hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

Category: Life

Heartfelt Memorial to The Greatest begins week of mourning, remembrance and celebration at Muhammad Ali Center

20160606_104728I feel honored to live in the city Muhammad Ali was born and will be laid to rest. Today I took a walk to the Muhammad Ali Center where a Memorial has been created. I won’t use the word “makeshift” like a lot of media outlets are, because as that may be, it still is a very moving display and more like a genuine tribute than anything I would describe as makeshift.
Everyone who was there when I was shifted quietly around the flowers, pictures, heart shaped balloons and signs. It’s a hint of things to come in the way of more formal memorials and celebrations of Ali’s life as the week progresses here in Louisville, towards Friday.
The tone at the Memorial today was quiet, peaceful and respectful. Everyone made way for each other to take photos and admire the tributes. Somehow I sensed The Greatest would have appreciated the way so many people from far and near have come together.
Ali’s sense of humor rises to the surface at times in between periods of mourning for his many fans and admirers across the world. When I was in the store on Saturday morning, his memory was first and foremost in my mind. Strangely, I was drawn to the deodorant section. I purchased a small stick of Brut deodorant. When I was at the register paying for my purchases I did my best Ali commercial television ad impersonation for the checker (which prompted a huge grin by the way):

Float like a butterfly,

Sting like a bee,

The great smell of Brut,

And the punch of Ali.

All eyes are on Louisville as we celebrate The Champ’s life and the mountains it moved, the people touched, the tears and smiles surely flowing together as one.
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The staycation that didn’t stay long enough (or something I think I know, but don’t)

Spending time in a backyard swimming pool is o...

Spending time in a backyard swimming pool is one of the activities sometimes enjoyed during a staycation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Staycation or vacation or both, if by the end of it you’re ready to return to work, I can only say, personally-speaking, you’re just not doing it right.
Sure, you may think that, try to convince yourself of it, but if you truly feel you’re ready to return to work, you need to say it out loud and listen to how ridiculous it sounds.
I am not meant to rise at 5 a.m. each day and although I wasn’t that far off from that wake-up call on the first day of staycation, by day two (yes, day two!), I had already started drifting further from that pre-crack of dawn, zombie apocalypse-like state. Soon enough, I had fallen into a comfortable 7:30-8 wake up (and so did our dog).
It’s very important to do nothing and relax while you’re enjoying time off from work. I did get to do some of that, but we also caught up on things around (and inside) the house that have been neglected. I understand this, but if I’m on staycation by myself, there’s a whole lot of nothing going on and it’s excitingly tranquil, not to mention mostly just what I need.
Interior of a dry grocer, downtown Vancouver, ...

Interior of a dry grocer, downtown Vancouver, Washington, circa 1909. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The day before staycation started, I was still wearing a long-sleeved flannel shirt and jeans when walking the dog at the aforementioned pre-crack of dawn. During the course of my time off, the temps outdoors shot up in the mid-80s. When it gets this hot this quick, it’s bittersweet for me, as although warmer temperatures typically mean outdoor activities and gatherings, I prefer cooler temperatures. If it never gets hotter than 70 degrees anywhere, that’s alright by me.

The warmer, late spring days are a portending of even hotter summer days ahead. These are the times when we run into friends in air-conditioned grocery stores and pseudo-plan to get together.

But, hot days are ironically an internal prison of sorts. Similar to indoor escapes from winter, we prefer the comfort of air-conditioned spaces during the summer in favor of sweaty outdoor barbecues on the patio.
20160527_182958This is why the spring staycation is perfect. You can dine out just like when you’re on vacation somewhere away from home. But, you don’t have the hotel expense. On the other hand, you don’t have maid service unless you, yourself, are the maid.
As the final day of staycation is underway, it is a reminder of the work that will come this time tomorrow. I know it’ll be fine ploughing back into work. But, staycation’s final hours has my mood increasingly souring at the prospect of going back to work—just like some people who get the Sunday night blues before Monday.
The return to work brings with it all the things preparation-wise one must do beforehand. The laundry, the tidying up, the getting back to an early-rising routine—all things I’m pretty much not in the least interested in doing at the moment.
20160527_183354Now that I’m getting close to the end of this, I’m thinking more and more about endless staycation and whether or not I would like it. While I can be extroverted pretty much on command, I am by nature more of an introvert.
I’ve found that you can have good staycations by yourself, but sharing them can make them exceptional. Writing is a solitary work. It’s something I love, even more so than the very staycation I was longing for in the first place.
“I’m ready to go back to work.”
20160527_184440Still sounds ridiculous, yes, but not as much as before, all things considered.

