Diary, Family

It’s been a rough season…

With our second great grandchild, the first boy in the family in 3 generations.

All my life I’ve been an optimist. I’ve recognized “problems” along life’s way but I’ve always been able — quite easily — to put them to the side and keep moving forward. But even aside from COVID I’ve found the past year or so to be exceptionally challenging.

I’m not yet sure if this marks the beginning of my return to regular posting or not. I’m going to give it a try, to see what happens. But I am at least going to give it a try.

That said, the blogosphere as I know it has changed significantly over the past couple years. While I have tried to dribble out a few posts here and there — to keep the site just a little bit active — a good number of the bloggers I have followed with interest seem to have disappeared from sight/site altogether. That makes me sad. I know we are all struggling our way through the longterm effects of COVID isolation but sadly making our own non-face-to-face isolation even worse won’t help anyone’s mental health at all.

Let me take a few minutes and catch you up on what’s been going on.

  • WE have both (Peggy and myself) avoided contracting COVID. That’s the good news.
  • No one in our nearby family did either.
  • That said, Peg’s brother Fred in California did in connection with a fall and broken bones which put him in hospital and at 80+ years of age with throat cancer he sadly passed a couple months ago. It had been several years since we’d seen him and we felt we could not safely make the funeral trip ourselves so that has been the sad part of our life.
  • Just before the beginning of COVID we were blessed without ur first great grand baby — a girl named Sophia. She is now a month shy of 3 and a lovely addition to the family.
  • A month ago we added another great grand child to the list — a boy named James.
  • On the health front we have been visiting more doctors than pleases us.
  • On top of the routine visits I’ve had my appendix removed.
  • And then there was a Fugax Amarousa (or maybe it’s Amarousa Fugax, I don’t know)— which is a short term partial loss of sight in one eye. Obviously they were concerned about a conventional stroke but after more tests than you can shake a stick at they concluded that it wasn’t veins, and wasn’t heart, and wasn’t clogged arteries — that it was just the optic nerve but still they are monitoring me as a stroke patient out of safety concerns. And they permanently installed a LINQ monitor to determine whether I’m having any heart issues that haven’t been diagnosed.
  • All of those things have seen multiple appointments, multiple blood draws, multiple tests and while I’m glad to be near world-class medical help, it all does get boring — and tedious.
Sophia & James / June 2022

With all this stuff going on in the middle of a pandemic it’s been challenging. I freely acknowledge sometimes feeling depressed — but I sincerely believe that anyone alive in 2022 who doesn’t have situational depression simply isn’t paying attention to the world around them. So, while I have talked this through (actually Peggy and I both have) with our general practitioner it’s not something needing treatment.

We live in a suburb of Milwaukee. While Milwaukee is a hugely Democratic community the outlying suburbs are not. Our town of Franklin is way more GOP than I’m comfortable with but there are reasons we live here that override out our dissatisfaction with the political climate. That being the case I still find myself in a very uncomfortable situation. And the idea that literally 1/2 of the country seem to feel that Donald Trump and his kind are good for the nation strikes me as horribly disheartening. While I have always been optimistic I find myself less so than at any point in my life.

On the COVID front we are both vaccinated and twice boosted. My own lungs give me good reason to NOT WANT to contract COVID. As a result we still mask up for anytime we are in public — which isn’t all that often. Routinely we are the only people in the grocery still wearing masks. Even going at early hours so as not to be around many people. We have ventured out a few times to restaurants where we felt less than comfortable even though all the places we chose were doing a decent job of keeping customers separated and taking appropriate health precautions.

The results of all the stress and the COVID-necessitated isolation has been that I simply haven’t felt like putting anything down on paper. Partly because I don’t want to be reactionary — and there have been a lot of events that push me in that direction. Partly because I’ve ben thinking thoughts about the overall world scene that I’m not sure I want to share with anyone yet. And partly because as one ages it’s simply not quite as easy to compose intelligent content.

We still have a place near he Wisconsin Dells where we can get away from the city and it’s a welcome haven. But at the cost of fuel lately we no longer view the 250 mile round trip quite as casually as in times past.

I guess that’s enough of a catch up for now. I’ll try to talk with you again soon.

Ideas, Old Diary

Hear Your Enemy/Opponent/Customer

Most of us think “We are the good guys.”  That is simply the way the human mind works.  People don’t set out to be despicable humans; on some level, for some reason, we all think we’re doing the right thing for our circumstances.

