Life

Truism Sixteen:  Life is a gift

“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
Like tomorrow was a gift
And you’ve got eternity
To think about
What you’d do with it
What could you do with it
What did I do with it?
What would I do with it?”

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Live Like You Were Dying

Live Like You Were Dying

He said
“I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days
Looking at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time”
I asked him
“When it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you
When you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?”

He said
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”

He said
“I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn’t
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again
And then

I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Blue Manchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
Like tomorrow was a gift
And you’ve got eternity
To think about
What you’d do with it
What could you do with it
What did I do with it?
What would I do with it?

Skydiving
I went Rocky mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Blue Manchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I watched an eagle as it was flying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying”

Tim McGraw
Writers: Tim Nichols and Craig Michael Wiseman
2004 Curb Records

Extra Note: According to Wikipedia, the song is “is associated with McGraw’s father, Tug McGraw, who was hospitalized with a brain tumor on March 12, 2003. It was revealed that he had cancer. He was given three weeks to live by the doctors, but survived nine months. He died on January 5, 2004,” with the source of: http://philadelphia.about.com/b/a/055282.htm

Life’s Mystery

Truism Fourteen:  Life is not a mystery.

Life is not a mystery.  There are no clues to unearth or criminals to discover.  This said, there are many tendencies people have that attempt to solve the incidents of our existence.

Excuses do not solve problems.  Nature perhaps, or some need for acceptance, make giving reasons seem like a good idea.  Let’s say you are late for work and call in.  Saying your alarm clock failed to wake you, or traffic was bad, or marauders abducted you will not change the fact you are late.

Finding fault will not relieve a situation, and it will not promote your position.  It will make you look bad.  You tell your boss, “Look at the mistake Joe made.”  Nine out of ten times, your boss will ask, “Why didn’t you stop him from making it?”

Diverting blame will only work when you are the boss.

Complaining just makes you look bad, too.  At dinner, the mashed potatoes are salty.  Everyone who is eating has a sense of taste and knows.  When you say, “The potatoes are salty,” no longer are the people thinking about the salty potatoes.  They are thinking how unappreciative you are for having mashed potatoes.  Wait, I forgot you stopped eating mashed potatoes at four-years-old because you’re a picky eater.

Whenever possible, use the smallest tool you can find that will get the job done.  If you need a pair of tweezers, do not use pliers.  If you are late, say you are sorry.  If Joe is guilty, tell Joe how the error made your life tougher.  If the potatoes are salty, drink water.  Using the wrong tool will make your life tougher.

Love

Truism Thirteen:  Love is blind.

People say, “Love is blind.”  They mean this statement in a lot of different ways.  For some people, it means when in love one cannot see anything else in the world.  For others, it means the appearance and faults of the object of love does not matter.  For still others, it means the lover cannot see the consequence of his or her actions.

Just as the statement is vague, love is vague.  Love is a fog.  Love can be almost anything.  Love is protection, such as the newborn’s love of those who allow life.  Love is giving protection, such as the newborn parent’s love of that tiny being.  For the teen, love is lust, an active break from childhood.  For the old, love is warmth, an active delay of the hereafter.

If life is a dance, as I have suggested, and the melody is some basic orchestration of the universe, and the lyrics are the words artists, scientists and philosophers have applied, love is the song.  There is a reason that most songs are about love.  When you find love, you are singing your song.  And, when you are looking for it.  And, when you are recovering from it.  And, when you do not want to believe it is important at all.

Since I am discussing love, I should add a different piece of advice here.  For a successful marriage, think about the love each day.  It is a partnership like no other.  If you only think about yourself only, the marriage will probably fail.

Respect

Truism Twelve:  Respect Everyone

Respect people. It has been said that respect must be earned. That is rather like saying the suspect of a crime should prove his or her innocence. While this requirement is often enforced in legal systems, it is not what most systems of law say they require. Guilt must be proven. Innocence is assumed.

