New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.
-Mark Twain-

My new years resolution is the same every year and I always keep it. It is "I resolve to make no New Years resolution". -tom swaim-

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Reminders to Myself

The Universe is a big place.
Always we hope someone else has the answer.
Some other place will be better,
some other time it will all turn out.
This is it.
No one else has the answer.
No other place will be better,
and it has already turned out
-Lao Tzu

I somehow find it disappointing. Is this it? This is all there is? At least when I was looking for some other place or some other time I had hope.
I think I will keep looking for some other place, some other time and someone else with the answer. I will always keep Lao Tzu's words in mind but I am not ready to give up hope.

The following uses the word "touch". A word that I assure you is not a "bad" word. It's not a word to be sniggered at or used to imply sexual abuse any more than the word fondle. These are perfectly good words and there is nothing sexual or dirty about them. If you see them that way then I am truly sorry for you.

The Plight of the Old.
Old people and especially old men suffer from loneliness and not being touched. I guess old men give the impression that they have a harder exterior or something but I can assure you they suffer from being walled off the same as women do. Old women are treated somewhat better but not by much.

This is amplified many times by the way we live in these modern times. Modern meaning current and not meaning advanced. We are far from advanced. The splitting into communities according to age is not healthy but then neither is any other sort of fractured families and/or neighborhoods. I do not want to live in an old folks village and I will not willingly do so. I would live under a bridge first. The young keep the old from growing old so fast and the old help the young to get to grow old.

Somewhere between being a very young child and adulthood many develop the impression that old people are nasty and somewhat untouchable. Some are but people don't change their cleanliness habits just because they are old. If anything I am more careful of my grooming now than ever just to guard against falling into lazy bad hygiene habits.

If you are young bear in mind that if you live you too will grow old. You too will grow hair in unusual places (like the top of your nose), you too will grow hair in you ears where you can't see it. Your eyes will dim and that glaring blackhead that looks like a crater to everyone else will escape your detection. Your skin will start to lose its DNA memory and although it will continue to replace itself it won't get the recipe exactly right giving you a few unpleasant surprises.

To the old I suggest that you practice smiling. If you force yourself it will soon become habit and I can guarantee good results. I see an awful lot of upside down smiles on old faces. Keep your predictions of gloom and doom to yourself. Sure it's likely to turn out that way but nobody wants to hear it. No one wants to hear how it was "in your day". It just pushes those that you might be able to influence by example further away. Besides I know it's hard to fathom but you could be wrong.

Force yourself to say "good morning" to a stranger. The first few times I did that as an old man I didn't get much back but one day I said it to a squatty little women that looked as if she had not smiled in her lifetime and that her face was about to break. What I got back was a melodious strong bell ringing "good morning" from a face that transformed itself into bright smiling rays of sunshine. It was a doubly appreciated reward because it was so unexpected. That transformed face transformed my day. I think it probably gave hers a boost as well.
Let's party.

Words from a Wise Man.
I have posted this before but it is worth repeating. I don't think this is the last time I'll repeat this either.
I complained about my personal life to a friend a few years ago and this is what he wrote me.

You are not getting what you deserve. You are getting what there is. I figure deserve has nothing to do with it. You will get what you get regardless of your past actions. Someone does not hold back a touch because you held one back in the past. They hold back a touch for the lack of wherewithal to offer it. They don't think to offer it most likely for the lack of touches over time offered them. More about their past than yours I think. It is not a good thing, bad thing, or evil intent. It just is what it is. If the ones you love do not reach out a touch to you, touch them twice. They need it more. A touch accepted, is a touch returned. Keep no score cards, pass no judgments, spend no time mourning what you don't have. “ -Terry Miller

Terry is a wise man.
Thanks Terry. This is on my "refer to often" page of the just "be" book.


Clint Galliano said...

All wise words to live by. A number of years ago, an elder gentleman walked through the pharmacy in Wal-Mart in Thibodaux while I was waiting for my prescriptions. He made a point of telling everyone good morning. The pharmacist pointed out what a good mood he was in that morning and inquired what had him that way...the gentleman replied "I am 83 years old. Every morning I get to wake up is a good morning, so I decided to share it."

I believe that falls right in line with what you are saying.

Oldfool said...

Yes it does.

Lord Wellbourne said...

What a wondeful post! Though I'm a tad younger than you I am right beside you with all the little calling cards of getting older arriving daily. I decided a while back that right now is the moment and right here is the place. Doesn't matter what time it is or what place it is: I AM. As simple as that. I AM. I am who I am, what I used to be and what I want to be in all places I've been, where I am now and wherever I go. Life is an all-you-can-eat buffet of choices--a Golden Corral of opportunity. And I choose to reach out my hand and touch your heart as you've touched mine.

stephanie said...

You are right: to be repeated often.
Like daily.


workbike said...

When I was a teenager an old(er) man told me:

"Your face will take on a shape by the time you are forty: if you smile a lot, it will settle into a smile; if you don't, it'll settle into a permanent frown. Never miss a chance to smile."

He was thirty and looked like one big smile, so I took his advice.

Big Oak said...

Very nice sentiments!

I am fortunate to have had several older men in my life like you in my younger years. As I grow older, I like to think that I am becoming a good old man as they were.

I think not getting what we want is part of the deal. We must pass it on. Eventually the younger folk will realize this as they get older. But it's important for us to reach out.

Funny thing about growing older though is that I'm finding hair in new places, but losing it on top of my head. Doesn't seem to bother me, just seems funny.

Steven Cain said...

Great post!

I don't much care for touching people of any age... it gives me the heebs. A dog now, I'll never let go of.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ohhh this is good ... and very worth telling and retelling..
John says when the time comes He's going off the cliff..
... I keep a copy of Tao Te Ching on my desk.. I sometimes fondle it.. cause it's full of such sensible things.. it just shows that over time there have always been people who think and consider and those who don't.. time moves on but things stay the same.. kind people and not so kind... sometimes the unkind overwhelm the kind and they retreat... and become cynical..
I guess the answer is not to give up on them... hard sometimes.

Thom said...

"Those who would be young when they are old must be old when they are young." I can't remember who said that, but this post calls it to mind.

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