Of course the kicker there is for our circumstances.  I say that because in cases like insurgency, or armed rebellion the folks down there fighting with sticks and stones instead of rockets and computers are doing so because they think they have no alternative because of what has been done to them previously.

That is one of the reasons that peace in the Middle East has been such a hard sought goal.  The social makeup of that area views justice as a very different thing from our Western view.  We tend to isolate instances and if someone does something against me on Wednesday I’m in court on Thursday seeking redress for that action.  But the Middle Eastern mind tends to have a longer view of justice.  How can you get justice for what was done on Wednesday if you haven’t first addressed what was done to me on Tuesday and Monday and the Sunday previous.  Justice can be isolated to instances and it becomes cumulative, or it can be viewed in toto and sought as a summation.  When one part of the negotiating team is seeking one form of justice while the other has it’s eyes on something completely different the complexity of negotiation is multiplied exponentially.

The thing is, though, that we can never achieve peace, or to be far more practical, make a profit, if we don’t listen to the people on the other side of the fence.  Business is learning that.  In recent years businesses around the world are learning to respond to the feelings of customers.  Businesses have an immediate need to do so.  No sales, the company goes bankrupt, people lose jobs, banks lose money…. you know the drill.

But governments don’t go “bankrupt” in the same way.  And they can continue in a course of action for years, for decades, for centuries and unless something changes to cause them to see the world differently there will be no change.  The United States, for example, feeling it’s superiority over other nations has been at war for the better part of it’s 200 + year history.  As a nation we don’t know how not to be at war — in part because a huge part of our economy is based in the jobs the Arms Industry provides to the population.

Take a couple minutes to listen to this video.  Regardless of it’s origin I challenge you to find fault with it’s logic.


I say, “regardless of it’s origin” because as you’ll notice it bears the logo for Al Jazeera.  Al Jazeera you may recall is a Middle Eastern news source, originating in Qatar.  Understandably the bias (and EVERY new source has it’s bias) is different from a news outlet originating in the U.S. but different does not automatically mean “wrong.”

A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a little, wooden, pocket coin.  IT wasn’t currency, it was a reminder.  engraved on both sides were the admonition,

hear the other side

and I can’t tell you how big an impact it had on me.  Carrying that around with me when I was making the rounds of customers served as an excellent reminder to listen first before I started formulating a response. You do realize that formulating a response while someone else is talking is a big problem for us here in the U.S.  We can be so sure of ourselves that we don’t care what the other person is saying because we are certain we are right.  And we’ll be doggone if anyone is going to tell us otherwise!

The thing is, sometimes the U.S. has sometimes been the equivalent of the Evil Empire.  Our First Nations surely would agree — after all we treated the first residents of North America disgracefully, and in fact we continue doing so as government at the behest of business continue taking land and resources from Native Americans in violation of treaties we made with them.

We are at a point in history when military mistakes can make the earth uninhabitable for us all.  The impetus for peace is greater than it’s ever been and yet there seems little willingness to consider peace as an alternative as long as the military has new toys to play with that they are just itching to use.  And decisions made in private without the light of public scrutiny are guaranteed to favor the few and not the many.

Activities, Old Diary, Travel

Ice Fishing Anyone?

Brrrrrrr….. Thus far this winter we have been both colder and dryer than average here in Southeastern Wisconsin.  That hasn’t bothered me much.  I never spend a lot of time outdoors in winter.  (Well, not since I stopped flatbedding – cuz then I had to tarp most of my loads and that involved a couple hours in the cold no matter how warm or frigid it might be) We get out to do our chores; when the weather is into the 30’s and 40’s we’ll take a walk outdoors, but most of our walking happens at the mall or while we are running errands.

Not everyone in Wisconsin is like minded.  We did get over to Bong State Recreation Area some time ago and there are people ice fishing all over the lake.

You can’t see much from this shot but there are at least 30 holes in the ice out there!  I’m surprised there aren’t more tents/shelters too….

When I was younger and before my hands were badly frostbitten we did a lot more outdoors in the cold.  Milwaukee used to provide wonderful iced toboggan slides.  The accompanying photo of one at Whitnal Park — the place we most often went — will give you an idea.  Going downhill was always fun; climbing back uphill not quite so much; and standing in line waiting for your next turn could be absolutely ear-numbing!