Everyone deserves respect, no matter if it has been earned or not. When someone fails to show respect to you, you still should respect that person. Sinking to the person’s level shows that the person has won. The idea is very closely tied with the concept of forgiveness. Forgiving is often difficult, but it is the first step in your recovery from the wrong the person has done to you.

Sometimes, you will find it impossible to respect some people, but at least try to exercise empathy. Try to see from their persepctives. Try to understand why they act as they do.

The first people you likely will feel disrespect for are your parents. It is difficult to understand why they so apparently disrespectful of you–your wants and your needs. Some parents are awful people. Some parents have bad days. Some parents need lessons in being good parents. But, most parents at least try to teach, and because they disagree with what you think is a want or a need, only seem to disrespect you. Most parents want the best for their children. Most parents would give their lives for you to succeed, which is an ultimate form of respect for another person. There is usually 15 to 40 years difference between you and your parents. By the time you fully understand and appreciate them, they may be gone. Respect them blindly, just as you love them blindly.

Unforgettable

“Unforgettable”

Unforgettable
That’s what you are,
Unforgettable
Tho’ near or far.

Like a song of love that clings to me,
How the thought of you does things to me.
Never before
Has someone been more…

Unforgettable
In every way,
And forever more
That’s how you’ll stay.

That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am
Unforgettable, too.

[interlude]

Unforgettable
In every way,
And forever more
That’s how you’ll stay.

That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am
Unforgettable, too.

Songwriters: Coral Gordon and Phil Ramacon
1991, Pacifique Recording Studios

Agenda

Truism Eleven:  Everyone has an agenda.

First, a stastics lesson, but recognize I have performed no studies to support my claims.  Take 1000 people.  Fewer than one has a psychological disease that has removed his or her ability to have remorse.  Fewer than one has the capacity to give completely to others and the willingness to suffer any personal cost for that gift.  Pretty much, you still have 1000 in the survey.

All of the rest have a personal agenda that might make others suffer for his or her gain, but do not particularly want others to suffer.

About 100 are willing to take what another person has actively, disregarding the other person’s loss but not particularly wanting to hurt the others.  Among these 100 are thieves and Wall Street investing moguls.

About 100 are active in their religious endeavors for at least five days per week.

About 200 would keep property someone else has lost, say a wallet found in a supermarket shopping cart, and give no real attempt to return that merchandise, “Finder’s keepers.”  About 200 would keep the property but feel guilty for doing it.  About 200 would keep the merchandise up to a certain monetary value but make some efforts over that value, afraid they would get caught.  About 200 would make real efforts but hope the efforts are in vain.  About 200 would find the loser of the property.

About half of the 1000 are fearful of others.  Security is their personal agenda.  They make strong efforts to protect themselves, even if the efforts make innocent people suffer through their security measures, “Better safe than sorry.”  About half of the 1000 are not fearful.  Acceptance is their personal agenda.  These 500 are considered fool-hearty and afraid of making waves by the 500 who lay brick and mortar to protect themselves from dangers that really do not exist.

You will want many things during a lifetime, both material things and things of the mind, like love, hope and peace.  Set your own agenda, of course, and change it as needed.  Actively, try not to hurt others as you pursue these goals, and don’t be willing to hurt others under an excuse that it was necessary.  You will feel guilty with the materials you gain from this method.  The things of the mind simply cannot be obtained this way.  You cannot seek love, hope or peace after you have hurt others to obtain it.

Listen

Truism Ten:  Listen before you speak

Technology has advanced so quickly within my lifetime that it is virtually limitless what we will be able to do in 20 years.  With smart phones, emails, chats, social sites and blogs, just as I am working with now, communication is unlike it has been in thousands of years.  For the first time, there is almost no communication.

How, with those smart phones, emails, chats, social sites and blogs, can there be no communication?  Everyone is too busy talking.  We all have too much to say.  We are too important.  These truisms are one-sided and I cannot hear your reactions.  I hope that I do not think that I believe I am too important, but I do have a lot to say.

