement is not only absurd, but complete ignorance. First of all, in my world, the day I tried this notion would be the day it would all go away and I would be out on my nose kicking the curb for even thinking so! But beyond that, it just is not even considered a thought to me. I may be young by some standards, but I am old enough to not only know right from “wrong”! But to know how this great country was built, enough so, to get us to the point that someone could even be free enough to consider much less attempt to entertain such a haunting thought!
It is so easy to get swept up in the rhetoric flying so loosely everywhere you turn these days. While some conversations and suspicions could easily have merit to them, some are based on fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, and, we cant forget that of the selfish needs by the less than half, of this great country. Oh, some will relate to this piece while others will fume. But in the end, it is my country too! The same freedoms that allow the current awkward turn of events are the freedoms that allow me to state what I personally feel is so wrong.
That said, I pray that we can get it together as a nation. How a nation strong, after being so brutally attacked just slightly over a decade ago, could become so divided in a time when unity is what the United States Of America needs, is beyond me. So many countries before us could be looked at in a historic sense, of where it all went wrong. You would think that so many people that are so blessed and fortunate to live in such a free society would be intelligent enough to see the signs. Especially when on considers the recent events worldwide just this past year! Events that were and are, right there in front of our face!
2012 is nearing and end. If we all make it past Dec 21st…(smirk)…I cant help but wonder where we will be the morning of January 1st, 2013. See you on the other side!
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: November 24th-30th, 2012
Facing a Retirement Reality Check
By Suzanne Vosbikian, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
We are not getting any younger and the retirement dollars don't stretch as far as they used to. After much consideration, those two facts compelled us to put our home on the market this past week. When we retired seven years ago we felt both physically and financially capable of maintaining a big house. And in fact, we considered that it might be our last home. What a difference in perspective a few years of wear and tear can make. And I'm not just talking about the house.
In 2005 our home was worth considerably more than it is now, our savings was earning a decent interest rate and the market was still a pretty safe place to earn a little income. Neither of us had ever considered taking a "joint supplement" and we could still remember where we left our favorite pair of "cheaters." Everything is breaking down and the care and keeping of us and our home is getting more expensive with each passing year. It is time for sound, thoughtful, and intelligent decisions to be made.
So, what next? What do retired "boomers" do when reality sets in? After doing a little internet research I compiled a short list of ideas that people who've gone before us have had.
Buy a Condo or smaller house
Move into an Over 55 Community
Lease short-term lodging while traveling the world
Get a job and hire help
Live in an RV and travel the country
Become professional Inn Sitters
Open our Home to Boarders
Move to a more affordable area of the country and downsize
Live on a Cruise ship
Share a home with elderly parents or adult children.
There are many interesting options out there for retired boomers and some have more merit than others for us. Our solution might be on this list or maybe it is still undiscovered. The good news is that when the house does sell we will be in a position to choose the next step. Until then, we will be patient.
What about you? Is your idea of a satisfying retirement on this list? And don't forget to check out this month's Retirement and Empty Nest essay contest.
||Retirement Editor's Welcome: November 1st-23rd, 2012
Just Another Day in the Book of Life
By Greg Philips, Empty Nest & Retirement Editor
Things in life sometimes change on the dime. Often times with no warnings! I have found myself in thought as of late to this subject on several fronts and it reminds me of how important it is to live life to the fullest. We are all guilty at one time or the other of acting like our issues or problems are the great headline in life. I guess that reminds us that we are indeed human?! No matter the level of our problems, there is something to take away with them that will somehow benefit us in our journey of life.
In the past couple of weeks, I have had some deep conversations with a couple of very important young adults in my life. It has given me the chance to listen, understand their visions and positions on matters and to be able to impart wisdom based on my own life experiences. It has reminded me of my own personal growth and journey in life to this stage and has been fulfilling to be able to be there for them as a pillar of support.
Recently, my family lost a very close loved one to terminal cancer. I think in a sense we were relieved when he passed. No longer will he be in the extreme pain he was in and his significant other, my cousin, can now come to terms and move forward as she begins to put her life, which has been in painstaking hold for over a year now, back together again and begin healing. It has all been just another reminder of how blessed we are. It comes in a time that our finances are being tested, with my wife starting a new business, and that no matter what the setbacks in our lives, we really have nothing to complain about. Somebody has it worse.
An unfolding development in relation to stolen retirement benefits of several retiree’s I know and love, has me angered. It has reiterated to me that no matter how we try to set ourselves up for our future, there is always the risk that plans will fail. Unfortunately, in this case, of no fault of their own. Nonetheless, they are all left now on a limb. In relation to my own life, I take it as reinforcement that despite my earnest efforts to structure our future, there will more than likely be setbacks and you just cant always count on what you thought will be a solid solution. I have to go with it and live today. Tomorrow will have enough problems of it’s own.
Just a few thoughts of mine in recent weeks. Life here is good and evened though this piece may seem like a dim outlook, I take each experience and observation as just another fact of life! We live, we learn and we grow and somehow we survive. To me it is in reality, pages, in a chapter of the book of life! One day I may read it and finally understand! Until then, each day I can reflect on at days end, is another day to thank my lucky stars.
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