Wedded Bliss??

I am going to get a little personal and a lot philosophical with this post . It is about the state of marriage and my personal experiences with it. First of all I was forty years old when I got married for the first and only time. During those years, I thought I was destined to be a “single” guy all my life. My Aspie traits were just not conducive to the dating scene, so about this time I was pretty much done with dating. Too many first or second dates only. There was just too much frustration involved in the whole process.

I was a on-again/off-again Catholic during those years, who remembered the words of St. Paul about marriage. He basically said “get married if you must, but it is better to remain single.” It had something about a wife taking time away from praising the Lord. I took those words on faith and convinced myself I was better off without a spouse.

I also read the statistics that almost a third of marriages are broken within five years. My two brothers had already been married twice, so I joked that my family had used up all the allowed marriages.

But as often happens, just when I resolved to never marry it hit me in the face. My future wife asked me out on a date to a 1985 company Christmas party and we were married the following April. That four month stretch was very surreal. It was as if someone else was occupying my body.

Skipping forward thirty-three years, I ask myself if I would do the same thing?

But before I give you my answer to that I want to tell you that my Aspie traits demand that I be brutally honest and that fact seem to be taking charge of me in these senior years. Brutal honesty has gotten me in trouble more times than I can remember. So, my honest answer to the above question is:

I don’t know

One of the difficulties with marriage that last for a long term is that the two people often grow apart in significantly ways. In some ways that makes marriage feel like a stifling thing, especially in our retirement years.

  • One person loves to travel and the other hates it.
  • One person loves philosophical discussions and the other thinks all that is baloney.
  • One person loves change and the other embraces stasis.
  • Even many of the once common interests gradually disappear.

How do you maintain a joyful life given those differences? Yes, we had a lot of pleasant shared experiences, but does that tilt the scale?

But then I also look back and wonder if I would have survived this long without someone to help me cope with the difficulties in life. If I had gone deaf alone would I have fallen deeply into depression and maybe suffered the consequences of that dreadful condition. I think the reasons for this post is because of a recent suicide of a nephew in his early forties. He seemed to constantly be trying to find himself and just couldn’t accomplish that. Would that have been me thirty years ago? I really don’t know.

Of course there have been many good times in these thirty-three years. Sometimes it is too easy to forget that when difficulties or differences arise. I know that the divorce rate among seniors is the highest of most any other age group. I kinda think it is mainly because of the two people growing apart.

Carvana

I’m sure that if you checkout the richest people in about any community you will find that many own car dealerships. But I kinda think that is about to change and change drastically.

Car sales are about to be Amazonized.

I know that is not a real word but I suspect it soon will be. It is kinda like google is now a verb as well as a business. Finally getting to the subject at hand, The company called Carvana is a different way to get a car. You make your selection among thousands of choices and if you agree to the price it will be delivered to you within a day or two. Of course, there are standard warranties and return options.

If you want they will also offer you buy your old car at basically no profit to them and come and get it and sell it at auction. Yeah, they do test drive it and such before the check rendered just to make sure they will not lose on the transaction.

As Amazon, they don’t have a large brick and mortar store to maintain and they take a profit that is not exorbitant. I am convinced that like Amazon, they will basically redefine what buying a car is all about. When they, or maybe another company, gets into new car sales using the same scheme they will almost immediately be dominant in their field. I know many will lament the “old ways” of doing things, but the rest of us will finally be able to buy our cars without all the hassle that is required today.


Walmart was the standard torchbearer of yesterday on giving the customer what he wants at a price he can afford. Given the Internet has made global communities, companies like Amazon will be the staple of the 21st century. Economy of scale will put all of us on the same level and that in the end is a good thing.

Before you chime in here, yes I realize that some local jobs will be lost in the process. Car salesman will go the way of travel agents of the past and new more intellectual and challenging opportunities will replace them. Everything becoming global will mean opportunities are global as well. Some locals will benefit if they go with the times and some will perish if they try to stick to the old ways. That is what progress is and what it has always been.

A Joyous Journey Is About Coping

Having a joyous journey doesn’t mean your life is obstacle free.

In fact, it is more likely the opposite. I know I, and I suspect many other seniors, get depressed when we visit a typical retirement blog on the internet. Almost all of them are about the great time the blogger has experienced. They travel to many foreign places and tell you how mystical they are. They tell you about how strong and supportive their families are. They often bring up their spouses as those who support and agree with them 100%. Life is just great! Life is joyous!

