The Ultimate Freedom

This sounds like a pretty grandiose title, I hope the post lives up to it. 🙂 I’m going to clue you in on what I found the ultimate freedom to be. It took me almost seven decades to find it. At first, it seemed more like a prison than freedom but I have found that misconceived view to be the case in more circumstances than I care to remember.

The ultimate freedom was cloaked in darkness when I first came upon it. It just didn’t look like freedom at first glance. Ok, the wait is over I will now tell you what the ultimate freedom is. Ultimate freedom is when you no longer have to do something just to create money.

Now I guess I have to explain my personal circumstances in order to support my dark pre-story.

I left the corporate world at fifty-five. After I got my thirty years in and was eligible for a full pension, my corporate division was sold to a Chinese company. We were told that nothing would change, but of course, within six months massive layoffs started. Within a year 95% were gone, including me.

All my life I had lived pretty frugally so I had enough resources along with the fixed pension and future social security payments to be able to live without any additional income. But, as is often the case, I refused to understand what that freedom could give me. It would be several years later before I fully realized what was in front of me.

When I finally went into the full retirement mode six years after leaving the corporate world, the idea of having total control of my time absolutely scared me. The main reason for that is that I didn’t do the work required to really appreciate what I had. Instead, I languished around as pretty much a couch potato for a couple of years feeling sorry for myself and the self-imposed boredom that followed.

Finally, I got it through my head to actually use this ultimate freedom. I finally started doing some things that I had only dreamed about up to then. One was to be a frequent volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Another was to start a blog about my view of the world. I had always enjoyed writing and now I could do whatever I wanted with that skill. Other things would eventually fall in place, but it was not until a few months ago that I decided to try and take my ultimate freedom to a whole other level.

I actually spent the time thinking and dreaming of what I could now do that wasn’t really possible before. That brought up a lot of hidden, or maybe unrealized goals that need to be further pursued. Finally, when 2019 dawned I decided to bring up yet another blog, this one dedicated to creativity. I am now about forty-seven days into this year-long project of becoming a more creative person. If this sort of thing appeals to you, I would like to invite you to come along on my journey. I think we can both learn if we do this together. Click on the CrackingCreativity logo in the right column here to join the fun.

How about you, what is your definition of Ultimate Freedom?

Free Range Kids…

I am going to tell you a story about when I was growing up in the 1950s and then put a modern twist to it.

I don’t have a lot of memories prior to my eighth year of life. I vaguely remember spots here or there before then. But I do remember when we moved into our brand new $14,000 tract house in the suburbs when I was 8-years-old. There were five of us living in a 900 square foot, three bedroom, one bathroom house. Compared to where we lived prior to that this was a modern mansion.

My new suburban neighborhood was an adventure waiting to happen. We lived 4 blocks away from the Catholic school I attended so I and my two brothers walked that distance every day. There was also a gas station across the street from the school that infatuated me. I spent quite a bit of time watching them gassing up cars, checking the oil, and of course, cleaning the windshield. That gas station proved invaluable a couple of years later when I broke my collarbone trying out for the school football team and as a result, wore a very hot and itchy plaster vest through the summer. With the station hose, I blew a stream of air under the plaster vest to make things at least tolerable.

We lived eight blocks away from the drugstore with a soda fountain. It was on a busy road and we weren’t really supposed to go there but on occasion did so anyway. I always ordered the “suicide” which included squirts of a half-dozen of the flavors available.

Then there was the mushroom factory about four blocks away from home where we loved to climb the freshly delivered piles of dirt which in reality were piles of composted cow manure! We didn’t know that is what they were but that would have made it even cooler. (ha). But, there was that day when I was climbing the trees in front of the factory and fell down on a sharp wrought iron fence due to climbing out on a broken limb. They told my dad in the emergency room that the fence came within an inch of puncturing my lung! But, except for a “bragging” scar no real damage was done. That episode did make me more aware of the dangers around me. That proved to be a valuable lesson I’m sure.

I’m running out of space here but I did want to mention the lumber yard that was about 6 blocks from home. We got much of the material we needed for our adventure projects from the scrap pile there. The owner sometimes gave us small pieces of wood that he cut off customer orders and sometimes we would sneak in on our own to get them. It was kind of like a commando raid for us.

The moral of this story is that I learned to be an adventurous person from my childhood years. I learned what it was like to be out on my own. All those lessons would help shape my adult life.

