Tuesday 25 October 2011

Life In Retrospect

I spent a good deal of the day thinking. By that I mean it was a pretty unproductive day, but I did manage to watch a little TV and drink a lot of warm beverages. One thing that I did do today was to clean out the gutters of leaves and the dirt like stuff on the bottom of the gutter which is a little tricky to clean out.

I used to get the ladder, climb on the roof, perch myself on the edge and dig out the leaves and twigs. I find that for the past couple of years I have been getting increasingly nervous about balancing on the edge of the roof. I am heavier than I was and older of course, but the problem is more fear based than body based. I was never afraid of falling before. Maybe I didn’t believe that I could fall before, and now have finally grown back a few of the brain cells that I destroyed in my wayward youth. Whatever the reason, today I moved the ladder along a few feet, climbed up and emptied the gutter climbed back down, moved the ladder along a few feet, climbed up and emptied the gutter climbed back down etc. It was a little more work, but I am here and not hanging from the roof looking like a Halloween decoration.

xmas lights 550x733 Best Christmas Decorations Ever?
While I was thinking today, I thought about the things in life that have made me not just happy, but proud. When I was eight or nine, I bowled a two game total of 448 in five pin and still have the framed certificate to prove it. I managed to find the perfect woman that would not only love me back, but put up with me. The birth of all three of my children of course. I hiked the West Coast Trail, not once but twice. I am also happy and proud about getting to retirement and actually retiring. There are many more instances, but this is a blog, not a book.
I was never very good at sports. You see my brother was very good so no matter how well I did it was rarely if ever as good as Steve could do. I remember being very focused and intense when it came to bowling. I didn’t really have fun; it was something mom and dad had us do. I imagine they had visions of the family going to the bowling alley and having a family bowl. Never happened, but once I had two really good games for a kid and I can prove it!
We all struggle with relationships and the lucky ones eventually find that one person that for some reason can put up with all of the bullshit and in spite of everything...stay. I was very shy when I was younger, and could never ask a girl out or even to dance. I thought about how I would do it, but the fear of being turned down was just too much. The one girl I asked out on a date probably still remembers it. Everything that could did go wrong. She was terrified of heights and we left the theatre and had to climb down five flights of wrought iron stairs. We went to a steak house and she was a vegetarian. God know what else I did, but I never talked to her again. Sorry Becky. Louise saw something and bless her, she has stuck it out for more than thirty years.
The children being born terrified me. Louise didn’t have an easy time with Arwen and I thought I would lose both of them. The twins were somewhat easier, but caring for them for the first six months was a terrible strain on Louise.
The West Coast Trail is a very difficult hike and the conditions even when they are favourable can cause aches, blisters and frayed nerves. You push yourself way beyond the comfort zone.
We all dream of retirement, but all of a sudden, you don’t have the friends that you have spent a lifetime with. The reason you got up in the morning is also gone. Your identity as a corporate individual has disappeared.
I guess what I am trying to say (and not to well I might add) is that the things and experiences that I now treasure the memories of, were not as pleasant at the time. It isn’t that I have forgotten the hardships, but rather, I have come to appreciate the journey towards happiness. Life is better in retrospect; you can filter out the unpleasant and focus on the pleasant...mostly.

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