Monday, April 27, 2009

I Refuse!

I refuse to be average, to be part of the crowd. I choose to be uniquely myself, a one-of-a-kind creation, the only "me" this world will ever experience. I refuse to let others limit my interests. I choose to read and investigate and learn things for no other reason than that they interest me. I believe there is no such thing as useless knowledge, and if I find even one other person on this planet who shares an interest, it's beautiful. I refuse to accept everything I am told at face value. I choose to investigate for myself and discover what is true. I refuse to give up what is old and works for what is new and unproven. I choose to wait and see if the new really is better or makes things easier. I refuse keep up with the Joneses. I choose to do unique things that will make the Joneses want to keep up with me. And if they don't, that's OK too. I refuse to resent the success of others. I choose to celebrate their accomplishments and will delight in buying them a beer in celebration. I refuse to be bitter about the past. I choose rather to learn from my experiences and eagerly press on to the future. I refuse to do what is expected. I choose to do what is right. I refuse to retire because I have attained some standard age. I choose to work on the lay-away plan. I plan to work until they lay me away or as long as it remains fun. Life is too short for jumping through hoops or checking off boxes and I refuse to do so. Life is meant to be experienced. I choose to experience life with all of the gusto, enthusiasm, and enjoyment I can muster.

Monday, April 13, 2009

39 and Holding No More

During my weekend errands, I found myself behind a car with the tag "39 HLDNG" or "thirty-nine and holding."

My first reaction was to congratulate myself for decoding the message. My second, as one who recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his 39th birthday, was to wonder, "Were it possible to hold at a particular age, which one would I choose?"

 Seventeen was a very good year. I met the love of my life that fall, but I would not want to hold at seventeen.

 Twenty-one was a very good year. I married the girl of my dreams that fall -- the same girl I met at seventeen -- and we began our life together, but I would not want to hold at twenty-one.

 Twenty-six and twenty-seven get mixed reviews. At twenty-six, I graduated from college, went into the Army, learned to fly, and went to war. At twenty-seven, I did deeds of daring during a major battle, got shot up, and began nine months of recovery. I also greeted my first son. The times were exciting. I made some life-long friends. My life would be incomplete without my son. Nevertheless, I would not like to hold at twenty-six or twenty-seven.

 I have no particular memory of being 39. I'm sure it was a good year, but I do not wish to hold onto it. Were I to hold at 39, I would miss too much. I would miss my children growing up. I would miss a great many soccer games, baseball games, school dramas and talent shows. I would miss being part of their school, church, and social activities. I would miss their graduations from High School and college. I would miss their weddings and the births of my grand children. I would miss going to Alaska. I would miss many of the greatest experiences of my life. Thirty-nine and holding? Not me! Last year I learned the joy of being 63. This year, I'm doing a good job learning to be 64. After all, I only get one chance to be every age. And, whatever age I am, my plan is to live it well.