My Life & Sliced Bread

A loaf of sliced bread on top of a table.

I sometimes imagine my life as a loaf of sliced bread.  Looking down on that loaf, I pull up the slice at the far end and there I am, 10 years old and squabbling with my younger brother over who’s washing or drying the dishes after dinner (drying was the easiest).

 I gently place the slice back in its place and jump forward a few slices and there I am, 20 something years old with a wife and two young children (boy & girl), I am on the patio of our home, laying on a blanket as my 1-year-old daughter sits on my chest playing with her daddy’s long nose.  My three-year-old son is in the background playing with a small, metal Tonka dump truck. 

I place that slice back in its slot and jump forward a few more slices and pull one out and there I am, fifty something, divorced, and looking distraught and confused.  I remember that guy and what he was going thru and I kinda feel sorry for him. 

Quickly, I return that slice to the empty spot and moved towards the front of the loaf and retrieve another, and there I am, happily re-married and living a good and satisfying life. 

I glance down at the loaf and see quite a few slices left, and yet, I’m holding the slice that is my current life! 

I must admit I was tempted to return that slice and pick up the ones that would tell me what was yet to come.  As my hand nervously reached for the next slice of bread, I drew it back, knowing that I should never see what was in my future.

I believe that most of us worry about things that will never happen, but because of insecurities, we are pessimistic and are always waiting for something bad to happen.  I am confident that if I retrieved that last piece of bread and it revealed my end-of-life struggle, I would spend my remaining days on this wonderful planet worried about it. 

Having the will to resist that temptation brought a smile to my face as I slowly inched the loaf back into the cupboard, vowing that I would never be tempted to revisit that decision. 

John Green said, “One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life,â€.  That describes my life very well!

The custom of giving a woman an engagement ring began in 1200AD, when medieval Italians believed diamonds were created in the Flames of Love.  That custom has continued and flourished over time, and now men go to elaborate lengths to make their proposal unique.  Planes write it in the sky, men get down on one knee onstage at concerts, ice skating rinks and many other odd and interesting places. 

When I proposed to my wife, I had the waiter, in a nice restaurant, drop her ring in a glass of Champagne and serve it to her while we sat across from her mother and father.  I was fearful that she may swallow it but that fine beverage is for sipping and I was confident she would discover it easily.  Still, there was some concern on my part. 

To my knowledge, I know of no one that was spurned when the question was popped, but I am confident it has happened.  I think we should use the same theory a courtroom lawyer uses, “Don’t ask a question if you don’t already know the answerâ€. 

Everyone loves a good wedding and thousands of dollars are spent on that festive occasion and yet, half of all marriages end in divorce.  That’s sorta like buying a car and there’s a 50% chance it will fail you before the warranty expires. 

So, what’s the solution to this dilemma?  First, the courtship should last at least two years and second, never spend more than one month’s salary on the wedding.  If a Dad is paying, it’s just as important.  My wife and I were invited to a wedding, and we barely knew the couple, but they wanted a lot of people there (Dad was paying), so we went.  I was so uncomfortable and resolved never to do that again.

I think marriage is a wonderful thing.  Nothing seems more special than seeing a couple wrapped-up in the excitement of each other.  In my view, to make a marriage last, you need to approach it with the idea that there are two people in the boat, and both need to be rowing.  If only one rows, trouble is not too far away.

“Love makes life meaningful and the world more beautiful; if it makes your life more miserable, then it isn’t love,â€â€¦. Peter Saysomphane

Scientists note that employees should keep working until the age of 80, but that they should only work 25 hours a week to be productive.  I believe it’s an excellent plan.  That means our children would only go to school 3 days a week, the grocery stores would only open that many days (I don’t think they would double their staff and leave prices the same), and hospitals would only work 3 days. 

Our lives would change dramatically.  Many years ago, my state (Virginia) had the “Sunday Blue Lawâ€, and only a few business’ could open on that day.  In addition, you couldn’t purchase alcohol on that day.  Just about everyone I knew disliked that law.  I think the alcohol thing had a lot to do with it 😊.

I have a close relative that only works 3 days each week, and she is a very happy person.  So, yea, it might be a good idea to work that long each week and continue until you’re 80.  I don’t know the logistics of that yet. The average age of death in the USA is 79, meaning that half of us pass on before that age and a half afterwards.  But it means you can enjoy part of your retirement before you die.  Three days on and four days off each week sorta has a nice ring to it. 

Would it make us a lazier society?  There is that possibility.  I think we would be happier, given the extra time to pursue our personal goals and spend more time with those we love.  Instead of working more than 97,000 hours in our lifetime, we would work slightly over 80,000.  I would never have guessed that working two days less each week would result in saving 17,000 working hours in my lifetime.

If that plan had been put in place back when George Washington was our president, how would our lives had been changed?  Probably a lot of the inventions we enjoy so much today wouldn’t exist.  I do know that when I have a serious problem to resolve, if I pursue it long enough, I will almost always find the solution.  If I took four days off, I would never get it solved. 

It takes about five hours for sunlight to reach Pluto. It takes eight minutes to reach Earth. It’s gonna take more than five hours for sunlight to reach my brain, allowing me to figure out if this thing could work.

 So, after all this discussion, am I for it or against it (shorter work week & working until age 80)?  Well, I don’t think it would work as well as I wanted it to, but I’m willing to give it a try 😊. 

T. S. Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can find out how far one can possibly go,â€.  Lots of truth in that quote.

Wherever you are in this world, I hope your family loves you as much as mine loves me.  I know you will return their love abundantly.  That is my intent as well.