I guess you have to like fishing a lot to want to go ice fishing.  I haven’t dunked a line in the lake since I was… maybe… 12.  At Mauthe Lake, on a clear summer’s day, with my dad back at the campsite waiting for my selection of panfish that he  hoped were going to be our lunch.

Some years ago while we were still RV’ing we saw some ice fishing trailers and were quite astonished.  I can’t imagine sitting in a cold tent, or a little portable shed, much less spending thousands and thousands of dollars to buy a specially constructed trailer that will raise up it’s wheels so the base sits directly on the ice, and pre-manufactured holes in the floor for your fishing line to go through — but people do.

The same day we saw the ice fishermen we also saw a guy with his (possibly brand new) quad  — taking pictures of it.  There’s not enough snow for snowmobiling, so I guess the next best thing is to roar around on a quad pretending that there’s a lot of snow.  It seems that modern day outdoorsmen can’t do anything without an expensive tool or equipment.

As for me, I’m happy with activities that I can do any time of year, and often indoors.  I may not be as physically active but I still have a good time and I don’t get frostbitten.

Old Diary, Relationships

The Shaving Shelf

I stood at the sink, shaving. But my eyes weren’t on the mirror, they were on the glass shelf that hangs on the wall next to the sink.

Years ago my parents owned a small, mom & pop, hardware store. I wish I still had photos of the place, but I was too young to be thinking of photographs back then (I was only a few years old at the time). Still, even at such a young age I remember a few things about living above a hardware store, and what life was like for my parents — the only employees.

We sold glass, everything from window glass to thicker sheets the likes of which you’d use for shelves, etc. The glass was kept in the basement — a dark, dank place that I only ventured into when I was with mom or dad — it scared the bejeezus out of me!  There were vertical racks where large panes were stored and a long table on which the panes could be placed — one by one — and cut to size. Whatever size you wanted.  Right there, on the spot. 

It is that which I remember most about living with the hardware store. The fact that people came in with problems and my folks were there to help them out of the problem:  if it involved cutting a piece of glass to size, then that was what they did.

How well I can still hear the sound of a glass cutter on glass.  Then there was that certain “tink” when the glass surrendered at the scribed line drawn by the glass cutter — breaking smooth and clean.

It used to be that small stores dotted the landscape.  Driving along a city street there were a lot of storefronts with residence space above.  I’ve often wished we could find an apartment in such a building; I loved the idea of being able to live in the middle of a bustling business community — of course, nowadays those small stores spread along the city street are dying and with them a way of life.

I looked at that shelf and thought back to a thousand times I walked into a little mom & pop store.  I remember the mixture of greetings I received; sometimes cheery, other times glum, periodically I was aware that the shop owner might even have wished I hadn’t have walked in the door.

I thought about what happens when I walk into a Big Box store, a Walmart or a Home Depot and there I’m met by a “greeter”; a person who’s sole job is to make you think they are happy to see you.  It’s a far cry from a shop owner whom you know by name welcoming you into their world and hoping they can be of assistance.

I suspect that if I walked into the same Big Box store at the same time every day I’d rarely if ever run into the same greeter; fact of the matter is I pay no attention to the greeters at the stores I shop in.  They are irrelevant.  Oh, I don’t mean personally, but they truly have no reason for being there.  In today’s shopping world they don’t really serve a useful purpose.  They aren’t necessarily familiar with where to find things.  They aren’t supposed to leave their station so they can’t take you to where you want to go.  All they do is stand around “looking friendly” and maybe pushing a shopping cart at you to encourage you to purchase more than you intend.

The thing about small stores and their clerks is that they need you and they know it.  They may not love their job but there is a tacit recognition that they need to service you if they are going to make a living.  Most of them (at least in my experience — and I tend to greet everyone I meet with a smile and a cheery “good morning”) are happy to help out — whether it’s point me to the right aisle, or helping me find a product, or as in the case with finding the right sized screws or bolts, they will rummage around in the bins until they find just the right size for my need.

What you built were relationships with the people who serviced your needs.  You’d chat across the meat counter with the butcher.  A good butcher would know you on sight and know whether you wanted one or two or three pork chops.  The dry cleaner did more than clean your suits; was expert at removing all manner of stains; and it wasn’t too much to expect them to sew on a loose button or two.  You knew them; they knew you; you expected certain things from each other.

