School’s Out … Now What?


August 7th will mark the end of my college career, a journey that started nearly 30 years ago. I won’t bore you with the details, but as my time in college has come to an end, many emotions have come over me.

After earning enough credits to finally graduate, I must admit my first emotion was relief. Thank God it was finally over and I would not have to take any additional courses to capture that elusive cap and gown. I also felt a sense of accomplishment. I am not big on following through on a lot of projects that I start, thus this is a major milestone for me. I couldn’t have done it without so many great people in my life telling me that I could cross that finish line. I also felt a sense of pride. As many of you who have worked and gone to school at the same time know, it’s not easy. Schoolwork is the last thing you want to do after yet another bad day at work.

There was also one other feeling that I felt which actually surprised me a little bit … sadness.  I was not sad that the tests and schoolwork were over. No way. I was sad because another chapter in my life was over. I’m sure I would feel differently about this if I were in my early twenties, but now in my early fifties, those feelings have become a bit more complicated. I guess I am becoming more sentimental in my older years.

So, now what? Is this degree going to dramatically change or improve my life? I doubt it. So, what do I do now? I have a few ideas I am kicking around, but the hardest part is getting out there and doing them. I suffer from “analysis paralysis” as they like to say. I try to learn as much about my subject as I can before jumping in. Unfortunately, more often than not, that leads to not jumping in at all.

So, the next few months and few years will be interesting. Time is ticking on that old retirement clock. Yes, I still have some time, but that time to accumulate additional wealth is also ticking.

To steal a catch phrase from Nike, I guess it’s time to “JUST DO IT!”

 

Right Place … Wrong Time


Everyone knows that time passes on. There is no stopping it, unfortunately, but do you ever think about life itself? Your life? How might your life have been different if you were born a century ago, ten years ago, or even a century in the future? Well, maybe it’s just me.

Having recently turned 50, my thoughts have turned toward retirement and trying to become more healthy. I have worked too damn hard not to be around long enough to enjoy retirement, thus I have to push away from the table and get off my ass and exercise. When I think about life, though, I often think about what might have been.

Stage Goes Dark

I think about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band, Queen, who died of AIDS at the young age of just 45 years old back in 1991, the same year NBA legend Magic Johnson announced that he was HIV positive. If Freddie had not contracted the disease for just a few more years, he would likely still be here today.

I often think of all the people that lived in the early 20th century that had life expectancies that probably would not eclipse my current age. How many people on this earth never got to see their 50th birthdays. I often think how nice it would have been to live in the Roaring Twenties, but it probably sounds better than it was. So many diseases back then could have killed you that now are eradicated or treatable.

Tick … Tick … Tick

I also turn my attention to the future. Yes, I am 50. Who knows how long I will live. 75? 80? 100? Hard to tell. What if I were born in 2067 and not 1967? How long could I expect to live? We’ve all seen predictions for the future and how far off they have mostly been. Yes, it would be great to be driving flying cars, but we have yet to realize this fantasy.

These days, you hear about people in the not so distant future possibly living well past 100 and maybe quite a bit more. When you go to the doctor, they would just do gene replacement, kind of like an oil change for our bodies. Who knows how long we might survive with “fresh oil”.

Marathon, Not a Sprint

Yes, modern medicine has come a long way in my lifetime. Promising treatments for Cancer, Alzheimers, and Diabetes are on the horizon. I guess, for me anyway, it is a race against the clock. Can we all avoid these common killers at least until viable treatments if not cures are available. Your guess is as good as mine.

Here’s hoping “The Show Must Go On” for another 30+ years!

 

Longing for Lasts


Hello, everyone. It’s been a while since my last blog post. Since I last posted, I have turned 50, which is good, I guess. Not sure many people are happy about turning fifty except those that never had that chance. For that reason, I am happy to have reached the 50 mark.

I have five classes left to finish off before I can finish my college degree that I started almost 30 years ago. These last five will not be easy. Being impatient like I am, I chose to cram those last five classes into two summer sessions that will conclude in August. I keep my fingers crossed for continued scholastic success.

As I have gotten older, I still strive for first, but really, really long for lasts. I have reminisced about old times more and more. I often have told my wife how nice it would be if you knew at the time that you would be doing something for the last time.  When I think of those types of things, my mind wanders.

Here are just some of the lasts I miss:

  • The last time I went fishing with my grandpa, who has been gone 18 years already
  • The last time I went fishing with my Dad, who now lives far away
  • The last time I weighed under 200 pounds
  • The last time to hear any new music from Michael Jackson, Queen, Nirvana, the Beatles, or Prince
  • The last time I strapped on a football helmet
  • The last time I rode a school bus to school
  • The last time I had hair to feather
  • The last time riding home in a victorious team bus from an away football game
  • The last time my Mom took me to the orthodontist, accompanied by lunch soon afterward
  • The last time I read my daughter a bedtime story
  • The last time I petted any of the numerous dogs in my life
  • The last day of being a teenager
  • The last day before becoming an adult
  • The last time sitting around a dinner table with my Mom, Dad, and siblings

This list could go on and on. Funny. The other day, I stumbled upon a song by Brad Paisley entitled, “Last Time for Everything”. I must say I am not a huge fan of the video, but love the song. Take a listen and let me know what you think.