How come it is not so great for some of us!

  • Are we abject failures when it comes to having a joyous retirement?
  • How come our daily focus seem to be about the aches and pains of old age?
  • How come we can no longer sprint a mile at a time when all those bloggers around seem to do it everyday?
  • Am I the only one with bad hips and knees?
  • Why do my spouse and I disagree on almost anything?

I realize that often the same thing happens with our social media accounts. Our Facebook friends don’t seem to have a unpleasant moment. Instagram is full of pictures of people smiling and enjoying life. Life couldn’t be better, especially for us in our senior years. How depressing it that?

I see that suicide and depression are running rampant today and I think much of it comes from how we how perceive the world around us. I am going to put on my old person hat now and tell you that much of my early life was spent in serious poverty but I just didn’t know it. We ate meat only a couple of times a week as we could not afford it more often. The rest of the week was generally mac and cheese or spaghetti. My total wardrobe could fit in less than 12 inches of closet space. The thing about it was that

I thought most everyone else lived as I did.

I just didn’t have much to compare my life to. Today, via social media, we are surrounded by words, pictures, tweets and such that appear to be very different from our circumstances. We can’t help but know that we are poor, not particularly good looking, and without much money, and probably not many “friends”. It is driven into us daily by our social media feeds.

Getting back to the story as hand, yes, it’s nice to see that others can travel the world with little concern for resources or health issues. We can at least on some level enjoy the experience through their stories. But…

My “Joyous Journey” special project here on RJsCorner is not going to be about typical retirement blog topics. I will to show you that despite our troubles in life with mobility, health, resources, spousal disagreements, and such, we can be joyous if we keep the right perspectives. I am going to give you stories about how I now stumble when trying to get up from a squat, sometimes to the verge of falling. I’m going to tell you about some of the many places where my wife and I see the world very differently now. I will sometimes tell you about the good times but I will also tell you about my typical times and how I cope with them. In the end, life is about coping. No matter whether we admit it or not, none of us can escape the aches and pains of old age. It eventually creeps up on all of us. I kinda see it as you gotta have the bad times in order to fully appreciate the good times. As part of my 10 Pillars, I want to assure you that you are not the only one who has troubles in their senior years but that doesn’t keep us from having a joyous journey.

Adversity builds character but it also can build a Joyous Journey in our retirement years, if we just let it.

Too Fluffy!!

Note To Myself

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am struggling with what I want RJsCorner to look like in its post-political life. I know I want to boycott things that are keeping me from having a more joyous life. I know that is primarily the current Oval Office occupant and the poisonous atmosphere he has strewn across the political landscape.

But I don’t want RJsCorner to turn too “FLUFFY”

When it does that it, at least in my mind, has lost its purpose, and probably viewership. I am just not a “feel-good” type guy. That seems too shallow for my persona. I need to be true to myself. I question everything, that is who I am and that should be the primary emphasis of posts on my corner.

My new list of Special Projects as shown in the header above is meant to add depth to my corner, but never replace my “Having My Say”, I need to keep that fact in mind as I go forward here. I must seek my joyous journey in my own way.

I must say I am struggling with the “Painting with Words”. It is more difficult than I imagined but that just makes it more challenging and therefore more joyful. Doing artsy things with my photo portfolio via “Alternate Reflections” is very self-satisfying. And of course my decades long journey into my “Search of America” keeps me on an even keel so to speak.

Just because I have boycotted the political arena for now doesn’t mean that I can’t handle the serious stuff that challenges our world.

I need to always keep that in mind going forward. Thanks for being part of my “strategy meeting”. I promise RJsCorner will not get too fluffy. There are too many of those sites around today as it is.

It’s All About the Neighborhood.

I don’t know why I have these times when so much flashes across my brain? The thoughts come and go quickly unless I write them down. Getting down to it, I think one of the primary reasons the world is in such a turmoil has to do with neighborhoods.

For us in the U.S. it is about being bogged down in the Middle East. We have made enemies in pretty much every country in that region for one reason or another. Let’s face it, our nation building of the 21st century is an abject failure. When will we ever learn.

Let’s stick to our neighborhood instead of traipsing to the other side of the world to find “things to fix”.

Yeah, I know oil was the primary reason we got so engulfed, pun intended, in that area of the world. But for the most part our critical dependence on their oil is, or will soon be, a thing of the past. Thankfully, we are finding other means for energy we need as a nation.

