It’s 5:00AM here in the Mile High City and the sun is beginning to reveal its unclose view of Denver. I treasure this time of day because it is quiet and contemplative. As I look downtown and to the mountains beyond I realize I am in the final leg of a wonderful stop in this thing we call life. The insightful book, Passages, by Gaily Sheehy seems an apt description of where I am.
Colorado is a majestic place to live. We spent part of the weekend with friends in the Vail Valley. They have an idyllic home right on the Eagle River that I have spoken about previously. The snowmelt laden waters put you in a bit of a revery as they roar by. It is a marvelous place to take stock.
On Saturday I read a book my daughter Megan had given me, “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker. There are far too many fantastic nuggets of insight to enumerate but suffice to say he parses our thoughts ranging from daydreaming to stark reality. Positives and negatives. Helps and hindrances. There are no magic bullets but it gets you to thinking in extraordinary ways. Most of all it demonstrated to me how much more there is to do and yes to learn.
I was watching PBS Nova on the origins of our earth. I was spellbound by the gradual unravelling of how this place came to be. Tectonic plates still grinding and palm frond fossils uncovered in Alaska showed our blue marble is ever morphing into something different from the original Pangea. Evolution of all sorts is part of our DNA. Education and questioning should never stop until the day we die.
I mentioned a few weeks ago about my 50th reunion at Georgetown. Beyond eyeballing who looked good and who looked not so good I had to recall what five decades had imparted not only on my life but the world. Then I realized we are but a dot in time when we talk of billions of years of history. Yet I am still responsible for my place, however minute. What have I done and what I have failed to do. A little borrowing from the Catholic Act of Confession. Mea culpa but very apropos.
You have to go with both sides of the ledger, assets and liabilities. My plus list is a lot shorter than the problem areas. I have a sense of other people which I guess can be called empathy. I do care about my fellow man and by extension my world. I have this crazy gift to be able to relate to people who are having a hard time. Whether it is homeless or hospice or maybe the mentally ill I just sort of do my thing. . I hope I am a decent friend and have been truly blessed by many of you in that light. As an amigo recently told me when we talk we are not guarded. Let it rip, warts and all. I am indeed lucky.
I am enthusiastic about just about everything. I get too psyched up sometimes about the tiniest of things. Some call it energy and others deem it insanity. I become frustrated when others don’t share my interest level and all too often I have run into brick walls of disinterest or resistance to change. Then that fleeting concept all too often goes into my book,”100 Great Ideas I Haven’t Done Squat About”. I should be more dogged and dedicated.
I have to get better at so many things and I consider that a goal rather than self flagellation. First and foremost I have to listen better. I don’t have all the answers. I have to sit and observe more. I go off half cocked because I have this idea there is only so much time to get things done. I have a pretty good sense of when things are screwed up but I usually use dynamite rather than modeling clay when fashioning a solution. My son Scott and I are driving cross country next week. He has just finished a three year tour in London. It will be a great test of my ears rather than my vocal chords.
I really need work on being a husband, dad and Padge. With Kathy I have to understand it is not just me or her but us. Even after 46 years there is work to do and lessons to be learned. I was proud and yet startled when having a drink at my youngest daughter’s new condo in Vail. I looked at the surroundings, her husband and her children and in a crazy way said. “Holy shit, she is all grown up!” All of my kids have grown and done remarkable things in their own lives. Where have I been? Not exactly “Cat in the Cradle” but I need work.
I want to become a better writer. I had breakfast with a great friend and I told her I want to be more disciplined in my approach to writing. I have great fun writing Ted’s Head but I have to write for writing’s sake and explore new and different ways to do so. Don’t worry I won’t foist the great American novel on you and whatever I put on paper probably will never see the light of day. It is just a wonderful medium to process thoughts and bring some coherence to my zany existence.
I hope I have not bored you with this missive. I hope in my twists and turns and delving that I am not alone in thinking about where I am and what I want to be. Kathy says I think too much. I would hold out that as we put our lives on automatic and one day mindlessly blends into another we don’t think enough. The phrase du jour is “Living With Purpose”. I will just call it just stopping and realizing who we are and just maybe who we might want to be. That is a passage in its own right. See you on down the road.
Ted The Great
Many thanks to those that responded to my “I Have the Deck” blog. There were a record number of responses.
The RAAM (Race Across America) is an insane bike ride that occurs every year. It goes from San Diego to Atlantic City and covers some 3000 miles. The cyclists accomplish this in 12 days. One fellow has won it five times often doing so in nine days. At the end he was hallucinating and crying. Crazy? Of course but what an effort.
Each person has an average of 60,000 thoughts a day! That’s one thought per second in every waking hour! Amazingly, 95 percent are the same thoughts repeated every day. On average, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative. Unfortunately, our brains are hardwired to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones. That is our survival instinct but how sad.
Merriam Webster Definition of success
1 obsolete : outcome, result
2a : degree or measure of succeeding b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
3: one that succeeds
I don’t know about you but I would take issue with the above. It seems the definition leaves out the intangibles of self worth…..Still pondering the imponderables.
Keep pondering. You make me remember not to forget the trip and to savor it. Bravo Zulu!
I always enjoy your observations, I wish we had spent some time exchanging comments at the Reunion, I am happy you are in our email group. I also grapple with the idea of more disciplined writing rather than five paragraphs on Facebook after I see or read some distressing negative thing. My book – My 25 Worst Divorce Cases” – that was an interesting 17 years of my 40 years being an attorney. Hoya Saxa!