JJ#3 – The Secret To It All

I know most writers save their ultimate secrets until the end of the story. But, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am different. I am going to give you the ultimate secret to life right now. 😉

Always Open Your Mind To Different Possibilities.

To me, being closed minded is the ultimate in stupidity. Yes, I realize that many of us are just too fearful to think there might be another way to live our lives. For some, it just takes a giant leap to actually make changes. I could say those people are in a rut, but I really think it comes down to courage to face today and tomorrow with hope instead of despair. That is a very hard thing for some to do.

I don’t care what you might say, none of us has a lock on life! We are all just playing it by ear as each year passed. Mostly we make mistakes, but sometimes we also do something right. We should pay attention to those “right” times to try to learn lessons from them for the challenging event.

Unfortunately, most of us instead concentrate on the stuff we screwed up and that teaches us not to take risks. Risks can result in failure and that is something we want to avoid to a paranoid degree. We learn from our mistakes so as to maybe do it right the next time. We don’t stagnate on an event in our past and live it for the rest of our lives. There are other possibilities that will result in a more joyous life.

When I see men of my generation still living the Vietnam war of more than 50 years ago, I shutter at a wasted life that is stuck in the past. But, it seems we make more guys, and now gals, like this with each of the wars we inevitably get ourselves into. When will we ever learn? Wasted lives due to unnecessary traumatic experiences is a true tragedy of my generation.

When I see so many senior citizens and even those younger think that it is better to try to bring back the past rather than to do something to make America better for tomorrow, I see helplessness. By their inordinate fear of the future they have put a heavy burden on their children and grandchildren to fix what our generation won’t.

The secret I gave you above is similar to one of my ten pillars of life.

Embrace Change

That is the way we move forward as people, communities, and nations. Whether you believe it or not, we are all in this together and we need to look out for each other, instead of considering almost everyone different from our, an enemy.

The Rise of “Mom & Pop” Businesses

I know one of the ranting points of many folks is how the “mom & pop” business have almost disappeared from America. But according to an article I recently read they are mounting a very striking comeback. Thanks to Amazon!

Several of the items I have purchased recently are obviously from small and medium sized business. Amazon encourages small businesses to engage with them. They are not like brick and mortar stores who have only so much shelf space. Customers don’t have to roam down isle after isle to try to find what they are looking for. Amazon is an ideal place for small businesses.

Of course I realize that Amazon wants their share of the profits for their small business sales but really they are not much different from most brick and mortar business in that regard. According to USA Today, Amazon has helped 1.9 million U.S. based small and medium sized business (SMB) to generate more than $160 billion in sales in 2018. The number of SMBs with more than $1 million in sales grew by 20% last year.

Amazon is indeed good for many small businesses. But that isn’t just some making your stuff, it also include authors who self-published books. They made about $260 million for their prose. Publishing a book used to be an expensive proposition but now with e-books, even I am contemplating becoming a “published author”.

And that is still not all that Amazon offers small business. They are now encouraging entrepreneurs to build, with Amazon’s help, their own package delivery services.

I remember when Jeff Bezos first started Amazon, he impressed me by stating up front that Amazon would not be issuing any dividends. Instead he would be plowing all profits back into the company. He definitely had a LONG term view of what he wants his business to be. His view of the company made me buy some Amazon stock. I wish I had bought much more than I did!

Being a database guy myself, I can appreciate how he built efficiency into his business model. Thanks to his unique database algorithms he managed to do what no one else even envisioned. A big part of his recent profits are providing that structure to other businesses.

I’m pretty sure that an Amazon type business model that will dominate 21st century sales of goods and services. Just like so many other jobs today, you don’t have to be physically located and any particular part of the country to be a successful business anymore.

JJ#2- Joyous Journey Rules

I am one of the many people who regularly watch NCIS on TV. There are so many NCIS’s now that I guess I need to expand that sentence. I’m talking about the one with Leroy Jethro Gibbs. One of the things I like about him is his rules. I don’t know how many rules he has, but his team seems to know them all.

When I was trying to find a format for this new project of RJsCorner I thought of Jethro and his rules, so I thought I would start my set of rules on having a joyous life in my senior years. 😉

If you have any suggestions on what to add, I am open to them.