I wish we all had tails

20151109_144754Heard and read that we Americans broke the record for Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales. A lot if not most of it was done via our smart phones, computers and tablets, too. Since the advent of social media, it seems we don’t know how to be sociable with one another when we’re in person, anyway, so it’s a good thing most of our shopping is done online.
People always fight, now it’s just captured by our smart phone cameras, especially when it occurs in a mall, or outside of one in the parking lot when two would be shoppers end up in a dust up over a parking space.
20151126_160405Another conclusion that can be drawn concerning the record shopping going on is the possibility that we’ve never been unhappier as a society. That’s only if you believe materialism and buying stuff cannot make us happy. If it could, we’d all be singing happy days are here again when our credit card bills come due. But, most of us aren’t rich and we do not sing this tune. We understand all too well after we’ve taken something shiny out of the box, its sheen (and I’m not talking Marty or Charlie) wears off pretty fast.
Buying stuff can be a lot like addiction. We apparently need to keep buying more stuff in order to maintain our pursuit of happiness which amounts to nothing more than an epic fail. As time goes by, we have to buy more and more stuff just to maintain a neutral expression as it takes more purchases than we can afford to buy even a smile.
20151126_160700We have our smart phones that evidently have replaced the not-so-smart phones we had before. Still, no matter how many things we buy with them, we just don’t seem to be able to sustain contentment for even a short while.
Peoples’ faces are buried in their smart phones the majority of the time they are conscious. It’s an adult pacifier that we pay a monthly premium for. If money was the root of all evil in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, smart phones are the causes of our narcissistic behavior resulting in the miserable states we find ourselves, in the 21st century going forward.

Digital rectal exam; drawing shows a side view...

Digital rectal exam; drawing shows a side view of the male reproductive and urinary anatomy, including the prostate, rectum, and bladder; also shows a gloved and lubricated finger inserted into the rectum to feel the prostate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


For all their promise of an easier, happier and more efficient life on the job, technological gadgets of all types have left us exposed with the same resources we’ve always had at our disposal. There are only so many hours in the day, too, and if we are expected to produce more because of these technological aids and breakthroughs, no wonder we are more stressed out, tense, anxious and unhappy than we’ve ever been.
We try to offset stress on the job by using our phones an equal amount of the time when we’re away from them. We do things like book appointments for massage or go to the doctor for a digital rectal exam hoping to catch prostate cancer early enough. This is how we relax and practice stress prevention—by doing things in our personal life, taking care of ourselves a certain way, and hopefully benefitting us in the long run.
The problem is that none of these counter measures makes up for the fact that we never learn to be happy with what we have. Our rush for materialistic bliss blindsides us with the harsh reality that we don’t understand anything whatsoever about being truly social (when our noses our pressed against our smart phones while people on either side of us go ignored).
Maybe it’s easier to be insulated from the social media that is life, than it is to let on we don’t care or even “like” the prospect of learning to appreciate what we have before we go out and shop again.
Perhaps even if it’s just for five minutes, shopping can make us feel good about ourselves. I don’t know if this is a valid statement or not, or why it is so if it is, but I’ve come to accept the probability.
This is the part of the post where if I had a tail, I’d be wagging it…in my sleep.

The ferry

20150921_081357The ferry took off and it got him to thinking of the eventual shopping that lay waiting after the return trip back to the mainland. The ferry rides were always a sanctuary of sorts from the shopping, which inevitably left him worn and battered, physically and emotionally.
Guys don’t like shopping. But, if you go out with someone, or go on holiday somewhere (and not alone), you end up in a store somewhere looking at stuff you’d never be caught dead with in a million years. But, we do it anyway, and we smile all along, too. Because we know it makes who we are with happy.
It’s similar to garage salers in that they are the ones who are up early Saturday mornings dragging someone along to someone else’s crap, I mean, treasure. We can easily spot the unwilling garage salers, too, for they are the ones with large thermos cups of coffee in tow, smiling and nodding, best they can, at the myriad of crap, I mean, treasure, that awaits them.