We try, as much as possible, to deal with small retailers/craftsmen/suppliers.  Their livelihood depends on local support and in ways that have nothing to do with dollars and cents the community depends on the local business owner. That morning I left the bathroom a little bit saddened that those mom & pop stores are disappearing. The Waltons, owners of Walmart, don’t really need my money — they are rich enough already.  My little bit of business isn’t going to hurt them.  But my little bit of business will help some of those little guys hang around a little longer.  It’s not a big thing that I do, but it’s worth while.


Old Diary, Relationships


To go where no one has gone before?  Or maybe just to retrace one’s steps down memory lane. That is the question of the day.

Actually, it was the question for yesterday….

Because we had been cooped up in the house for a couple days and we were in the mood for a mini road trip; but where to go?

The story may be about modern history but it has roots in our personality and says more about who we are, and perhaps who you are, than might at first be evident.

Back in 2011, before we went full time RV’ing we were faced with a winter where we owned a brand new-to-us RV and had to put it in storage for the winter.  Being new to the idea of owning a motorcoach I was obsessed about keeping the batteries sufficiently charged and the coach regularly moving so our solution to the problem was to “exercise” the coach about once a month on a day when the temps were warm enough that we could start the diesel without extreme measures or jumper cables.

a former employer

We made four or five short trips that winter; each of them fun and interesting in it’s own right.  It had been 10 years since I’d been in a driver for Lamers Bus, and while I hadn’t forgotten all that much about coach-ing you do tend to lose your skills and refresher time behind the wheel is always good. So, those were days to spend time together, talking and sharing our ideas of what full time RV’ing would be ‘like’ when we finally got the chance to do it, and seeing a little bit of the countryside.

Now, 7 years later, we find ourselves returning to Wisconsin and wanting to reacquaint ourselves without home state and just how do you do that?  We’ve always enjoyed a good drive and day trips are one of the more pleasant ways of getting out to see and do what there is to be seen, and done!

One of those 2011 trips had been to an un-memorable county park named Carlin Weld. The “most notable” feature of the park was… it’s name.  For some odd reason the memory of having been there brought back a warm-all-over feeling.  It wasn’t the park. It was who I’d been with when I was there — and not for all that long either — and memories of a time when we were looking forward to new adventures together; after a lifetime of working apart we were finally going to get the opportunity to be together — exploring the world — without interruption.

Today (well, technically “yesterday”) we are at a similar though very different place.  Once again we find ourselves at a crossroad:  new horizons await; new adventures too.  What will come of them.  The best part is that we are still having fun being together all the time. I know that’s not always the case with couples; we know plenty of them that don’t do much of anything together and when they are together they seem to get on each others nerves.  But we’re fortunate.

I guess the important “part” of this blog is that it doesn’t take much to make us happy.  Something to do together. Time to chat idly when the TV isn’t distracting us, or a puzzle isn’t calling our name.  The mindlessness of a drive in the country is the perfect opportunity to commune with each other.  (Next to a leisurely stroll through the woods — but it’s way to cold for me to enjoy that right now!)

So, we drove there again, yesterday.  It wasn’t far.  We stayed on the back roads.  We were reminded of the system of Wisconsin Rustic Roads — a couple of which we passed along the route. And if you aren’t familiar with the system of  Rustic Roads in Wisconsin you are missing out. (The link gets you a download of the Wisconsin Rustic Roads Guide)  You can’t “take them anywhere”; they aren’t contiguous. They don’t lead anywhere; they aren’t purpose built.  They are a glimpse back into the world and the life of yesteryear. Most of them are under 5 miles long.  They wind and twist through Wisconsin — little snippets of historically irrelevancy — but they are fun to drive.

My point being simply that they are opportunities for kismet, for happenstance, for whimsy. You don’t have to have a reason for taking a mini road trip — sometimes you spirit just needs to get out and breathe — and what better way to do it than to see a sign, and respond to it.


That was how we found Carlin Weld in the first place.  We were traveling a highway and saw a sign to a county park.  We said, “what the heck” and turned to follow the sign.  What we found was small, not very exciting, and in the circumstance it was also snow covered and blustery being in January — but it made a pleasant memory and provided time to enjoy just being together.  I never thought back then in 2011 that I’d want to return.  But then I didn’t know in 2011 that 6 years later I’d be back in Wisconsin wanting to travel again the old roads, to remember where this one leads and where that one needs pot-hole filling.  It’s not about great adventures; it’s about little moments of happiness.