In investigating sources for posts, I have come across more than I ever imagined. I think this topic could go on forever (ha). One of the top sources is a guy named Ernie Zelinski. He has written several books on the topic of finding joy in your life. He definitely knows how to enjoy life.

One is entitled

The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed, and Overworked — 21st Century.

Another is

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor.

As we go thorough this new series I’m sure you will come to appreciate Ernie as much as I do.


Let’s finish up this boring preparatory work by telling you I am giving each post in this topic a unique number. Since I hope to build up the joyful story one brick at a time, numbering the post will make them easier to refer to them in the future.

Next time I am going to give you the main secret to what I think allows us to accomplish a joyous journey in our lives. I know giving my secret out at the front end of the story is pretty unusual, but since I plan on referring to it many times to reinforce what I will be talking about, it just makes sense.

JJ#1- Joyful??

Seeking a Joyous Journey Through Our Retirement Years

With this post, I am introducing yet another new special project here on RJsCorner. It is entitled

Seeking a “Joyous Journey” Through Our Retirement Years.

This project will hopefully become a major part of this blog in the coming months. I have also redesigned the header above to reflect a new direction for RJsCorner.

Joyful is often a very misunderstood word, especially in today’s hectic world. Some think that being joyful and being happy are the same thing, but I am finding that couldn’t be further from the truth.

What is joy?  Joy is a state of being, whereas happiness tends to be an externally triggered event. Happiness is based on other people, places, thoughts and events. It’s nice to have moments of happiness, but it is much more fulfilling to be in a self-induced constant state of joy. You see the difference don’t you?

A primary source of a joyful life comes from our attitudes. It is not always about accepting the way things are, but sometimes it is, especially those things we have no control over.   Joyfulness is a state of mind. It is hard to completely wrap your mind around the concept of joy in just a few words or even books. Many people, me included, have sought joy throughout their life and never manage to really find it.

I want to make it clear here that I am not turning RJsCorner into some “feel good” site. My posts on this topic won’t be about citing a bunch of platitudes and buzz words. Instead, it will be about learning to take control of the dark side of life and eventually letting the sunshine fill its place. It will mean we caste off the negative things that presently consume way too much of our time. The degree in which we manage to do that will determine how successful we are at finally achieving a Joyous Life.

Making a joyous life will mean thinking for ourselves and questioning how we got to where we are. Changing your attitude toward life is not fluffy, and that is exactly what I hope to accomplish, at least personally.

It is a challenge, especially for me, to move my mindset from my current state of negative thinking to a more joyous path but I am determined to do just that. Just how it will happen I don’t fully know yet. But the most obvious obstacle is to avoid the stench of politics and other distasteful things that are taking up too much real estate in my personal journey.

I will continue with some of the regular stuff here, that many of you seem to enjoy. That includes of course, “Having My Say” about things, giving you some techie lessons, and of course snippets here and there, and some of my bouts of creativity.

I would really like to hear your thoughts on this new agenda here at RJsCorner.

AR#1 -Alternative Reflections

Alternative Reflections is a new category for me here at RJsCorner. It is meant to allow my creative side a little more leeway in my life. Most of the posts in this category will be where I take some of my favorite photos and expose them to artistic apps to turn them into “art”. Of course art is in the eye of the beholder, so I will wait for your judgement on whether I am doing a good job.

The first installment is a picture of me taken at a cafe attached to the Westside Market in Cleveland. It was taken last year during our trip to see Punxsutawney  Phil. A full post on that soon. 🙂

An enjoyable breakfast in a small Cleveland cafe.

Transitions

I hardly remember my college years now, but I know it was a joyous time in my life.

Life is about transitions. We start out with a total dependence on our parents, and then, except for the homeschooled, we start interacting with others in a school environment.  Our teenage years are a tumultuous period where we are supposed to grow from being a kid to an adult. This period is the first trimester of our life.

The second trimester is mainly about our work and social world.  We choose an occupation that hopefully gives us a purpose and enough income to have a comfortable life and to be able to save for our retirement years.

The third trimester is about our post-work world.  It is about those years where we finally have a choice of doing whatever we want. In some ways that freedom in the most taxing time of them all. But, that is a topic for future posts


Life is all about transitions, and RJsCorner is no exception. This blog has been in existence in various forms for about 12 years now. During the past two years I have allowed RJsCorner to become more and more involved in the dark side of life. That certainly includes our wretched political environment and the fear and isolationism that invade far too many of us. I am ready to change that in a dramatic way going forward.