I was a free range kid…

Finally getting to the point of this story, I saw something recently on the PBS Newshour that the average ten-year-old has likely never been more than two blocks away from his home unaccompanied! There is apparently too much parental fear of abduction and such now. But, the statistics just don’t bear out this fear. In reality, kids are much safer today than they were in my day.

Are we stunting our kids by keeping them homebound and not letting them be free-range as we were in my generation? Are we preventing them from the adventures of discovery? Are we stifling the future inventor and innovators? That, along with the fears should be on the minds of all parents today.

What do you think?

Being Alone…

2018-08-27_08-16-02Even after 32 years of marriage being alone is something I still relish. It seems I must have my alone time. That seems to be especially true now that I am in my senior years.  But, I have always been pretty much a loner. I just never have seemed to know what to do in a group.

I suspect a big part of this is probably due to my self-proclaimed Asperberger’s Syndrome. Interactions with others have always been difficult for me.  It takes a special person to accept my nuances and call me a friend. I have had a few in my life.

Being alone is self-empowering to me. It is when I have my most creative thoughts. My daily routine includes several “alone” times.

After my daily shower, I am alone to digest the latest news via my Internet feeds. I admit that that particular alone time is shrinking by self-choice as I just can’t seem to stomach what is going on in America today.

Another serious alone time is my man-cave otherwise known as the barn. I am fortunate enough to have a 24 x48 ft pole barn where I do all my physical type things.  It is where I spend quite a bit of time working on uRV ( my micro RV). This weeks project is to rubberize the roof to keep out all those pesky leaks during downpours.

Another alone time is “going up to the mountain”. That is the highest point on my property where I have a six-foot glider.  I spend many warm weather hours up there swinging and reading and just plain looking at the sky and thinking.

Being alone is something I can very much handle…

On Vacation Until ??

canstockphoto19651352.jpgI’m taking some time off from RJsCorner to do some yard work and other special projects.

One of those projects is to bring up a new website for my photo portfolios.  Flickr and such just don’t meet my requirements so I am designing a site of my own.  My Information Technology (IT) experience comes in handy even in my retirement years. 🙂

I’ll let you know when that is up and what the URL is.  I expect it to be finished in a couple of weeks. I don’t know how long I will be gone from RJsCorner.  If Congress can take a vacation from their madness, I guess I can too.

Thinking About Life

2018-07-27_08-00-21.pngThe picture here from my Facebook friend The Idealist brought back some rather pleasant memories. In the past and to a much lesser degree even today I have often sat out on a starry night and talked to myself about life. These were often times where I was approaching meltdown due to having so many people around me.  One of the main purposes was to be alone with my thoughts so, no, there was no one with me.

Many of those 2am nights were while I was attending college at Purdue University. It seems I was never along except for these times. I shared a room with Bob for four years and even though I really liked him I needed my alone time.  So, about once a month you could find me at 2am along the railroad track out by the airport looking at the sky and dreaming about life.  I often played a game where I tried to imagine what I would be doing 20, 30, or even 40 years in the future.  On a tangent note, there just doesn’t seem to be as many stars in the sky as there were during those years. 🙂

 

 

About Our Personal Mortality…

My father was one of those people who could not deal with his own mortality.  When a discussion was about death issues, he would say “this is too gruesome” and leave the room. He just didn’t want to think about it.

I, on the other hand, have no qualms about discussing my own death. In fact, I am ready to accept it as each day comes and passes. That doesn’t mean that I welcome death, I would like to have a long and fruitful life still ahead of me, but if that doesn’t happen then so be it. I just don’t need to fret about it.

canstockphoto3200467.jpgIn the last year or so I have lived my life with a one-day-at-a-time philosophy. During my morning shower, I always thank the Lord for yesterday and the day just starting. I don’t worry too much about the future anymore. Presently to me, the future means tomorrow but I do still allow myself to dream about days sometimes way beyond tomorrow.

I also no longer worry about the past or the many mistakes I made along the way.  You can’t do anything about them so I have finally accepted that worrying about them is useless. What matters to me now is that I live each day with the possibility of it being my last. To me, that concept is not morbid instead it is freeing as it forces me to enjoy all the time I have left.

Dad, like his father and grandfather, died in his 78th year. If that is the case for me then I have about 2,300 beautiful days on this earth to enjoy yet.  I plan on cherishing each one 🙂