February 2013

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 The Bucket List Boomers

 When a person loses such a good friend as my wife Trisha and I did last week, it makes you stop and re-examine your own life. That’s a good thing. At any time of life, but especially as a senior, its beneficial to assess where you are and make the necessary changes. Here is a chart I created to make my own assessment:

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Alright, it’s a funny chart, but it does have some validity. As one ages, and/or retires, it becomes very easy to fall in to ruts, misdirect energies, and even disregard  passions. While it’s often complicated at this time of life, given family and other responsibilities, Trisha and I have formalized the process planning and pursuing our personal bucket lists. I guess you could call us “The Bucket List Boomers.” 

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On our lists we have a number of places in the U. S. and the rest of the world we would like to visit. We also have a number of “crazy” activities such as paragliding off a mountain in Brazil, and more free base jumps as the one we did in Auckland, New Zealand last year. But we also have other interesting activities. We have a couple of great charities we love and set personal goals for our participation. I’ve also made a list of all of my childhood heroes that are still living and have been actively trying to communicate with them in the hope of meeting them in person. I’ve already met and/or communicated with a few and its been great fun.

Other personal items on my list includes becoming more proficient on my guitar, and possibly learning another language such as Italian. I use the term “another language” loosely because I’m not exactly fluent in Spanish, but can make it work when in Mexico. 

A bucket list can be whatever you want it to be. Such a list is beneficial because it helps you focus your time and energies in a productive way, and Trisha and I have found it to be very motivational. As C. S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream another dream.”

Let’s all become “Bucket List Boomers.”

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Lee Rodgers

I’ll make this short. Not because I don’t have a lot to say, but because I know he would not approve. I lost a good friend this week. Lee Rodgers died the way he lived. He went out swinging, giving it everything he had, surrounded by an audience (this time doctors and nurses), with his entertainer’s sense of humor still on display.

I’m sure there will be those who report on his death who will label Lee as controversial. Well, his job was to be provocative and on his side of the political spectrum, that draws lots of fire. It is true, Lee did not suffer fools. He was an incredibly hard-working man with a jeweler’s sense of perfection about his craft. He viewed any lesser effort by those around him with disdain. His professional success is a tribute to his work ethic.

Of course, there was also Lee the husband. He always referred to his wife Susan as “his bride.” On those occasions when my wife and Susan would be out together, I’ve rarely heard a man speak so lovingly and affectionately about his wife as Lee did of Susan. After his long illness two years ago, my wife Trisha and I went to visit Lee and Susan at their home in Arizona. As we were sitting out under the stars one night, in the middle of the conversation, Lee leaned forward and said, “You know, there are few people in this world who can actually point to someone and say that person saved my life. But (pointing at his wife), Susan saved my life.” And he meant every word of it. The fact is, Susan was everything to Lee. And the feeling was mutual. Susan cared for him, supported him, worked tirelessly behind the scenes, but mostly, she loved and fought to protect him.

Personally, I’m going to miss a great friend. I will always take pride in knowing that twice, I was actually able to make Lee laugh so hard he fell over on his side. Of course, once was easy because he had just broken three ribs. Fact is, we had a lot of common interests. Travel, flying, media, politics, sports, were all part of our conversations and he had them all covered in spades. Our most common bond was humor and we shared some truly fun times. I enjoyed every minute I ever spent with Lee. 

It would be foolish to think you can sum up someone’s life, especially someone like Lee, with mere words and I won’t try. You can, however, express your admiration, love, and respect. So Lee, let me say, you are one of the most interesting and fascinating people I have or will ever meet, and I’m going to miss you. More than ever I’m hoping there truly is another side because I know there are a lot more good times and laughs to be had.