These mini road trips aren’t about going places.  They aren’t about great adventures.  They are about the simple act of investing in one’s own future with their spouse.  You may not enjoy time in the car.  For you, the investment in your spouse might be a night out bowling — not so much for the bowling as for the time between balls.  Seeing as you know I dislike baseball — your investment could be taking your spouse to a game — if you’re like me and bored to death by the game — it would just be a perfect opportunity to sit in the bleachers on a sunny afternoon and tell each other stories.   Things like an afternoon on the beach might not be the best way to invest in each other; not if the guy is looking at all the other women and the wife is looking at all the other men.  These kind of investments have to be about a time when the both of you are just sort of coasting mentally, when there is no agenda, no plan, no schedule.  When your mind is free to wander you get to find out how well your minds (both of you) wander in the same direction.

I hear couples say they grew out of touch.  And the question comes to mind, “what have you done to STAY in touch?”

For us, it’s often these little mini road trips.  For you it might be something quite different.  The only proof of the pudding as to whether it’s an effective gimmick, is whether or not the two of you feel closer as a result.  So there’s no cheating here.  You can tell yourself you’re doing it for someone else, but if you resent the time, or the effort, or the expense then you’re only fooling yourself.

For more information about Wisconsin Rustic Roads, just Google the expression.  That way if the state changes it’s website you’ll always go to the right place. 🙂

Old Diary

Watch those fuses

I finally got around to selling my Brake Buddy Classic.  It’s been sort of fun with the few remaining bits and bobs from our time RV’ing that as we have managed to sell them off, one by one, there have been no regrets, no second thoughts, it’s all been a very satisfying experience.

Well, almost all.

You see, after I advertised on Craigslist to sell the unit, and after I had a buyer there remained the singular task of making the final sale.  The buyer (rightly) wanted to see the unit in operation.  And I was silly enough to neglect checking on the fuse size to the accessory outlet in the only vehicle we have:  the Subaru Outback.

Sure enough, I plugged the Brake Buddy into the accessory outlet and with no air pressure in storage the unit worked just fine.  But as the demonstration proceeded and I asked the unit to re-pressurize the air chamber after doing the required pre-trip braking cycles — under pressure the unit pulled more than 10 amps and blew a fuse in the Outback!

I explained what happened to the buyer, showing him the spot in the operators manual saying the circuit needs to have a 15 amp fuse and we closed on the deal with no greater difficulties.  Which is ok.   A little embarrassment from time to time does a fellow good!

Still, it was a good reminder.  Accessories to have needs.  And you need to be careful about fulfilling those needs.

Right now my “need” is figuring out which fuse in which of 2 fuse boxes burned out.  You see after looking up the diagram for fuses in the Subaru Owners Manual for the correct model and year I realized that the Subaru is in fact a non-smoker’s car.  There are ZERO ash trays in the car.  The manual shows you that you can use a cupholder for the resting spot for an ADD-ON ASHTRAY, of which they conveniently show an example.  Furthermore the accessory outlets are not called cigarette lighters, they are for accessories!  And the manual tells you specifically that you should not attempt to power a cigarette lighter from those outlets.

So why is it that the designation on the fuse box diagram says:  CIGAR?

Go Figure!

Still, we sold the Brake Buddy.  I knew I had a supply of fuses somewhere… and a beautiful January morning with 40º temps made it easy to go through the seven tubs of miscellaneous “stuff” that we are storing in the garage — in search for the small plastic tray containing spare auto fuses.  I found them.  Wouldn’t you know it would be in the last of the 7 that I had to open.  I could not have managed to find them in the first or the second tub.  Oh, No!  Look through them all, why not!  But I have a supply of fuses and I did not have to go out to purchase more.  Which would have been my solution a couple years ago.  But, you know, I’m a retiree now, and there’s this thing about retirees that we’re all supposed to be so poor and we can’t afford to buy anything and why would I want to go out and buy more fuses when I had some perfectly good ones somewhere…. somewhere…. somewhere in that last box that I haven’t looked inside of for 5 months.

Whew!  I’m glad that’s done.

Now I just have this big Pelican waterproof case to sell.

Know anyone who wants a great case for camera equipment? 🙂

Old Diary

Hiatus No More

skotan-No-signI’m done hiatus-ing.

The new Life Unscripted will be a little different but not a whole lot.  I’m still the same person so the writing won’t change much.

