The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes – Marcel Proust
Sometimes Older Eyes work, too – Bud
Sage – a wise man; a man of gravity and wisdom; especially, a man venerable for years, and of sound judgment and prudence.
Curmudgeon – an ill-tempered old person full of stubborn ideas or opinions.
Fool – A person with poor judgment or little intelligence; a jester, a person whose role was to entertain a sovereign and the court, often with foolishness.
I’ve been wondering lately what it would be like to be able to relive my life knowing what I know now. Or if I was able to give my grown children a view of the world through my Older Eyes, would it change their lives? Here’s a provocative proposition: If I could get every twenty-year old to look at the world through sixty-four year old eyes for just a few minutes, it would either change them for the better or kill them. Provocative but probably not true. I doubt there are many young men making bucket lists as a result of watching Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
With a do-over unlikely and getting my children to listen to my archaic opinions only slightly less so, I’ll record the view through my Older Eyes here in Bud’s Blog. As you read each post, you decide … Sage, Curmudgeon, or Fool … we can agree to disagree on which is which. Your comments are welcome, whatever your age. If what you read changes you for the better, I’d especially like to know. Hopefully there will be no casualties. If you are new here and want a taste of my Older Perspective before diving in, The Best of Feeling Older offers a few of my favorite posts on aging.
At approximately 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, Muri and I were out looking for rugs for our almost-finished kitchen. The radio announcer was saying that Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial American Holiday, which made us feel, well, pretty unAmerican. We rarely make a big deal of the Super Bowl, although we both admit that’s partly because we aren’t invited to any parties. Still, we finished our chores in time for the kickoff, set out some chips and salsa and settled in to watch the game. And the commercials. And the half time show. And here on Older Eyes, where it’s Top Sites Tuesday #189, I thought I’d give my reflections on the game … and the commercials … and the half time show … from the only perspective I have: an older one. Continue reading
It has been an odd week and a particularly odd weekend. Muri and I are having our kitchen redone … new granite counter tops, all new appliances, tile back splash. It’s something Muri’s wanted to do for quite some time but the downturn in my business put it on hold. Now, thanks to low interest rates and a re-fi, it’s happening. For over a week, we’ve been living without a kitchen. It always seems like it will be easier than it is … Oh, we’ll use the barbeque and paper plates. But there always some dishes to do and doing them in the laundry room is a pain. Or. Oh, we’ll eat out. As much as we like to go out to eat, when you have to, it gets old. Friday, the granite installers came at 8:30 am and were here until 7:00 pm and Saturday, the appliances went in … all day. Consequently, Muri and I were confined to quarters. Yeah, they were done by Saturday night but we didn’t have the energy for a Date Night. How can watching other people work hard be so exhausting? Today, a tile saw is whining in the backyard as the tile goes in … all day. Tomorrow, grout. And, of course, several fixtures are late. Continue reading
I have a friend who has managed a number of very successful companies that were built from the ground up by their owners. He tells me that very often, these owners are hard to deal with because they think they are geniuses when in fact, they just happened to be in The Right Place at the Right Time. Whether you call it luck or synchronicity or divine guidance, it does seem that success is frequently as much due to circumstances as it is to brilliance. But how many men want to admit it? Continue reading
A week ago, my morning email in-basket included a note from my friend, Ron. Are you available for lunch today? Innocuous for most people, not for Ron. Ron is not a man of few words … he is legendary around here for his long voice mails … so, I knew, something was wrong. I rearranged my afternoon plans with Muri and set a time to meet him at the local Chipotle for lunch. Ron is a managing partner of a small engineering company, one even smaller than mine. They had just lost a substantial job that they were counting on, which meant they might have to let people go. But that wasn’t what he wanted to talk about. I know I’m over-reacting, he told me over soft chicken tacos, but I was worrying about having to change jobs. Then it hit me – what if I have to retire? What will I do? So much of my self-worth is tied up in being the provider. Ron didn’t know it (until I told him) that he’d come to a moment that most of us reach when it’s time to stop working. We wonder: How will I stay Busy? How will I feel Useful? Continue reading