***

The grizzled old man thought of the times when he was younger, when he would find a gin mill and take a load off, sip a whiskey, chase it with a cold beer and shoot the shit with the locals while his lady was off looking at various things in stores he would never blink at if he passed them. He was on the ferry now, for what seemed like the millionth time, but he never thought those times when his shopping consisted of belting back a few cold ones was much of a burden to bear or a price to pay for the comfort of warm companionship.
20150921_081654He originally found the solace of the island as a means to avoid going into town, save for the bi-monthly trips for supplies that consisted of paper products, canned goods, charcoal for his grill and some meat when he could afford it. All of these things complimented his typewriter and were mere necessities that enabled him to put his thoughts down on paper.
He found the old typewriter better than any computer could ever be, although he never actually tried a computer. Part of his supply runs were for paper and ribbon for the old Royal typing machine. There was a guy of his vintage that ran one of the few general stores still in existence and those things of a bygone era could still be found in adequate supply. He figured he’d be good to go as far as his modest existence was concerned, right up until the time he would eventually leave the planet.
Relationships were always like addendums to his days. They had to be considered, fertilized if they were to continue for any length of time. They also had to be cultivated and involved large degrees of tolerance, not to mention patience.

He remembered times in the past after a relationship had ended poorly (didn’t they always end up that way?), and he was once again left to his own devices—a loner with no hope for change for the better.

20150921_114511The ferry had a way of adjusting his thinking on all of that. To him it was a living, breathing animal. It had the ability to recognize trouble, make turns to the right side and avoid hard times by virtue of its survival instincts. The ferry was both his greatest teacher and his greatest friend. Everyone needs a constant that isn’t a person in their life. The ferry was his.

Forget five-year plan, stick with five-day strategy

Tom Brady takes the snap during Super Bowl XXX...

Tom Brady takes the snap during Super Bowl XXXIX. Brady threw for 219 yards to give the Patriots their third Super Bowl victory in four years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Ever go to a job interview and get asked, “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” That would be a pet peeve of mine if I had pet peeves. The only pet I have right now is a dog.
Five years from now is a long time. You could come up with all sorts of answers that could torpedo the job interview, like this gem, “Well, in five years, I see myself in your position interviewing candidates like me right now.” Then, prepare to go home early as an answer like this constitutes a successful exit strategy, that is, if you were looking to be ruled out from the job and sent packing in record time.
People who have five year plans have it all wrong. It’s like predicting who will win the World Series at the beginning of spring training. No one, including all the sportswriters, knows. But, it doesn’t stop us from reading prognostications from guys who write them. It’s fun. It’s interesting, and it’s a great way to spend some enjoyable time.
Life changes so rapidly that you’re lucky if you can make a five-day plan and stick to it without fielding all the grounders from the curve balls that are thrown your way. It’s tough to start Monday with goals you want to achieve by Friday. For myself and countless others, we take it one day at a time.


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Take Bill Belichick. I love the guy because he’s so droll. All of his press conferences are the same. He never reveals what he’s truly thinking. He simply avoids the question and the Patriots keep parading him up there anyway. With respect to the Tom Brady Deflategate distraction, he offers clichés like, “We’re taking it one day at a time.”


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I’ve got news for you. That is all most of us should be doing—taking it one day at a time. Because I would suggest life has never been busier in all of recorded history. Down time is a goal to be achieved, as in, “As soon as you get these gazillion things done, Marsha, you can have some well-earned down time.” Marsha is actually lucky if she can get half of those gazillion things done so she can either take a Monday or a Friday off (before resuming her respective rat race pace).
Five year plans are fantasies. If you truly want the job you’ll recognize this question as a Catch-22. If you try to answer it with a degree of certainty, you either impress as shooting too low or too high. One of the best answers you can have goes something like this, “I just want to learn the job to the best of my ability. Whatever else comes once I can do that will take care of itself.” End of story. Bam. Finished.


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You’re there for the job right? Not for where you see yourself in five years (which is a loaded question as I just explained).
Taking it one day at a time isn’t a bad way to go these days. The five day plan might not be too ambitious either. But the five year plan? C’mon man.
 

Traveling through the White Castle time machine

White Castle at the corner of Mott Ave and Bae...

White Castle at the corner of Mott Ave and Baech Channel Dr, Queens, NY, USA (Google Maps) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you are what you eat then at this very moment I’m six original White Castle sliders, 1 small fries, a vanilla shake and a peach smoothie.

White Castle has always been there for me, except, it’s been like 30 years since the last time I was there for it. I’ve let a good deal of my life slip by without partaking in the original slider and his 20th century friends. The peach smoothie was something that bridges the gap between then and now—halfway through the second decade of the 21st century.


