December 2013



Name Dropping

As a retired senior, I consciously try to invest my time in looking forward. During this holiday season, however, I’ve been counting my many blessings and looking back at this last year and my life in general.

Not one to keep a journal, I’m now considering making a list of all the interesting people I’ve encountered during my lifetime. What prompted this new endeavor? In looking back, it occurred to me that both my wife and I have frequently had the extraordinary good fortune to serendipitously meet interesting people.

As an example, many years ago we made our first trip to Hawaii. It was at a time when Magnum P.I. was a popular television show and Tom Selleck was the current heart-throb. On our first day in the islands, we rented a car and were headed toward Dimond Head. Somewhat lost and driving down a residential street I spotted a red Ferrari. We stopped, and sure enough they were filming inside a house. As I was taking pictures of the beautiful car, my wife walked across the street. A few minutes later, she came walking back but was not alone. She and Mr. Selleck were having a very nice chat. This kind of thing has continued to occur throughout the years. As I mentioned in a recent blog, this year I ran into and had the privilege of meeting football legend Joe Namath. Over the holidays, while I was watching an NCIS rerun, I was thrilled to see the handsome guest star, Ryan Bittle, because many years ago I was his little league coach for three years. Our families even vacationed together.

If I do get around to it, my “name dropping” encounter list will include politicians, famous business people, authors, adventurers, and many entertainers and sports figures such as Mohammad Ali, Olivia Newton John, The Rolling Stones (not in concert, I actually met all of them at a private airport), Jerry Lee Lewis, Connie Stevens, George Burns, Sally Field, NFL great and actor Fred Dryer, and . . . I’m getting tired and if you are still reading you are probably getting very bored.

What’s the point of this exercise? Well, about a week ago while waiting for my wife as she went into a Florida store at a shopping mall, I encountered a very dapper elderly gentleman. He was dressed in slacks, sweater vest, sport coat, and a very neat bow tie. He sat down next to me and we began to talk. His name is Ray Zander. Being the holiday season, our conversation turned to the true meaning of Christmas. When my wife approached, I introduced her to Ray and they had a chance to get acquainted. When it was time to say our goodbyes, Ray reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out a book. He said he wanted us to have it. It was titled Life of Faith, Volume X. Turns out Ray is an extraordinarily spiritual man, a poet and speaker. His books are collections of poems and outlines of faith. What a great Christmas gift.

As I said in the setup of this blog, my wife and I are often blessed by meeting very interesting and inspiring people. This year, other than our new granddaughter, meeting Ray is at the top of our list. When I did a search, I see he is all over the internet, even on youtube. Well done Ray, it was great meeting you. By the way, Ray is 92.

Cute-Anitmaed-Happy-New-Year-2014-Gif

As this year ends, my wife Trisha and I wish all of you the best in the new year. We were blessed to spend this holiday season with friends and family. We even got to spend some time together and enjoyed every minute. Here is Trisha at one of our favorite local Florida hangouts, Dune Dogs. See you next year.

Trisha Parker at Dune Dogs

Trisha Parker at Dune Dogs

zzzzz close

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com 

Advertisements

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Retired-Life Joys and Challenges – 2013

Here we are nearing the end of another year. They really do seem to go by faster each year don’t they? Taking a moment to reflect, this year was probably typical. But that doesn’t mean it was uneventful.

As seniors, our challenges are pretty self-evident. Physically, we have begun to slow down, probably gotten a bit weaker, and somehow transformed into the grandparents we used to know. The good news for most of us, our mobility can be improved and maintained with exercise. I am still shocked by research that found 80% of seniors don’t get any regular exercise. Of course, there are natural injuries and illnesses that come into play, but the fact is most seniors lose most of their mobility due to their sedentary lifestyle. It’s a challenge we really need to take very seriously.

Emotionally, being a senior certainly has its share of challenges. Personally, I’ve never had a year in which I’ve lost more family members and friends. Its gut wrenching and you never really get over it. When I think of these wonderful and influential people in my life, it takes my breath away. All we can do is honor them by remembering the contributions they have made to our lives and be thankful for knowing them. Losing each one is the price paid for the honor and privilege of having them in our lives. In addition, most of us have family members or friends with serious health issues. Being supportive just doesn’t feel like it’s enough, but it’s often all we can do. Isn’t that what we would we want? Being there for the people we love is the essence of relationships and life itself.

The joys of being a senior are most frequently not appreciated. You have to get past so many of your fellow travelers with their wonderful sayings such as, “Getting old is hell.” Well, getting old is not always a walk in the park, but neither was becoming a young teenager, or a young adult. After being discharged from the military, I had no money, was back in school, working nights at a gas station, and had a wife and baby in a three room apartment above a garage. I would not want to go back to that time. Research tells us that seniors are the most content and positive of all age groups. Young adults fare the worst and have the most cases of depression and suicide. Maybe we are less anxious because we’ve reached that stage of life when we can say and do most anything we choose without worrying as much about the consequences.

The bottom line is life, no matter what our age, is what we make of it. It’s how we react to each and every situation, sling and arrow. If you’re a grumpy old man or lady, it’s a pretty sure bet you’ve always been that way. I’ve always enjoyed the story about the baseball rookie in spring camp who approached the great hitter Ted Williams seeking advice and said, “I just can’t hit a curve ball.” Williams replied, “Don’t swing at it.” When life throws us a curve, we can swing, cuss, and fume at our misfortune, or we can simply appreciate our opportunity to be at the plate.

My wife Trisha and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Trisha and John Parker

Trisha and John Parker

zzzzz close

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com