I love sad songs. When I asked my therapist friend why so many people seem to like sad music, she told me that sad music makes it possible for us to process sadness that we wouldn’t be able to face directly. That is, when you need a cry, it’s a lot easier to listen to Linda Ronstadt singing Shattered than dredge up some old hurt again (Note: There are links to videos of all songs in this post). I also love Don’t Leave Me Songs. I haven’t had a chance to ask my friend why we like Don’t Leave Me Songs but I suspect I know the reason … we all harbor some degree of fear of abandonment. So, assuming you buy my completely unsubstantiated theory, a good Don’t Leave Me Song needs some desperation. Chicago’s 1977 hit, If You Leave Me Now doesn’t qualify. You’ll take away the biggest part of me? Really? And Sergio Mendes’ Never Gonna Let You Go is too full of hope. We’re talking FEAR of abandonment here. Pink’s Please Don’t Leave Me is entirely too upbeat, as is KC and the Sunshine Band’s roller rink classic, Please Don’t Go. In I Can’t Make you Love Me, Bonnie Raitt is pretty desperate, begging for just one more night with her man (she’ll probably try the same ploy tomorrow). Continue reading
In 1959, I was a Freshman at East Haven High School, taking English in the college course. The major project in Freshman English was a term paper. If you can believe it, I chose to write on The Basic Characteristics of Nobel Prize Winning Literature. I based my paper on four books: Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises; The Stranger by Albert Camus; Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago; and Halldor Laxness’ Independent People. Miss Miller gave me an A+, mostly, I think for ambition and organization, making her my favorite teacher (she wore tight skirts and liked my writing, what more could a boy ask for in a teacher?). I actually read three of the books … I couldn’t make it through Independent People. Halldor Laxness was given to pages-long descriptive passages that renewed the great narrative art of Iceland … but left no room for dialog. Sorry Miss Miller. Continue reading
As Muri and I pulled up to the La Mirada Playhouse to see Boeing Boeing on Saturday afternoon, we noticed that the Toys R Us that used to be next door was gone. Did you know the one near us is closing, too? Muri said. I didn’t know and it shouldn’t have mattered because I’d only been in a Toys R Us a few times in the past five years. In fact, for the last two years, I’ve bought virtually all of my grandkids toys (and a few of mine) on Amazon. Still, the closing of our Toys R Us made me sad. When our children were little a holiday tradition was a trip to Toys R Us right after Thanksgiving. We’d wander the aisles and fill the cart, imagining how they’d enjoy each of our choices. Wandering the aisles in places like Target just isn’t the same … Toys R Us was just toys and just for the kids. Continue reading
Most of my adult years, I have been a Green Bay Packers fan, even though I was born and raised in Connecticut, lived on my own in Boston, and first lived in Rhode Island after getting married. There is no reasoning behind my choice of pro football teams … it is a result of the contrarianism of my youth. Everyone in Connecticut seemed to be a New York Giants fan so Older Eyes (Younger then) decided to root for the Giant’s rivals at the time, the Packers. If you come around Bud’s Blog frequently, you probably know that I am a (big) Lakers fan, which would seem to make sense, since I live in Socal and until this year, there was only one functional pro basketball team in L.A. Wrong. I became a Lakers fan in college when everyone in my fraternity rooted for the Celtics. My roommate, Jon (also a contrarian) and I therefore chose to cheer for their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. So, I’ve been a Lakers fan for almost fifty years. Continue reading
Yesterday, as I was sitting in the car in our park in the pouring rain, I received a post from my friend, Truck. It doesn’t look like a good day for the park. Want to do coffee in my office? For some reason, we haven’t connected for coffee in quite a while, so after a few more texts (all correctly spelled and punctuated … one of our shared peccadilloes), we decided to meet at the local Corner Bakery. It was good to see him. We sat outside, under the awning so we could listen to the rain but stay dry. We talked about his peculiar relationship with his boss and mine with my business partner. We learned that we had both recently purchased Google Nexus 7 Tablets and we compared notes at length. We talked about our relationships with our dramatic daughters. We talked about music and the science of music reproduction. He showed me a cool video of five people playing one guitar (here) and I showed him one of Stanley Jordan’s amazing rendition of Stairway to Heaven (here). Continue reading
My wife, Muri, is perhaps the most patient person I know. She’s put up with me … and my Inner Curmudgeon … for all these years, hasn’t she? When we are out to dinner and there is an annoying person at a nearby table, she has an amazing ability to tune them out, while I have an amazing ability to hear nothing but that person. While my Inner Curmudgeon is always looking around for someone to grouse about, Muri is usually happy to let others be. She frequently tells me that her Mom, Violet, told her, If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, and she generally lives by her Mom’s maxim. I don’t think anyone has ever called Muri a curmudgeon(ette). But occasionally, Muri goes to the bank, and being an old-fashioned woman, she likes to go into the bank instead of using the ATM. And on those days, she becomes The Occasional Curmudgeonette. Yesterday, when she got home from the bank, she did something she’s never done before … she said, You have to write a post about those people. She then proceeded to give me a play-by-play of her visit. I actually have mentioned our local Wells Fargo bank’s obsequious customer service once before in my post, Giving All Zeros, but if they can tick off Muri, they deserve a return engagement, so I’ll do my best to retell her story. Continue reading