For years I have loved ramen noodles and made them a staple part of my diet. I would eat them as often as four times a week. Well, no more! It has been a long time in coming, but I am saying good-bye to ramen. In case you are not familiar with the world of noodles, I am talking about those plastic packages of dried noodles that you can often find on sale five for a dollar. I enjoy them so much that on more than one occasion I have thought of writing my own ramen cookbook. Well now, as my life quest has started down the road to healthy eating, ramen is being left by the wayside.
This is the time of year to reflect on what has happened in the last twelve months, think about what didn’t happen that we wanted, and make resolutions to do better over the next twelve months. This process has become as routine as many of the holidays we celebrate each year, but I am grateful for it. One of my leaders told me that when progress is measured, progress increases. Kind of related to this, how can we be on course when we do not know what our course is, or if we have a course, how can we stay on course if we never take time to evaluate where we are? We’ll, for me, there is a course that has been a theme of my life for the past decade or more, was the course I was thinking about when I started this blog, and ever looms strong in my mind – carpe diem.
I have always believed that the many side business projects I have engaged in over the past 25 years were to make more money, work towards self-employment, and have alternative revenue sources for more financial security. And these are all true, but the greatest benefit of all, which is what I just discovered, is the distraction these highly emotionally driven projects have been from me turning an idle mind inward and becoming lost is depressing and destructive thoughts.
One of my favorite questions to ask kids, or even adults, about things is what was your favorite? What was your favorite vacation? What restaurants do you like the most? What is your favorite movie? Why do people want to know our favorites? Is it so they know what to get us when our birthday comes around? Perhaps, but I think we are sometimes looking for things in common. I also think favorites give insights into our personalities. For example, who is your favorite Disney character? At a minimum, they can be an interesting point of conversation. In reading my old journals, I have found it interesting what my favorites were way way back, so I am going to try to list some of my favorites now.
This is a history of my initial computer exposure and my ownership. I doubt anyone will find this interesting but me, but since computers have been a big part of my life, the documentation of my quest would be incomplete without it. First of all, to say that computers are a big part of my life is as much an understatement as saying Bill Gates has enough money for his needs. Almost every aspect of my life is linked to computers: work, photography, entertainment, church service, vacations, journal or blog writing, computer programming, staying in touch with fiends, and so on. I’m not saying all of these are one hundred percent computer based of that I don’t do other things. I am just saying that computers are everywhere in my life and have been for a long time.
Some have a favorite show of the season. Some have a TV series they love. Some have a TV series that is one of their all-time favorites. I have a favorite TV series ALL TIME – CBS’s Survivor. Through the years, I have liked many TV series:
- Super Friends, The Carol Burnett Show, and Gunsmoke when I was young.
- Charlie’s Angels, Little House on the Prairie, Giligan’s Island, and Threes Company in junior high.
- MASH and Family Ties in high school.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation and Chees in college.
- Home Improvement, Friends, and Alias in the early years of marriage.
- So You Think You Can Dance, The Amazing Race, and The Big Bang Theory more recently.
But none of them compares to Survivor.
When I was young, a box of Cracker Jack was one of my favorite treats. I loved the sweet brown coated popcorn and peanuts. I’m not sure what the coating was, but it tasted great. I remember that I would pop open a box, and pour the treat into my mouth. What made Cracker Jack even better was the toy surprise in each box. To many, these surprises are no big deal, but they were to me and obviously they had their appeal, because Cracker Jack and its surprise are still around today. The surprise, which was never bigger than an inch square and not much thicker than a quarter, could be a pendant , a book, a puzzle (I remember one where you maneuver a little steel ball through a maze andther was like a mini pinball machine), a set of tattoos (one of my favorites), a whistle, a top, and so on. Most prizes were OK but some were mini treasures, and I kept them all – yes, ALL. Some I played with a little but was always careful not to break or ruin them. Most were never played with, just gently handled and prized. Today I look back and see how this seemingly innocent practice might not have been the best behavior.
I have been accused of being stubborn, sometimes very stubborn. In many ways, it is deserved. For sure if I were on the outside looking at me, I would be willing to bet that my attitudes towards certain aspects of life or the world would probably never change, but they have, at least in one direction, which amazes me.
A few weeks ago, I was in Zion National Park, Utah – one of my favorite places in the world. I am fortunate that I live so close to the park and have had the opportunity to visit there about 20 times. On this occasion, the top thing on the todo list was to hike Angels Landing – a 1500 foot rock formation that is accessible either by rock climbing up a vertical face or winding your way up the back side along narrow trails that drop straight down to the valley below. To say I was nervous is an understatement. I was nervous about the strenuous hike and about slipping and falling to my death. For some, this hike is not a big deal, such as my son and daughter, but for me it was a fear I did not know if I could overcome.
A sign of old age, among so many, is more and more of the people close to you passing away. It feels like I have been on a run these past few years, and I really really don’t like it. No, really really does not capture it, I hate it. One of my favorite book characters, Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books, who always seems to have wisdom for me says, “After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” He also says, “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.” Yes, true true, I agree, but this does not make me feel the slightest bit better. In fact, in this case I can better relate with Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore’s rival who says, “There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!” Yes, he’s got it. This is how I feel. Of course, wise old Dumbledore has the response, “It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.” True, at least I think true, so where does this leave me?