Before

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January 29, 2020-

There is always a prerequisite.

Before the day gets going,

there is grooming.

Before there is a conversation,

there is greeting.

Before there is a journey,

there is time and money set aside.

Before there is a relationship,

there is mutual knowledge,

trust and commitment.

Before there is a life well-lived,

there is a moral compass.

Before a door can be closed,

it must first be opened,

and passed.

 

Year-End Reflections, Part 5: Setbacks

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December 28, 2017, Spring Hill-

I have largely spent yesterday and today catching up on my fellow bloggers’ posts.  There are so many, that it took me until a few minutes ago.  Of course, that means there are other things going on- the life of my in-law family household, with Turner Classic Movies, a Rottweiler puppy, and the various people coming and going.

The other major thing occupying me is Digital Altitude.  I first heard about it, two years ago, at a doTerra Winter Summit.  Business training did not interest me at the time, because I looked only at my cash-poor state.  A fellow blogger got me interested, though, not long ago, and I have plowed through the first 6 steps of ASPIRE, with two more steps coming tomorrow.

I could move forward further-and before year’s end, but for one thing:  The residual effects of bankruptcy.  The government  released me from restrictions imposed by Chapter 11, in March of this year.  The financial world is not so forgiving.  The government restricts for seven years.  Many lenders restrict for ten years.  This keeps me from taking part in special deals offered by D.A.

Setbacks happen.  I will not starve, be cast out on the street, become a social pariah, or even cry bitter tears, because of this development.  The bankruptcy was due to the dire straits in which my late wife and I found ourselves, in 2010, after the high cost of her medical treatment and the subprime lending crisis found each other, and we made the questionable, but conventional, decision to seek lawful relief.

That’s where my TMI ends.  I am still here, recovering financially (and Digital Altitude will be part of this recovery, albeit in SloMo, as will a redoubled effort in do Terra), and I am enjoying an increase in the number of real time and online friends.  This year, now almost past, has seen my friendships with women deepen in quality and depth.  It has seen my relationship with money become more appreciative, and also deeper.  I have learned, anew, that setbacks are times to sit and learn lessons, in place, and without apprehension.  I have learned the true benefits of being a valued member of a strong professional team.

2017 has not been the horror show that I nearly expected, at this time last year.

Year-End Reflections, Part 4: Transitions and Conflicts

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December 27, 2017, Spring Hill, Florida- 

I will be here, or thereabouts, for the next five days.  This week has usually been spent either in the cold of the Northeast or in sunny southern California.  Florida, specifically, the edge of the Tampa Bay area, where Spring Hill is located, is SoCal, but with a lot more moisture.  Last night’s rain has left the scent of the tropics, in its wake.

Back to my piece’s title:  2017 has taken me further out of my comfort zone than any year since 1981, when I first became half of a couple.  It’s damned hard to get over doing everything by and for oneself, yet not so hard to go back to that frame of mind, when a relationship ends/takes a non-physical form.  I can’t, however, just live for myself, anymore.  The world is in too much a state of travail. So, I write this blog, almost daily, I volunteer for the Red Cross, when I can, work with disabled students during the academic year, and work for the wider world, through the Baha’i Faith and its propagation efforts.

Relationship-wise, I am heartened by the large number of friends (and I do see you as such) with whom I converse on social media.  It is a leap for me, to converse with people I’ve never met, in a language other than English, but I am pushing myself to do this.  It is not hard for me to turn down “friendship requests” on social media, from random young women, or people claiming to be young women (usually bots), given my age and their friend pool, if there even is one, consisting entirely of people I don’t know.  For the record, I will befriend anyone who proves legitimate, and indeed have many friends and correspondents of both genders and of all ages.

Another transition I am starting to make is that of online entrepreneur.  I am taking this one step at a time, will interrupt this post to take part in a conference call, momentarily, and, despite the somewhat uncertain attitude of my sponsor towards me, I feel like this time, my coach and I can make some headway.

Good call, and I made a leap over one gap in my comfort zone:  Credit score, which is not as bad as I thought it might be.  Another leap over my comfort zone’s fence is thus more likely in the weeks ahead.  This is partly due to three changes that I have already engaged:  Increasing my waking hours by 30-45 minutes, in the morning; taken on a full-time job; and overcoming several lingering doubts about my self-worth.

So, Having looked at life, from several sides now, in the year that is coming to a close, I am ready to be far more proactive, in several areas of my life, than in the past.  There is more to sojourning, than travel, as much fun and as mind-expanding as that is.

Further Reflection

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December 13, 2017, Prescott-

Baha’u’llah tells us that each soul expresses a grain of truth.  In the past several days, there has been much discussion, largely initiated by single men, regarding the push for gender equality.

