Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ramblings In My Mind Vol. VII

Last weekend was another weekend that went by in a flash. I stayed home on Friday and continued to sort through piles of memories, books, and assorted other stuff, trying to decide which ones were worth keeping. It is difficult to part with things that have had meaning in your life. Bright and early on Saturday morning, when Paw Paw was still in bed, a little girl appeared at my house. It was an earlier start to my day than I had hoped for. Of course, it all seemed good as we both ate Cocoa Puffs out on the back porch while the birds sang and the day began. On Sunday my wife went to one of those mysterious female events called a “Wedding Shower” for one of my nieces. While she was away the sky grew dark, the rains came, and I was out like a light on my couch.

I appreciated the positive thoughts of another co-worker today because I wasn’t feeling it. Generally I am a positive person but I don’t feel positive when I am tired, feeling overwhelmed, or don’t have enough quality “downtime”. I thought my life would be slower at this stage but it sometimes seems busier than ever. Over the last year or so my wife and I have been doing or overseeing a lot of work on our house. I am definitely over the chaos of the house being in disarray and the hassle of dealing with contractors. I am also tired of every vacation day being filled with chores and every weekend with activity. It’s no secret that I am an introvert. We require lots of quiet and solitude to be happy and positive. Constant activity and interaction with people, including families, is exhausting. In most of our lives there is not enough leisure and few get enough sleep. Life can often seem like a never ending to do list. I want to always be positive but sometimes fatigue makes me feel grumpy.

As is typical, last night’s storm and high winds hit as I was trying to load and unload groceries from my shopping basket into my car. It never fails to rain when I go to the grocery. The downpour did motivate me to move a little faster. Have you ever committed to something and then when the time came to do it you asked yourself, “What the heck was I thinking when I agreed to this”? Sometimes this happens to me even when I have committed to doing something that should be fun. The idea of something is often better than the doing of it. I find this especially true as I get older. Young people often hate the thought of getting older but as an older person I rarely wish I was still young. There are so many things I do not want to go through again. I did, however, have a recent conversation where a friend and I discussed what was one of the best times in our lives. For me it was a time when I was quite young compared to now. It was the summer of 1970 and I was nineteen years old. This was time when I had a lot of freedom, enough money to do what I wanted, no real responsibilities or commitments, a wonderful girlfriend, lots of live rock and roll music, and I was a free spirit. What was one of the best times in your life?

Here’s a great quote that I read yesterday.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch you habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes destiny.
-Frank Outlaw

I suppose that part of who we are is beyond our control. We do inherit DNA from our parents and ancestors. However, this only forms the foundation of who we are. I believe the rest of who we become is personal choice. How much effort do you put forth to become the best version of who you are? How much thought do you put into how you think and act? Is self-improvement a conscious act for you? It is said that self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. I have spent many years trying to understand what makes me tick and why I am the way I am. I have realized there is much about me that is good and there’s also stuff about me that is annoying to others and even to me at times. I have tried to maximize the best of me and minimize the worst of me. I take personal responsibility for my thoughts, words, actions, habits, character, and destiny. I might look the way I do because of the DNA I inherited but everything else has been a choice. My parents gave me life, my actions have been my choices, and to some extent life has created my destiny. I am who I am and where I am for a reason. The challenge of life is to unravel that mystery.

Only the educated are free.

I hate ignorance whether it is in myself or others. Education, whether it is formally acquired through schooling, or knowledge acquired in the school of life, broadens our minds and, hopefully, expands our hearts. A complete education would include formal training as well as learning acquired from its application in the real world. Formal education by itself only gives us knowledge. Education combined with life experience gives us wisdom. I also believe that learning never stops even if you’ve received many diplomas. Admittedly, the world is full of educated fools. Somewhere along the line they acquired knowledge, but not an open mind, and they also failed to acquire wisdom. A truly educated and wise person has an open mind that is always receptive to new ideas and concepts. A closed mind is open to nothing new.

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