What will be different is that I am consciously leaving behind comment on the world of full-time RV’ing in favor of an emphasis on the life we are now living.  That means a focus on what’s happening in our life (mine and Peg’s) — even though we may be going fewer places and seemingly having fewer exciting experiences.  After all, life isn’t all about adventure. Some of it, indeed most of it, is about the hum drum decisions of routine life.  That means coping with changes — changes we aren’t always happy with: in the world, in our families, in our selves, in our health, finances, etc.

The change in emphasis doesn’t seem all that great to you, but it took a significant change to my state of mind to bring it about.  I’m sure it will be worth it — at least it will be for me.  🙂

There are things in this life that are important to me.  Things beyond putting food in my tummy — although that can be exceedingly fun! I want to spend some time talking about those things.  And about how we can cope with a world far larger than any of us can control or even understand.


Life is getting ever more complicated. We face challenges as individuals, as groups, and also as a species.  Which of these challenges we will acknowledge has yet to be seen.  And those challenges we not only acknowledge but also engage in changing to meet will determine how and where this unscripted life will end.  For us individually, and for us collectively.

Come on along and join in the fun. We’ll travel a little, eat a little, laugh a little, and get up on a soap box from time to time — I’m sure.  But it’s all in the name of fun and no one dares take themselves too seriously.

Old Diary

I wasn’t always old

Peg & I were have been binge watching the British detective series A Touch of Frost with David Jason recently;  it’s part of the BritBox package for those who might be interested, and you can find some episodes on YouTube as well.

In a recently viewed episode I chuckled at a scene in which an old woman is showing photographs which her TV husband had taken of her when she was a lithe and winsome lass — sans clothing — and she says to the detective, “I wasn’t always old.”  There’s something so utterly human about that interchange.

We don’t talk much about the process of aging in this country.  In fact over the last 50 or 70 years we have been doing a lot (as a society) to remove old age, death, and dying from sight.  It began as cities got bigger and bigger and we no longer saw the process of killing animals for food — through the introduction of that great invention the grocery store.  But hospitals hide disease from our prying eyes, old age homes hide the elderly from our eyes. Because so many of our population move about the country for jobs we no longer have nuclear family units so the family is less and less likely to care for their own old — and besides, most of the modern family members work so even if the old did live with us we wouldn’t be there to care for them ourselves.

When my grandparents were getting on in years my parents took the bold step of buying a building — first an 8 family apartment, which they later traded for a 12 family apartment — so that there would be a place close by for the senior members of our clan.  For the most part my grand parents lived their final years there and died there.  As did my parents.  Only then did we sell the building and get away from the ghosts that remained.  But not all are in a position to do that sort of thing.  And not all families get along well enough to tolerate that sort of arrangement.

Still, there is this thing about aging…

You can’t explain to someone younger than yourself what it’s like to be your age.  The changes that take place as a result of aging are only really understood by going through the process yourself.  Unfortunately, with the decline of the nuclear family a lot of youngsters are denied the privilege and the experience of growing up with older adults nearby.  They are denied the chance to learn from oldsters about life, about family, about caring, about responsibility, about nurture.  They grow up, for the most part, with people their own age — who as has been the case for millennia — know just about as much as their fellows.  There’s not accumulated wisdom to be handed down from contemporaries.  You’re all learning pretty much the same things at the same time and having equal opportunities to make the same mistakes.

The thing about getting older is that our brain is on a time delay — lagging behind the body in acknowledging the advance of age.  I still feel like a 30 year old in many ways even though my body refuses to do the things I could do at age 30.  I’m fortunate in not having many aches and pains — Peg’s not so lucky as she has more problems with arthritis than I.  But even on those days when my body is feeling it’s age my brain isn’t so willing to behave accordingly.

As we age our physical image changes.  Wrinkles replace smooth, unblemished skin.  Muscles atrophy.  Fewer and fewer heads turn as once physically beautiful women enter the room.  We find it impossible to rid ourselves of that little (or not so little) paunch above our belt.  There’s less and less to attract the eye, and more and more to astonish the heart.  Aging changes us. Most of us learn from our mistakes, and perhaps make fewer of them.  Many of us learn to appreciate other humans more, and more, and more as we go through those periods in life when we cannot do certain things and are forced to rely on someone else to do them for us.  Even when we are unlucky enough to run into not-particularly-skilled helpers they are still people who can do something that we are, in our current circumstance, unable to do for ourselves.