One of my core instincts in my life has always been to “fix’ things. I am a fixer.  I see the problems of the world and think I can in some small way help to fix them, but of course that is usually total folly on my part. Yes, I know the Gandhi quote about doing little things, but I’m just not sure I want that to be part of my third trimester anymore.

I have spent the last couple of weeks working on the next transition for this blog. I have some more to do, but the foundation is now complete. I will let you know more about that soon. I promise I will be back with an even more enjoyable place to visit. Please be patient. 🙂

The Visions of Youth

Generations

I can still remember my view of the 1960s when I was in college. They were primarily about how the old guys in Washington were messing things up. College campuses were raging with demonstrations against a senseless war in Vietnam that eventually cost us over 58,000 my generation. The Chicago police were beating up peaceful demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention. Inflation was running in double digits.  And then there were the gas shortages. There was a lot that we Baby Boomers were upset about and we were determined to make a change.

Fast forward to today and the same thing is happening, except this time we are the old guys screwing things up. We have now been mired down in wars in the Middle East for the past 20 years. It seems like an eternity. The rich have gobbled up a  giant share of the prosperity.  Job insecurity reigns. The idea of being loyal to one company and retiring with a pension is now non-existent.

So, it seems the same things are happening with the Millennials.  They are unhappy because of the way the old guys in Washington are messing things up. But this time the “old guys” are us Boomers.

The emerging divisions between the young and old may once again become a cultural fracture.  We Baby Boomers were an audacious bunch. We moved through society  doing a lot of grabbing. Wages were rising, cheap houses were readily available.  We may not have been rich, but at least we felt secure in our jobs. And, we really screwed up royally when we let a proudly ignorant, extreme narcissist take over the Oval Office. Too many Baby Boomers voted for him because they were fed up with politics and simply didn’t know how to fix the problems.

If only we had used some of that power we obtained  in our early years to help make our society stronger. We did a lot, but there was much we ignored in favor of self.  We could have done much more about climate change we were warned years ago about it. We could have done more to insure that our country followed the rest of the developed countries and provided health care for all our citizens.  We could have done more to regulate a runaway capitalism.

The young Democratic party hopefuls are shouting loudly about things they want to change.  There is Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez and her Green New Deal. There is 37 years-old Pete Buttigieg who thinks it’s time to bring common sense back into Washington. Almost half of the Democratic candidates are below 50. They want to take over deciding what America will look like in the Post-Trump years. I kinda think they should.

It’s time for us to let them try to do better than we Baby Boomers did.

Poetry at RJsCorner??

I have always been fascinated by poetry. But in my early years I was taught that poetry was for sissies and no young boy wants to be a sissy. As typical with many young people, I was introduced to poetry by Edger Allan Poe and particularly “The Raven”. The words of that poem certainly painted a vivid picture. Most of Poe’s works were dark in nature, but as I learned that is not what poetry is necessarily all about.

It’s hard to put a definition on poetry. It seems there are about as many definitions as there are poets. Some want to put strict rules for writing, and some say you make your own rules. There are also a myriad of types of poems. Some rely on cadence, some on rhyme, some by just content.

If you want to give me your idea of what a poem is I will certainly welcome it. But to me “The rules of poetry are in the eye of the beholder”. So, here are my general rules:

A Poem

  • Is painting a picture in words.
  • Focuses on one primary emotion
  • Has an identifiable cadence
  • Has more than 15 words on a line
  • Has 4 lines to a stanza.
  • Has around seven stanzas.

At least getting started, I am trying to live by my rules. The type of poetry I will primarily be attempting is called “free verse”. That means it doesn’t necessarily rhyme.  

My first, and only poem so far here on RJsCorner brought on some concerns about my level of depression. That was exactly the picture I wanted to paint, so I guess I was successful. The poem was meant to be depressing, but not necessarily at my current my depth.

What I mainly like about writing poetry is that it demands a greater level of thought. At least starting out, I am going to use a photo from my portfolio as the focus. The poem will paint in words what I give you in that corresponding picture.

I don’t know how successful I will be but I am going to give it a serious try. Of course, you will be the judge of my accomplishments in the new endeavor.


Poetry is painting a picture in words