By sticking to our neighborhood I mean let’s at least stay in this hemisphere. If we had learned this lesson by now, I’m pretty sure our supposed immigration problem would be non-existent. As is the case for the rest of the world immigration is primarily caused by citizens of of neighboring countries trying to escape the tyranny of a takeover government. Let’s worry about Venezuela and forget about Iraq.

Looking at an even higher level view of this stuff, The United Nations was a great idea when it was being conceived almost a hundred years ago now. It was meant as a non-military way to deal with rogue nations and the popup dictators that caused people to flee the country of their birth. One of the major problems with the UN is that there is just too much cultural differences from one region of the world to another. The predominantly Muslim countries see things very fundamentally different than western democracies.

Forward progress in the UN would be to break it up. Let’s have an Eastern Hemisphere UN and a Western Hemisphere UN and maybe even an Asia UN. Each would have a better chance of influencing matters that now cause us to go to war with each other.

I know, I know, there are alot of associated problems with even this solution. But, I just think they would be more manageable if we stuck to our own neighborhood.

The Next Battery

It seems that almost everything now is powered by batteries and everything that isn’t has a USB port to charge up batteries. Those of you who have been around long enough know that every few years a new generation of batteries is developed. There were alkaline batteries, then Nicad batteries and now there are Lithium-Ion batteries. Each generation of battery is better than the last generation but they never seem to catch up with the ever increasing demand for more power.

Our electronics, while they consume less power per task than they used to, continue to evolve in power and need more and smaller sources to drive them. From what I have read recently the next generation of batteries is on the horizon. Here is a quote from the article:

New research out of a Columbia University Engineering team, via phys.org, has uncovered a method to stabilize solid electrolytes in lithium metal, a.k.a solid-state batteries. Utilizing a boron nitride nano-coating can produce batteries that offer up to 10 times the charge capacity of graphite based Li-ion batteries. In addition, ceramic electrolytes often used in solid-state battery design are non-flammable, reducing safety concerns.

Source: https://www.androidauthority.com/solid-state-battery-978899/

Ten times the capacity and are finally non-flammable! Maybe that will meet our need for at least a few years. 🙂

Finishing this post off slightly off topic, I want to give you a short history lesson about electricity. In the early days, meaning the late 1800s there was a battle for what would be the standard for distributing electricity. It was similar to what has happened recently, well at least my recently, between BetaMax and VHS. Edison started the distribution scheme with DC electricity, but since it could not be transmitted more that a few miles it required power stations in almost every neighborhood. Along came Tesla. No, I am not talking about the auto manufacturer who simply borrowed his name, I am talking about the one who invented AC electricity. The very distinct advantage of AC is that it can be transmitted for almost unlimited distances. Long story short, Tesla won. But, given what the future might be, maybe not.

Now that alternative energy source are getting a major market share, it won’t be long before individual households with have the own power generating capabilities and that power will be DC electricity. Finally getting to the point here, when batteries are able to store the household energy everything will likely turn to DC powered. I don’t know how long that will take but I for one can certainly see it as a reality.

Giving Up Social Media?

No, I am not one of those old people who is against everything invented in the last 20 years. Nor am I a person who spends the typical 2 hours a day clicking through my social media accounts. I am a user but only to a very limited degree. But, maybe even that is going to change.

I certainly understand the importance of having instant communications between a diversity of people across the world. They say Facebook has brought people together. It has billions of users so that must be the case.

My problem with social media is that there is so much bilge clogging up the system to make it extremely difficult to uncover its good side. Too many people ranting about this or that. Too many depressed people because they don’t have high enough “friends” counts.

I also see where many psychologists and such say social media is responsible for much of the epidemic of loneliness, especially among the younger generations. Too many young people spend so much time interacting with social media and rarely actually talk with other people. Let’s face it social Media is probably doing more harm than good in these recent years. It has sadly become an addiction to far too many of us.

I see there are groups now that want to just shut down Facebook, rather than try to break that massive monopoly up. I know every generation has its own problems that the older folks say is ruining it. But, is that more a reality now than it has been in the past?

Getting back to the personal level, I haven’t looked at any of my social media accounts in almost a month. I get a few notification in my mail feeds but they are quickly deleted. I am seriously considering deleting my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. I think my life would be more joyful without them.

Let me know what you think about removing ourselves from the social media world?

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.