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Of course I could have ordered online and had my order ready to pick up ahead of time, or even at a particular time. But, when it’s this amount of time between White Castle visits, the digital age takes a back seat to the drive up and thru.
I had a little bit of trepidation as I considered taking the White Castle plunge yet once more. I remembered late night visits in my youth after a night on the town. It was a rite of passage growing up in New York. My friends and I would get sacks of sliders and wash them down with a shake or cola of whatever variety they had…coke, I think? It helped prevent the morning pain next day, but mostly we pounded them down because they tasted good each and every time.

English: 1819 picture of White Castle

English: 1819 picture of White Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


When I lived in places that didn’t have White Castle restaurants I occasionally tried a box of frozen ones from the store. They just weren’t as good. The magic wasn’t there. Microwaving the little guys just didn’t cut it. There’s nothing like getting them fresh like I did today. I remember being excited when I found out they were available in my frozen section. But, like I said, it just wasn’t the same. They lost something in translation with the frozen version.
I want to say in the old days it was like a drive-in theatre when you went to White Castle. There was a parking spot with a speaker you talked into. I think people would take your order that way. Then, they’d come out with your sliders in a bag and give them to you. If that’s not the way it was, then maybe one of us actually went inside, ordered and brought them to us. Like I said, it’s been a while and so it’s hard to remember exactly how the deals transpired.
20th Century White Castle visits were unlike modern day ones. I will remember today’s visit but with the passage of time struggle to recall the specifics of White Castle trips of yesteryear. Like the old saying goes, if you can remember it you weren’t there.


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The odd thing about today was the ordering of the peach smoothie. The choice was peach or something else—I can’t recall what flavor the other variety was, maybe strawberry? After I ordered the items in the opening paragraph above, the nice lady talking through the speaker (Ariel) asked me if I wanted to try some dessert. I told her I was looking at the desserts (actually, I was having trouble locating them—the menu board looked very cluttered to me). Then, after finally seeing what looked to be a couple of different pies or cakes, I opted to hold fast with my order. I would have the peach smoothie for dessert.
White Castle hamburger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It turned out to be a good call and not just the peach smoothie, either. The whole White Castle thing was a great move on my part. White Castle still holds up today. More aptly, they still slide right down just like they used to. I’ll wait and see if there’s anything I remember about it tomorrow.

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The vanishing outwardly cranky air traveler

English: PBair female flight attendant at work...

English: PBair female flight attendant at work on board of a ATR 72 (Thailand). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’m old enough to remember when airports weren’t so circuitously mammoth and passengers aboard planes applauded and cheered upon successful landings.
The silence of travelers in planes who land safely represents some of the modern day behavior of almost extinct, outwardly cranky passengers. If you, too, are old enough to remember these cranks, you don’t recall them with fondness. They used to make the jobs of flight attendants a nightmare—complaining and demanding incessantly.
Today with the takeover of airports by the security industry, these complainers contain their displeasure and ire for the most part. Those that cannot are removed from the situation. This procedure is arguably one of the best problem-solving techniques in the 21st century workplace; should a problem arise in the form of a particular individual or individuals, all that is necessary for the situation to be remedied is the extraction of the problem person from the scene.
The cranks who remain air travelers carry on in a passive aggressive manner. You can recognize them, still, today, if you are just even a little bit aware. They are the ones muttering under their breath while waiting at the self-serve baggage check-in kiosk. They are not emotionally disturbed so much as just, well, plain pissed off at the current state of air travel—paying for more service and room and getting increasingly less of each.
English: Deserted check-in stations as Schipho...

English: Deserted check-in stations as Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, due to the air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Nederlands: Verlaten check-in balies op Schiphol als gevolg van de luchtvaartverstoringen door de vulkaanas 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you are unfortunate enough to let them have your ear, you do, indeed, get an earful of a sour-laden state of the union address on air travel.
Some of the things they take issue with are laced with irony.
Airports have never been bigger and more of a marathon to get to your gate than now.
This is pretty true for the most part, especially in big cities. An air traveler can lose track of how many escalators they go up and down in order to arrive at their gate. Plus they need to take a train oftentimes, not to mention the amount of straight up walking they have to do as well, moving walkways robotically chatting you up to “Stand on the right, walk on the left,” notwithstanding. They harken to what could have been with respect to trains and how aside from cheap freight moving, the rails these air conditioned robots ride on now are in airports.
The way people wander, and for lack of a better word, stagger (seemingly devoid of purpose), around airports is incredible. You would think they were auditioning for the part of “walkers” in AMC’s The Walking Dead.
I can’t disagree with this one. People will be flying down the main drag of a gate area like a plane getting ready to take off, when they suddenly slam on the brakes and either, a) look at their phone; b) stare off into space in search of something that doesn’t exist; or, c) double shuffle a couple steps to the left and one to the right before stopping and looking at their phone again.
On Board Pakistan Intl Airlines.