I have responded to some of the posts and been somewhat rebuffed by the authors.  My take, essentially, is that people should not be limited in their pursuits, their dreams, their achievements, by traditional gender roles.  My identity as a man does not stand or fall on whether a woman, friend or not, can change a tire, rebuild an engine or run a Fortune 500 corporation, as well, or better, than a man could.  My identity as a man does not depend on whether I have a lady on my arm, even as I find many women strikingly lovely.
I must, however, agree with some of the men who have posted.  A human being’s relationship with any other human being is based on trust.  Women and men are equally capable of maintaining trust, and are equally capable of violating trust.  I have been in a couple of situations where I was the breaker of trust.  That I was going through episodes of grief, in each case, does not excuse my behaviour and I have apologized, done as each person violated has asked, and moved on.  In my friendships, over the past three years, I have been far more discerning and attentive to trust issues.

No one is entitled to respect, based on gender alone.  Respect comes from maintaining good character, and that includes being trustworthy.  A man had girlfriend begged off of their scheduled date, saying she didn’t feel well. She was later found to be having dinner with another man, that same evening.  She said it was her prerogative, as a woman.  Well, balderdash!  She reaped the fruits of that choice, which was an end to her relationship with Man A.

There is an argument, making the rounds, that women prefer men who are coarse, who will rough them up if necessary, or at least be selfish and disgusting.  My take on that is:

Such a woman is fundamentally looking for someone who is hard enough to perhaps safeguard her from the coarseness and meanness of the wider world.  A nice guy makes a good friend, so the saying goes, but a mate must be willing to be a brute.   My attitude is that a nice guy must also be strong in the face of adversity. Brutishness is a perversion of strength.

I practice goodness towards people, in general, but my mother did not raise any wimps. I stood up for my wife, as she did for me, and we stood up TO one another.  I am loving, nurturing and supportive of my female friends, but the last time I checked, none of them needed a doormat.  I am in their lives on their terms, and they are in my life, on mine.

The bottom line, in all this discussion, is PEOPLE need to be humane and considerate to other PEOPLE.  PEOPLE should be strong and reliable, in the eyes of other PEOPLE.  If a woman doesn’t respect a man, and vice versa, then what’s the point of their relationship?  More basically, if one doesn’t think he/she deserves a strong, reliable, trustworthy mate, then he/she won’t find one.

Who Wants What?

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January 4, 2017, San Diego- In the course of conversation today, a subject that always seems to come to the fore, when talking with unmarried young men,and sometimes with those who ARE wed, occupied a fair amount of time:  What do women actually WANT?

My answer to that has emerged over about three decades- Basically, people all want the same three things:  Respect, a sense of autonomy and a measure of security.   No one really wants to feel set up, used or unappreciated.  This seems to sometimes be falling on deaf ears, to a person who feels alone. Actually, though, the lonely man and the woman who falls into the waiting arms of a man who will disrespect her, or worse, are more alike than they each seem to think.

Sometimes, both are impatient, regarding life as something that is passing them by.  The lonely man, especially if he is kind, generous, hard-working and family-oriented, sees a relationship/marriage as the one thing he needs to complete his life.  The settling woman, especially if she has been sheltered, places autonomy, and an emotional challenge, over the fawning attention of one who is love-struck.  Yet, she, too, sees a relationship, however flawed, as the one thing she needs to complete her life.

Both seek validation of their view of self, as well.  The man who sees himself as virtuous and protective, can’t understand why women tell him that he isn’t their “type”.  The woman who sees herself as either unworthy of respect, or, conversely, as too sheltered, can’t understand why men don’t present a coarser, or at least less solicitous, demeanor.  These attitudes start way back in middle-childhood, sometimes earlier. They have something to do with parenting, as well as with broader socialization. (There are also exceptions to every rule.)

I learned, after so many years as a fulminating, unsettled young adult, in my late teens and twenties, that “You’re not my type” is as much of an excuse,as “Women are such jerks about relationships”.  In looking for answers to my own predicament, I met, and listened to, several downcast people, of both genders.  It became obvious that, if I wanted to meet one who would be my mate, for life, I would have to truly absorb her reality- past experiences, present circumstances, future dreams.  This happened to me, as so often happens, when I felt genuinely ready for a relationship, while having no idea with whom.  I met Penny two weeks later, we discussed all the above issues, and more, over 29 years, and I developed a real sense of what mattered to both of us.

Egos are fragile.  Life is fluid.  Everyone deserves respect, the right to pursue their dreams and a measure of security.  I wish all my  friends, especially my young friends, a wellspring of all three.

The Road to 65, Mile 333: Evergreen

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October 27, 2015, Chino Valley- There is a belief, more common than it may seem, that once a relationship becomes no longer of this Earth, the one “left behind” is somehow set adrift, and is on a path that will surely lead to yet another relationship- that IS of this Earth.

I have found this to be applicable to some people.  In the universal sense, though, it is just so much hooey. Of course, generally speaking, the only thing applicable to everyone on Earth is that, eventually, we each get to leave it.

When we do, I am of the belief that one who feels a tie to those who have gone on ahead is able to receive guidance from them, and will connect, more intensely, in the life that follows.  I am of no illusion that I know the form that life will take, though I doubt it will involve corporeal existence.  The tests and trials of a physical life are meant to hone spiritual skills and strengths.

My relationship with the spirit once known as Penny is an eternal one.  I feel guided and much blessed, every day.  My closest friend is, in the words of a couple of songwriters, one in the ’70’s and one earlier this year, “evergreen”.