Sunday, March 28, 2010

I always considered myself to be a person with varied musical interests but I don't think I can say that these days. I stopped liking a lot of new music in the 90's, when originality, musical talent and hard work seemed to dim and fade away, save for a few performers who stepped into the spotlight with some creative works. That's probably just the opinion of this old codger who became a dad and had to listen to all that screaming nonsense when my kids were growing up and playing that crap... boy do I remind myself of my dad when I was a teenager. Anyway, through all the great rock songs of my youth there was still a part of me that loved the easy-listening stuff, and few could match Gordon Lightfoot when it came to putting passion into every song he sung so that it stayed in your mind for all time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Did You Say Something Dad?

The other day I was trying to impart some wisdom on my 14 year old son, and of course being 14 he already knows everything he needs to know, so old dad was pretty much talking to the dishwasher for the most part. The trouble is, when I was that age I was the same way and my dad probably gave me great advice that I should have followed, but it went straight into my head which was already filled with all the knowledge that I'd ever need, or so I thought at 14. What I was trying to get through to my son, after constant attempts to get out of his chores - which took four times the amount of time and energy that it took to actually do the chores, was that he should develop a more positive outlook on life, including chores, because life is so short and the time that you are young is even shorter. That's not an idea a kid that age has room to store and think over in a brain that's fully occupied with Guitar Hero, Dog Wars and Halo, not to mention those pretty little things that play havoc with a teenage boy's thoughts.
So I was listening to myself as I was "lecturing" (which is what dads really do instead of saying anything you want to hear) and I thought I should probably take my own advice and try to structure my life around the joy that should be part of being alive. Sure, there are so many things I never got to do and it's too late to do them now, but there is still so much to take in from this short existence that is life, and to dwell on and worry about material things like a bad job, insurmountable debt, or tomorrow's weather is a pointless endeavor. Of course it's easier said than done, and at my age hard to change, but if I can take just a few minutes each day and realize that billions, maybe trillions, of people have lived and died and now it's my turn to make the most of my short stint on this plane of existence, then maybe I'll have a brighter outlook for the rest of that day and realize that all the petty things that bother me are meaningless when I see things from more of a cosmic viewpoint.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Letters to Friends That Are Never Written

Hello old friend, it's so great to hear from you after all this time. You still look the same as you did when we were youngsters, with maybe just a new wrinkle here and a gray hair there. Beautiful pictures, your family has grown so much, and your grandchildren are the same age now as when you and I first met so long ago. I still remember the first time that our paths crossed. It was first grade, on the playground at recess, and I wore a new red baseball cap for the first time that day and you hit me in the head with a stone that was meant for someone else. I was fine until I saw the blood on my new cap, then I started crying and you got in trouble. Funny now, that that's how our friendship was started.
I've been in good health but have added a few pounds, as you can see in my pictures. Long gone is the athletic body that I had when we played football in your yard or hockey on the creek or the many hours we spent on the basketball court. I did get in shape a couple of different times since then, but the last few years I've become embarrassingly apathetic about my appearance. Too many donuts and not enough walking. Truthfully I've changed quite a bit more than just my bulging middle. In fact, I'm a very different person now days. Gone is the eager, up-for-anything kid you grew up with, replaced by someone who doesn't take the challenges that we both took when we were teenagers. I've become too content with my sedentary life. Too reliant on the humdrum boredom that is everyday living. I've become the guy the young me never wanted to become. Funny how one little decision here, then another little one there have brought us to where we are right now, with you almost the same as you always were and me so very different. Somehow it's all part of a master plan and someday we'll see how it all turns out.
Our communications are few and far between but it is always good to hear from you. I wish you health and happiness and hope to hear from you soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring is Near

The first sign of spring in Ohio appeared today. The fun and playful mosquito has emerged from its winter slumber to delight us once more. Surely warm weather is here to stay.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Twilight of a Nightmare

I've had a feeling for a while now that something is about to change in my life, that something has to change, for better or for worse - I'm not sure which way things will go. I've been making a little progress in my attempts to confront and defeat my panic issue so maybe that's a good sign, but half a lifetime of living with something like this doesn't go away easily. Still, I feel this nightmarish existence I live in much of the time will have an end of some sort. I know that I'll never be completely normal, comparatively, but I may reach a point where I'll be comfortable with life and all its responsibilities.
A stark realization struck me fully the other day as I was filling out an insurance application... I'm mentally ill. I've known this of course for some time, but to have to list that condition on a paper then to explain it to an insurance person who's my kid's age made me see how I was categorized in with the people everyone calls "a bit touched" or just plain "crazy". I'd always thought I had a problem that would just work itself out one day, but now I know that I'm not so different from any other person in that particular grouping. I must say that as I've matured with this problem over the years I've come to develop an understanding of the torture that others go through, and realize that I'm one of the lucky ones of the mentally ill group, for many people are far worse than I am, to the point of not being able to function at all in society. Hopefully I'm not headed in that direction, although from where I've been at times I could see that it wouldn't have taken a lot to get there. No, I'm going to take an optimistic outlook on things and say that I've crested the hill and starting to coast down the other side. I hope.