Put down your cell phone or whatever little machine you have in your hand.  Don’t send the email.  Don’t accept the chat.  Those friends, most of whom you have never met, will wait.  Read this blog for just a few minutes more.  Comment, if you’d like.

When I say “go,” turn off the computerized marvel you are using to access this blog.  Come back later, of course.

Call your mom.  Listen to everything she has to say.  Enjoy her.  Communicate your life to her.  Listen.  Talk.  Listen.

OK.

Go.

The Brain

Truism Nine:  Appreciate your brain.

Your brain is a three pound miracle.

It organizes more functions—nerves, muscles, glands—in your body than any King, Emperor, President, Dictator, whatever ever governed people, and unlike all of those heads-of-state your brain governs its functions well.

Your brain catalogs every memory you’ve had, from plucking your first booger to sitting down in the chair you currently are in; it can hide the memories that might damage you; it can stack the memories you don’t need deeper; and it can find an incidental morning at Aunt Tilly’s twenty years ago as soon as you smell baking bread—plus it processes the smell.

Your brain is as large as the universe.  Through your imagination, you can experience life on another planet, you can relive any event you have ever had, and you can meld stray data into an artistic creation that Salvador Dali couldn’t decipher.  You can do anything.  And believe it or not, you can do this all in your sleep.

If someone placed a machine with the brain’s capabilities on an infomercial with a fair price for it, the richest person on the planet couldn’t afford it.  Yet, it is free for a lifetime.

Your entire body is so extraordinary that you will never be able to thank the people who gave it to you enough.  That brain, alone, is a marvel.  When old people like me tell you, “Don’t screw it up.”  Listen.  There is no money-back warranty for your body or your brain.  We live in a throw-away world, with many people who were taught that it’s OK not to finish their mashed potatoes.  We throw everything away.  Don’t waste your brain.

Imagine

Imagine

John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Singer, Writer and Producer: John Lennon
1971

Toys

Truism Eight: People adore toys

I may be absolutely wrong with the following. I think the wheel was invented by a child. I think while the parents in a wheel-less world were busy providing for their families, a five-year-old played with some round stone. I think the wheel was invented many times, by many children until some parents realized how useful the round toy was. With that simple round toy, people learned to build shelters that later became cities and civilizations. And, I think after adults learned the usefulness of the round toy that made their lives easier, sometimes, they played with round toy, too.  By the way, the parents probably never thanked the child.

We adore toys.

Within my lifetime, television changed from an interesting gadget to the conveyer of most communication, the telephone interconnected diverse parts of the globe, and computers became one of the Modern Wonders of the World. People can hardly fathom a world without their gadgets.

I also think during the time I have taken in writing this truism on such a gadget, most of the most brilliant minds of the world have  been toiling over new gadgets. Those gadgets make certain people rich. Unfortunately, wealth is a weapon. We spend our time playing with those gadgets, instead of correcting problems within the world. Most brilliant minds are making gadgets, instead of curing disease, ending starvation and fixing the atmosphere.

Maybe, I’m wrong.

I think, too, many people are inventing gadgets and too many people are playing with gadgets. I think, maybe, we should have played with the box on our first birthday.

Waste

Truism Seven: Waste hurts.

On your first birthday, your parent had to help you open your presents. The two of you ripped off the paper, piled through the filler and threw down the box. Your parent had to tell you what you had been given–this do-dad. At the time, you would have been as happy playing with the paper, the filler or the box. “No, that is not your present. We gave you the do-dad.” By the time you became four, all by yourself, you ripped through the paper, the filler and the box, only to learn that Uncle Pete got you the wrong colored do-dad. You sighed and your parent said, “Thank Uncle Pete…He didn’t know exactly what you wanted.”

Information here: You didn’t know what you wanted. You had been told over and over and over by the people that made the do-dad what you wanted.

As we grow older, we forget the wonderfulness of waste–the stuff we throw away. We have to learn uselessness. We had to learn we don’t like the mashed potatoes on the plate. “Eat three more bites.”  Plates are seldom empty when we finish eating.