On Board Pakistan Intl Airlines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Phones should be used in airports like motorists use theirs: pull over to the side of the road and get out your phone once you’re safely out of the way (of oncoming traffic).
I felt bad for the flight attendant who was of a medium-size build and had to navigate the beverage cart down the skinny jeans path they call an aisle these days. And, all without cracking the elbows and arms of passengers who are trying their best to compress themselves into spaces they never were meant to squeeze into.
This is the final insult that awaits all air travelers, not just the cranks, as they board for their final destination. But there’s (not so good) news for passengers making the return trip home. Unless you’re an infant, the amount of space you have to “sit back and enjoy the flight,” is slated to continue to diminish.
Lucky cranks.

The case for air conditioning

Two women on the Jersey Shore

Two women on the Jersey Shore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I suggest you sing air conditioning’s praises. Seriously, I do. But I know you won’t. You probably won’t even think about it until it goes out on you one day like a wayward significant other.

It seems like it was just yesterday when I wrote about how in the beginning of the summer we run into friends and promise to get together soon. Well, that was about a year ago. And it’s not even summer just yet, but once the 4th of July gets here we begin the rapid descent into fall and football. Yay! But I digress, and happily so.
Baseball can be fun and should be enjoyed during the summer months. But the heat of summer makes me long for winter’s cool and it’s all here again before you know it.
Life is so rapidly cyclical yet we act and live as if our seasons will last well beyond 90 days.
Since we’re about to enter summer I’d like to wax poetically on one of the most underrated and perhaps greatest, inventions of all time: air conditioning.
That’s right. Air conditioning is right up there with the light bulb, frozen dinners and the Internet—yes, the Internet, too.


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Air conditioning actually facilitates the Internet because we couldn’t have racks of desktop servers functioning in 90 degree weather now, could we? Forget about it.
I was eating out last weekend and the air conditioning in the restaurant wasn’t working. We like to go to this place, but it was pretty unbearable. We ate light, drank a cool, adult beverage and got out of there before our clothes began sticking to us entirely.
It really made me think about the value of air conditioning. It’s one of those things everyone takes for granted.
Look at how unnatural-looking air conditioning is in everyday life, though. We see automobiles rolling around town with the windows up when it’s 90 plus outside. Who can’t appreciate the irony that summer weather promises us more outdoor activity and engagement with one another, but not through our vehicles? We’re shut off like we are on our computers and tablets from each other. The common bond being that air conditioning shows us the way in comfort whether inside our vehicles or homes.
People that complain it’s too cold in the office during winter time typically don’t complain when it’s too cold in the summer time. Again, to the contrary, they enjoy the cool during summer. Same temperature in the office during winter time doesn’t cut it though. The illusion of calm, cool, focused environments that air conditioning powers is the only difference. Air conditioning plays a trick on our minds. We sleep better when it’s cool. Maybe that’s why office workers like air conditioning so much.
I know I never really cared too much about air conditioning until later in life. If I wanted a breeze I’d run a fan or roll down the windows. If I wanted to cool off, I’d take a dip in the ocean. There were all sorts of ways to cool off last century.


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That was all before the invention of the heat index—one of the worst inventions of all time. It seems it wasn’t enough for the mercury in the thermometer to rise to 96. The heat index would make anything in the 80s “feel” like the temperature was 96.
I think the heat index really got me to appreciating air conditioning. It’s not like I quote the heat index, but we all start our days wondering how hot it’ll get. It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day as long as the power grid is functioning.
Air conditioning will keep us and our devices cool during the hottest of days and that’s something to talk about. But we never do. To this day, air conditioning remains one of, if not the most, undermentioned and undervalued, greatest inventions of all time.

Older workers, younger counterparts and the G-word


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Because it can always get worse is the primary reason you should be thankful for the good things in life. No need to describe them here as they are different for everyone. But when things go less than swimmingly, we can sometimes lose sight of the fact we are pretty lucky overall and should be satisfied with the good things we do have.