In my life, I’m supposed to be abiding by weight lifting restrictions.  I cannot begin to convey how often I run smack dab into that limit. It infuriates me.  But I’m also learning to appreciate little things that my parents and their friends went through.  I’m thankful for my part that I grew up around older people, I learned some of the things to look for in their lives to help them out and sometimes I see younger folks around me that learned to pay attention to the needs of others — that’s a real joy — because too often you see people who are only interested in themselves and aren’t aware of what someone else might need. Not what they want, but what they need.

For the most part I find getting older to be a hoot.  The world makes more sense to me now.  I can see things in perspective and most of them don’t bother me as much as once they did.  I’m glad for the craziness in my youth.  I wasn’t much of a cut-up; I was way too serious in my youth.  But still, I did, and we did together, the things we wanted when we were young enough to be able.  Now I can look back with lots of memories on times had with wonderful friends.  The early part of our lives together we spent with lots of people around us all the time, and while I enjoyed all those people I’m also glad that our life is quieter now.  All of that busy-ness was “fun” but I don’t know that being busy made me any better of a person.

I’m sure that like that old lady in the Frost series I have my own secret delights.  I don’t think of them that way because unlike that character on TV who had been inhibited from sharing things with others I’ve tried to live my life as openly as I could — I’m not a big secret person.  I’m not into keeping secrets.  For the most part I think secrets are divisive and harmful.  I’m all in favor of government accountability, and corporate accountability, and personal… you got it… accountability.

There’s a lot of paranoia about what will happen to people if the government cripples Social Security.  I think there’s a far more important subject to be concerned with — not that Social Security isn’t important (for too many of our citizens it’s a matter of life and death).  We don’t deal with aging honestly in this country.  In the same way that the current fever about sexual harassment is a short term hot-spot, the question of what to do about our aging population is a topic we haven’t even really begun to talk about.

Automation is making workers increasingly dispensable.  In many areas of life machines can do what humans do far better, for less cost, without tiring.  So what do we do with all the humans on this planet.  We cannot continue using earth’s resources at the rate we are without compromising our ability to feed and house the earth’s population; and the concept of a global war that would leave societies in tatters is a terrible thought.  Scientists have broached the topic in the popular news about the 6th Great Decimation of Population — whether from an asteroid hitting earth or a worldwide epidemic — but such sober thoughts are not the seeds of public discourse.  No one wants to think about them, no one wants to talk about them, everyone hopes that those nightmares will simply fade away from memory and life will go on as it “always has.”

Healthcare means that more people are living longer. Whether they are living better is probably not for us to decide.  We are far from subjective about the topic.  History books — written 200 years from now will better be able to say whether we were a society that cared for one another, or not.   Only then, when those then alive have seen what has come of our our children’s children will anyone be in a position to say they were wise, or foolish, or neglectful or conservationists.

We have our share of ethnic cleansing going on right now around the world.  But it’s been since WWII that we have seen real mass deaths.  The total death toll from WWI has been estimated to be some 15-20 million.  The total death toll from WWII zoomed past that to somewhere between 50 and 80 million.  We haven’t seen plague-like epidemics as were common in the Dark Ages and Medieval times, but the potential does exist.  It’s possible that dealing with “old people” might not be such a big problem should something like those events occur.

But for now, we have a burgeoning world population and a declining utilization of the population. Just what all these people will do in old age is going to be interesting.  Surely, they aren’t all going to go RV’ing as we did. One of the reasons we chose to quit the RV lifestyle is that even in the 6 years we were active we saw a huge difference in how easy it was to live the life.  Little changes here and there caused by the retiring of more and more Baby Boomers served as the writing-on-the-wall for us.  We looked down the tunnel of time and said, “maybe it’s a good time to get out.”  And we are happy we did.

The thing about government that troubles me is that there’s no party, no congress, no leadership looking into the future saying, “this is where we are going, and these are the problems we will face as we get there.”  It doesn’t help that scientists are being stripped from government in favor of ideology and party positions. With a growing population and increasing pressure on global natural resources the opportunity for conflict grows by the day.  Conflict in an era of atomic power is far more frightening in terms of human suffering; but it’s also far more frightening in terms of the post conflict impact on the earth’s ability to support those who remain.  And a world in which no men or women of vision are even considering how best to navigate the troubled waters ahead is even moreso.

The one good thing about getting to a point where one might say, “I haven’t always been old” is that it also means you aren’t going to be around all that much longer (on a macro scale — even if “longer” is 20 or 30 years).  One could say, leave it to others.  But that’s the one thing about aging — it teaches you that no matter your age you never dare say, “leave it to others”  because you are still one of the others.