The paper and plastic and aluminum we throw away contaminate our atmosphere. The debris we discard litters our landscape. Of course, living creates waste and it must be disposed of or recycled. We cannot live in a world cluttered to the brim. Still, people are far to willing to not take full advantage of the do-dads in our lives. It is far easier to do away with the old and replace things with newer do-dads. I say this as an old and aging do-dad, myself.

Beauty

Truism Six: Beauty is a lot like money

Beauty, as a society defines it, is a lot like money.  Like money, beauty is an invention by a society.  Like money, beauty has no inherent value, but rather its value is decided by the society that invents it. Like money, the value placed on beauty is determined by the people who will later possess it.  Like money, the people without beauty are expected by the people with it to envy it and to want to have it. Like money, beauty, as a society defines, is a weapon used by people with it to defeat those people without it for survival of the fittest.

Look at it this way–A certain look is considered beautiful. The “experts” all agree. The media popularizes the look. Some people use this look or remake themselves to have this look in order to be beautiful. Some people have the look naturally and without intent reap benefits from the look.  Others have very little chance to attain the look. The first two smaller groups–those who use it and those who have it–win, the large third group–those without it–fails. After a period of time, the look changes, the hair grows longer or shorter, the shade lightens or darkens, the dimensions grow or shrink.

If money is a weapon, beauty is a ball within the cannon.

All of this is about one type of beauty–the unimportant type. Beauty has another meaning when society keeps its hands off of it. Beauty also can be a lot like the melody of the universe. We follow our own tune and decide what we like. Be careful not to let society to influence you. You are fully capable of seeing your beauty without any help. For one person a sunset can be breathtaking; for another a skyscraper can be majestic.

It doesn’t really matter what you find to be beautiful, but seek out that true beauty your entire life. The pleasure it gives is unlike anything society can invent. But be careful, it is extremely easy to use the destructiveness of the cannonball. It is very easy to use the love of your own beauty to think yourself superior to other people. You are no more or less beautiful then they are. Appreciate the beauty in everyone.

And, by the way, you are beautiful.

Humor

My wife and I have five children and the reason we have five children is we do not want six. And those we have we want to get out of the house, before we die. Just to get them out. Because all children have brain damage. Now those of you who have no children let me describe the brain damage. You come in the room with a Coca Cola, you set it down you go to get a news paper. Child comes walking in grabs the drink. You say Gimme that! Didn’t I just tell you not to drink it? The child says “Uhh Huh”. You say What did I just say? “You said but for not to not you drink.” So every time I tell you that don’t I I say every time I have a drink don’t you drink it, don’t I say that? “Uhh Huh”. Now tell me what I said. “You said but for not to not you drink.” That’s right. So you put it down to go and get the paper the child picks it up again and quickly starts to drink it. You say Gimme that! Didn’t I just tell you to ahhhhh… Well why did you do it? “I don’t know”. Well that’s brain damage. And that’s what parents have to deal with all day. That’s all you see, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. My parents never smiled because I had brain damage. My wife and I don’t smile because our children are loaded with it. Ohh my parents smile now, when ever they come over to my house. When they see how much trouble I’m having. Ohh they have a ball. “Having a little trouble eh son?”

From “Bill Cosby–Himself” 1983

Laugh

Truism Five: Laugh

Three rules for a stress reduced life:
1 Every day, laugh at what ten people say;
2 Every day, make ten people laugh;
3 Every day, laugh at yourself ten times.

There are many coping mechanisms–internalizing, blaming yourself, cursing, aggressing. These things can vent some of the frustrations that life has to offer. On the other hand, these ventalizaions have side effects–psychological disease, hurt feelings and even death. One mechanism works at reducing stress–Laughter. A sense of humor can wad up the frustrations of the world and spew them out of your nose.

Laugh.

