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-And it only Took Half a Century

Created on: 12/26/14 11:46 PM Views: 2287 Replies: 3
-And it only Took Half a Century
Posted Friday, December 26, 2014 11:46 PM

   I just received my copy of the reunion video.  It was a wonderful event that ended so quickly.  I wish I could have spent more time with many of you.  

   I was so impressed with the personal interviews that were included in the evening program.  That segment caused me to reflect on what significant thoughts I could share if I was ever asked "what lessons have I learned?"

    The most important lesson I learned in my high school years was that I really didn't know much,  The classes were challenging, the teachers adept, my lack of knowledge was my own fault; I didn't try very hard, and I was scared to death of the future.  Pasco High School was a safe haven for me.  I loved school, I just wasn't very good at it.

   Eventually, I feel I have achieved some modicum of success.  I had a fairly productive career in finance and banking, I have two adult children who are gaining success in their own realms, and, through a second marriage, I have two adult step daughters who are carving out their own careers.

   Looking back over the past half century, this is what I have learned:

Everything we do has value.  This includes our mistakes, especially when we learn from them.  I was raised in a family where work was everything, leisure activities were scorned.  I always felt a few guilty twinges when I went fishing or was building a model aircraft.  When my wife of 30 years was diagnosed with dementia, a counselor asked me if I had any hobbies or leisure activities that I enjoyed.  I replied yes, but my wife needs attention now.  He said, "right now, those activities that you find restful and rewarding are the most important things you can do. Your wife is totally disabled.  If the stress of caring for her takes you down, you're screwed.  You need a diversion."  He was right.  It took some time, but now I can watch a sunset or paint a figure without thinking about the chores I might otherwise be doing.  

     Unless we come up with a cure for cancer, or discover another planet, our lives are shaped by "the little things."  My son just turned thirty-three years old.  Two years ago, while waiting for the birth of his first child, he said, "you were a great dad."  Of course, I had to ask, "what did I do that was so great?"  He said, "you took me fishing, we built model planes together, and we went to model competitions.  None of my friends' dads did any of that."  So a few hours building plastic models trumped trips to Mexico, Washington D.C., civil war battlefields of Gettysburg, Fredricksburg, and Manassas, and Arlington National Cemetery.  Never discount the value of little events.

Anger will kill us.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I have spent too much of my life being angry.  The sources and reasons aren't that important, what's vital to know is that this emotion can wreck your life, your health, your career--anything you hold dear.  Anger shoves positive emotions away, They simply can't coexist.  You can't be angry and compassionate; you can't be angry and loving, and you certainly can't be angry and happy.  The only emotion that can live with anger is hatred, and that can impact our lives in so many terrible ways.  

     People who know the debilitating effects of anger work hard to keep their emotions positive.  This was news to me when I heard about it; I thought people happy, positive people were a little silly and empty-headed.  I was surprised to learn that remaining happy and free of anger requires lots of self-discipline and work.  It doesn't come naturally.  

    Yes, it only took me about a half century to realize these two important facts.  They helped me stay alive this long to have a loving family, and to enjoy the fellowship of friends I have known since high school.               

 
Edited 12/27/14 01:22 PM
RE: -And it only Took Half a Century
Posted Saturday, December 27, 2014 01:05 AM

Joe: Well thought out, well said, and well done. Thank you for your wisdom.

Allen Johnson
allenjohnsonphd@charter.net
509-627-3000 (Richland, WA)

 
RE: -And it only Took Half a Century
Posted Saturday, December 27, 2014 01:05 AM

Joe: Well thought out, well said, and well done. Thank you for your wisdom.

Allen Johnson
allenjohnsonphd@charter.net
509-627-3000 (Richland, WA)

 
RE: -And it only Took Half a Century
Posted Saturday, December 27, 2014 06:12 PM

Dear Joe,

Practical wisdom is timely in any year of our lives. Thank you for your clarity and honesty.

Warmly, Candy