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When it comes to possessions, well, like the old saying goes, you can’t take them with you. I don’t collect things because other than a few pressing items regarding deadlines, I’m oblivious to the piles of work that sometimes lie untouched for days at a time. It is even worse with “things”—we file them away on shelves in closets or in basement bookcases, intending to one day get to them for filing and sorting. But some day typically doesn’t come around as regularly as we had hoped for when we first stashed those items.


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I think it’s healthy to express gratitude as we go about our daily lives. A great example for me personally, was that today at my annual eye exam I was informed my eyesight had remained the same—20/20 with my glasses on. I am thankful for vision that has halted deteriorating for at least one year.
When I was younger I took my eyesight for granted. Now that I am in middle age, I am thankful it’s no worse this year than last. It may not seem like much, but it really is a lot to be glad about. When we’re young we don’t think about our vision unless we have bad vision as children. Even then, though, once we have the appropriate prescription, we take our ability to see well, for granted—until we get older.
Other things I’m grateful for when it comes to the business world, are all of the companies who choose to employ older workers. There is great value in hiring older workers and one of them is the gratitude they demonstrate as they go about their jobs. Older workers arrive early and stay late as necessary—even when they’re salaried.

Of course, there are slugs in the workplace that transcend all age groups, but for the most part, if you properly vet an older person before hiring them, you will not regret having them on the team.

Loyalty in the workplace, while not common these days, is something older workers can remember. They’ve typically worked during times when being loyal to companies increased their security and wellbeing on the job. Times nowadays see workers leaving after just two to three years and while older workers may jump at new opportunities, the number of open positions made available to this age group is not as high as for their younger counterparts.


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Older workers’ loyalty can perhaps not be counted on, but it can at least be cultivated if they are treated fairly and rewarded for a job well done.
I’ve been writing since the days when the IBM Selectric Typewriter was the epitome of sleek high tech. The fact I can still perform the job on computers today finds me ever grateful for the opportunity to create, be read and also to re-learn the lessons of gratitude living in the digital age.
 

Gratitude in youth elixir for slow senior fade away

Kisses help us stay connected

Kisses help us stay connected


Youth isn’t so much wasted on the young as appreciation for fleeting opportunities is understood and valued by older citizens residing just up the block.
I am continually fascinated by the disconnect that occurs between young and old. It is something that spans generations and seems to have always existed. It’s like guys arguing in bars about which ballplayers from various time periods are better than others.
Some things are unchangeable. For instance, the cartilage we have in our knees is that with which we are born. No amount of proper nutrition, healthy habits or exercise changes that once we fully develop. Our muscles all around knee cartilage may get bigger and assume more mass and strength, but they do very little for the overall condition of the knee once the cartilage dissipates for one reason or another.
When we get older we understand we have seen more suns set than we’re going to see the rest of our time on the planet. That in and of itself should lend appreciation for the remaining time we have and for the deeds we can yet accomplish.
Dan Marino, drafted by the Dolphins in 1983, b...

Dan Marino, drafted by the Dolphins in 1983, became a Hall of Famer in 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’m a sports guy and I totally get that players like Dan Marino thought they’d see more super bowls than they did. Marino went to the big game in his first year and never got back. Where do you go when you base the meaning of life in goals you never can quite attain?
The answer lies somewhere in between thinking like a young person and believing like an old person. That place in between senior moments and the stupid mistakes a kid makes is where we end up living more often than not. Old people don’t fade away so much as young people think they have more opportunities awaiting them after blowing off the one everyone says they should have availed themselves of.
Brooklyn Museum - Portrait of a Young Person

Brooklyn Museum – Portrait of a Young Person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Life’s uncertainties cause us all fear. While confidence may be sexy, pretending to be confident is where the majority of us end up living. The older set knows smiling, feigning knowledge with the tilt of their heads, is akin to the young person who knows it all but knows nothing at all. Middle age should be a more comfortable period for us than it is. But, we’re typically too busy having our expected mid-life crises to pick up on how it is we should be living.
When I was young I used to think how silly it was to be around people who would pray and give thanks for opportunities. I thought opportunities were to be had at any given time and always to be in abundance. It was one thing to be thankful for something like opportunities around Thanksgiving; it was another to be grateful for them. Youth may begrudge opportunity thankfulness but only the old are grateful for opportunities.
I want to live the rest of the time as someone who recognizes and values the opportunities that come his way. I don’t want to believe opportunities are like busses or girls whereby another one comes along every so often. Since I can’t be young again and have the knowledge I do now, I don’t want to be a dick about opportunities, or anything else, ever again. It’ll not be always easy to do, but I’m going to try.
 

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