Have you noticed that women love to dance? I think they are born with an extra gene that us men don’t have. They will dance to almost any tune and have so much fun doing it. The only downside to having that special gene is they have to drag their unwilling partner out on the dance floor. As a teenager in high school, I wanted to dance but was reluctant because I thought everyone would be watching me and they would notice that I had absolutely no rhythm and very little ability. The ability comes in when you own the song and your movements are timed with every beat within that song. The really good dancers in school were always girls and the guys were just along for the ride. My mother taught me how to Waltz but nothing about “Rock & Roll” and that’s what everyone was doing. So, I spent a lot of time watching others have a great time on the dance floor. I was a really good athlete but, somehow, that did not make me a good dancer. That changed when I was 26 years old. My first wife and I were at a Christmas party and I got so plastered that I didn’t care what anyone thought about my dancing. In my drunken stupor, I realized that absolutely no one but my wife was aware I was on the floor. It’s not too many times that getting drunk can pay off but it certainly did that time. From then until now, that epiphany has paid dividends. Naa, I don’t have the gene, didn’t magically acquire it, and don’t necessarily need it, but dancing does make me happy and my wife loves that. She is completely unaware of how I got from there to here, but she certainly enjoys it. So I guess I can honestly say, with a twinkle in my eye, that whiskey and my mother taught me how to dance. She dances in Heaven with dad now, but I believe she watches me when I dance and tells dad, “I taught him to do that!” She doesn’t know about the whiskey either. Elbert Hubbard said it best, “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one”.
Sometimes I feel that clutter has taken control of my life. I accumulate things and when they outlive their usefulness, I continue to hold on to them. My PC is cluttered, my desktop is cluttered, and my workshop is cluttered. Now this is just a guess, but I’m thinking my life contains clutter as well. I know it cannot be my family and friends because they add value to my life, so where does the clutter exist? I believe it resides within the white matter that controls my thoughts and the things I dwell on daily. Maybe it’s just something that goes with age because I realize that I dwell a lot on the past. There seems to be a lot of comfort for me in remembering events of long ago. A lot of times it’s remembering things shared with loved ones that have passed on and sometimes it involves thoughts of major accomplishments. Someone asked the question; “If you have awareness moments before you die, what will you think of”? I hope it will be about what a blessed life I’ve had, and, just before the light goes out I would like to recall my earliest memory (age 3), of sitting on a bank above route 460, just below Grundy, VA and watching the cars go by and wondering where they were going. From that time to this very last minute would be my life, and I would be thankful for it. I strongly suspect the clutter in my life is of little consequence, since life without it would be barren. As Ursula Le Guin aptly said; “It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end”.
We recently drove about 1 ½ hours away to see a play titled, “I Do, I Do”, at a small theatre in Hanover, Virginia. Our good friends (Don & Louise) went with us, and it was a totally enjoyable experience. We had an excellent lunch in a local restaurant and then went in to see the play. It only had two actors (husband & wife team), so I’m thinking it’s going to be a stretch for two people to keep my attention for two hours. In addition, they sang their lines and I am not a big fan of that type of show. I guess the obvious question is, why did I go? Best answer; my wife wanted to go. The play starts with the couple getting married (thus,” I Do, I Do”), and then progressed thru raising two children and getting old together. Turned out to be a delightful play and really made my premonitions suspect. The husband & wife team were just great actors and they, along with the writer & director, made the time whiz buy and the audience was held hostage for over two hours. I have known for some time now that I make many assumptions that turn out to be wrong and I have made an effort to stop but old habits are so hard to put to rest. As James Froude so humbly said long ago; “Experience teaches slowly and at the cost of mistakes”.
A few days ago we attended a show titled “Shen Yun”. It involves approximately 40 Asian men and women doing Chinese dances. I figured, what the heck, it may last for 1 ½ hours and that would certainly be tolerable. The tickets cost $60 each and I was sorta reluctant to pay that much to watch people dance. I’m sitting in my assigned seat, next to me on my left is my wife and next to her are our friends Don & Louise. The four seats to my right are empty and I’m guessing they will remain so because the show is about to start. Within a few minutes, this big tall guy comes down the row towards me with his significant other and sits down right next to me. I would estimate his height at 6’8” and his weight at 250. I’ll bet whenever this guy flies somewhere they have to add an extra engine on each wing. I am not a small guy ( 5’10” -200 pound) but this guy made me feel small. Now, when you’re that big you can put your feet wherever you want and that also applies to your elbows. They both made their way into my assigned space as the show progressed. I was hopeful the “old guy” card could be played by me but that had absolutely no effect on him. We never spoke, I’m guessing I was overwhelmed by his size and he by my age. Now, back to the show; it lasted for 2 ½ hours and during the entire time, with more than 10, 000 choreographed dance movements (my estimate) by those 40 people onstage, I never observed one mistake. That seems an impossibility to me. How many times do you have to rehearse to have that many synchronised movements and not make a single mistake. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show and would recommend it if you ever have the chance to see it. The problem I had with the guy in the next seat reminds me of an E.B. White quote, “People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust”.
I listened to a new song by Keith Urban and a verse in it says; “Some of the best days of my life are how I wasted time”. I think there’s a lot of meaning in that verse as it pertains to the way I have lived my journey on this wonderful planet. No doubt about it, I have wasted a lot of time during my existence, some of which would include: watching all sorts of ball games, spending too much time on my PC, pondering over problems that involve me and those I love, and working on projects in my workshop destined to fail. For example, I have been pondering a plan to build a device that will kill ground moles instantly. They are constantly boring just underneath the soil looking for food and it annoys me to no end. I have wanted to build that thing for several years, but I always find something else to do. I have come to the conclusion that I can talk myself into, or out of, almost anything. That conclusion applies to many parts of my life. In retrospect, I see it occur every day and most of the time I’m not aware that it’s happening. Reminds me of a favorite quote; “The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way”. Yeah, I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life but it involved doing something I enjoyed at the time so it was worth it
I read an article a while back that said 80% of our thoughts about ourselves are negative. I can’t believe that’s true because I would be surprised if 10% of my thoughts about myself are negative. I have asked several people and they all agree that 80% is correct. Sure, I think I’m overweight, my nose is too large, my ties too loud, my shoulders too hunched, but I spend so little time thinking about myself that I could never get close to that mark. I have way to many positive thoughts about myself to ever get past 10%. I don’t think of how great a guy I am, I think of how blessed my life has been, how much I have to be thankful for, and how fortunate I am to be able to enjoy my life without the pain and suffering so many go through. I realize that could change in an instant but I remain hopeful that it won’t. I guess the point I’m making is we shouldn’t spend any time thinking negative thoughts about ourselves because if we don’t like ourselves, how can we expect others to like us. When I was a young man in my 20’s & 30’s
I asked myself this question; If there was an exact duplicate of me, would we be best friends? My answer during those early years was “no”, because I would know his every thought, and he mine, and at that time in my life some of my thoughts weren’t good Christian thoughts. Nothing that I’m ashamed of, but still, not good Christian thinking. Today that has all changed. My thoughts are pure (my standards) and my actions closely follow my thoughts. If I met another person exactly like me I would want him to become one of my best friends. I have changed a lot over the years, yeah, a little more stooped over, but there is still a twinkle in my eye, and an appetite for what’s coming down the pike tomorrow. As Abraham Lincloln so aptly said; “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.”