The world has ample material for your giggle. So many people are so full of themselves that they deal themselves out for ridicule. That is not to say that the natural substance of people should be laughed at. Don’t laugh at who a person is or what a person is. Laugh at what they pretend to be. When that person gets out of his absurdly expensive car and folds his sunglasses on the top of his pristine hair and straightens his designer shirt, thinking he is special, he offers himself to your sense of humor as much as the smell of baking bread offers itself to your sense of smell and taste.

Never miss an opportunity for a real checkle. Hurting one’s self is not funny. Farting is. Making someone feel bad is cruel. Realizing your own limits is funny.

Laugh.

Thoughtful

Truism Four:  Use your brain: Be Thoughtful

Be nice if you will–It’s a nice thing to be, but sometimes the old addage is true and you
may finish last in the race–finishing last is not the worst thing that can happen to you.

Be kind if you can–It’s the kind of thing that speaks well of you. There is virtually no
down-side to it.

But always be thoughtful. You have a brain. Use it. You may not cure a deadly disease in
your lifetime. You may not invent anything that will help humanity. You have a brain that
can be full of thoughts–is full of thoughts. Direct some of those thoughts to others. Be
thought-full.

Today, where I live, an elevator services several floors. I pressed to call it, and a woman
exited with a heavy load. It appeared she had more loads to bear. I helped her with a door
and took the elevator. After I pressed my floor, I returned the elevator to the woman. She
may not have needed it. She may not have noticed it was there for her if she did, and
probably she didn’t notice or appreciate my small act. It may have saved her a few moments
of wait. Maybe, someone needed the elevator elsewhere, but I knew where she was and her
probable needs. Using just a little thought, thought I will never miss in this rattled head
of mine, may have helped another person. If we all used our brains for others, what a
wonderful world this would be.

louie

Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World Lyrics
Songwriters: DIPRETA, DOUG
I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see em bloom….. for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin……i love you.

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more…..than I’ll never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world

(instrumental break)

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are there on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin…*spoken*(I ….love….you).

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
*spoken*(you know their gonna learn
A whole lot more than I’ll never know)
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself …….what a wonderful world.

What A Wonderful World lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, CARLIN AMERICA INC, MEMORY LANE MUSIC GROUP, WINDSWEPT HOLDINGS LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Money

Truism Three:  Money is a Weapon

Once upon a time, in this survival of the fittest world we live in, strength was determined by violence.  The strongest would beat any competitor to a pulp, or even kill them.  From time to time, we continue to use this method to decide the strongest and who will survive.

Long ago, people learned a basic problem with this means of deciding.  That is, the use of violence had a down-side.  You see, people are vain.  Violence left no one to really appreciate who the strongest was.

So, about the time laws were invented, society also invented money.  With money, the rich could lavish themselves with anything they wanted, and the poor—well the poor could appreciate the rich and wish they had money, too.  The rich used gold with the same aggression that the strong could use clubs.  The bruises were harder to see.

Remember, there is no inherent value in gold, or without the gold standard in credit limit.  The only worth money has is what we place on it.  And, it is a weapon.  It always was, and it always will be.

Use money wisely and carefully.  Never cherish it.  A spear can be used to till a field, to raise a crop, to feed the hungry.  When you lift it from the ground, remember, others have much stronger spears than you.

For Tomorrow

Fifty-eight Truisms and a Story

By Ken Walters

Dedicated:

To Joyce, of course, I love you

To Shelly, Ben and Rusty, I love you, too

And especially

To Heather, Matthew and Katy

To Bugsy and Mugsy, Leighton and Bentley,

To Bailey

And to any other grandchildren, or glimmers in the eye, I have yet to meet

I write this in my fifty-seventh year, soon after the birth of currently my newest grandchild.  If he goes through the stages of life that we most do, that unconditional love followed by that adolescent rebellion, he might understand this work in his maturity, while I am teetering on a cane.  Until then, this work is for anyone who chooses to read it.  Perhaps, there is a line of wisdom or two.  None of the ideas or words is particularly new–No idea or word is.