Having My Say About Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is something I probably will never totally understand. I have problems even with the basic idea of love, let alone having it with no conditions attached, but even with that being the case, that is the main topic of today’s post. Let’s start with a more general discussion of trying to understand the perplexity of unconditional love, and then I will talk about it at a personal level.


I have no children but I suppose most parents give unconditional love to their children. I also realize that actions of the off-spring can become so strained that even this parent/child relationship comes with conditions, sometimes serious conditions. I’ve personally seen it happen with family members and friends.

People with serious addictions often have family just give up on them. They are tired of the thefts of their money to support the addiction, but mostly they are exhausted with the emotional strain is puts on their lives. Then there are some who are raised by parents with serious behavior problems. The kids can’t wait to get out of those circumstances. I know I lost a half-sister to suicide because of a narcissist mother who couldn’t show her the love she so desperately sought.


On a spiritual level, they say that God, at least the Christian version of him, has agape love for all of us. He loves us all the same love without any conditions attached. That is a very comforting proclamation, but what about the infant who dies falling in the bathtub. How can God allow the death of that child and still say he loves the child and maybe even more seriously the parents who will agonize over that death for their entire lives.

How can God allow millions to parish due to the unimaginable cruelty of a dictator. If everything is God’s will then he must condone even these actions. I know some answer that with “God works in mysterious ways”, but does anyone really buy into that excuse? Especially if they are on the receiving end of unimaginable agony?


Getting to this on a personal Aspie focused level, is it really possible for ANYONE to have unconditional love?

From an Aspie standpoint, let’s start off with a quote from Psychology Today:

Many people with Asperger’s find emotions messy and confusing. They struggle with expressing their emotions appropriately and often come across as unemotional or uncaring. In a piece for “Psychology Today,” Asperger’s sufferer Lynne Soraya notes that people with Asperger’s have trouble with emotional regulation. They are often able to detach during a crisis situation, but might express their feelings explosively later. They often get stuck in their own heads, swimming in a pool of deep emotions that they feel powerless to express. To avoid triggering an extreme or inappropriate emotional reaction, they keep the discussion logical. They focus on the facts surrounding love rather than presenting an emotionally laden declaration filled with unknown innuendos and hidden meanings.

I can see myself in much of the description above. Strong emotions are just not who I am and I guess love is the strongest emotion there is? I know I had great empathy for my father. He struggled with low self-esteem all his life. He just had no confidence in his abilities. He, like many in his generation just didn’t show emotions to any degree. I respected him greatly. He had life circumstances that I likely would have buckled under. If I have loved anyone it was probably my father.

I care dearly for my wife and I want to do whatever I can to make her life comfortable. We, especially now, seem to disagree on almost everything but that is ok. We take care of each other when the need arises. Maybe that is love, maybe not… But real unconditional love I will NEVER understand.

Augmented Realities #5 -Ottawa Reflections

In reality, this picture is more real than augmented. One of the things I really loved about Canada’s national capital is the reflection of the old on the new. That is, glass buildings next to the historical structures. It makes for some very interesting shots.

On a side note, when I renamed this “Special Project” to Augmented realities I didn’t know that that was already a defined term.

But it does fit perfectly doesn’t it?

Now Let Me Explain…

I know the general impression of the last post probably was that I am not very happy with my marriage of 33 years. While that is true to a degree, I don’t really regret the choices I made in life. I take my vows seriously and would not think about quitting my marriage, especially now. Even though we might not agree on things, we simply need each during these final years.

I think the crux of Monday’s post was that I was looking at today’s world and whether I would still marry if I were a 2019 college graduate just entering my adult life. Stepping out of context a little bit, one of my core life preoccupations is to imagine what things would be like if… I have been doing that since I was a very young man. I seem to equally look back and forwards with these dreams.

It seems that the 21st century is being geared primarily for those who don’t choose marriage as their life goal. Let’s face it, many young people today are finding that wedded bliss is just not for them. One of those was someone I got to know in the critical care unit two years ago after my SDH emergency brain surgery. Here is what I said about her on a March 12, 2017 post.

Sam, short for Samantha, was my critical care daytime RN for the two days I was in that part of the hospital. We spent quite a bit of time together and I felt I got to know her pretty well. She is a “traveling RN”, that is she moves around the country working in one hospital then another. Her last stint was in Alaska. She works three twelve hour shifts in the CCU and then has the rest of the week off to explore. She is a millennial who shuns high heels and makeup but has a very natural beauty that quickly shines through. She says she wants to be known for what she does, not what she puts on her body. With people like her in charge of the future of our country, I feel confident that it is in good hands indeed.  I met a kindred spirit in Sam those two days but she was not the only one.

It seems that Sam’s generation has found a freedom that my generation only dreamed about in a distant corner of our minds. For us it was all about getting that job and staying on it for 30 years to get a pension and then living the life we are free to choose. We only dreamed of having the kind of experience that Sam has.

Today’s working world is much more free flowing than mine was. There are no lifetime pensions anymore to even begin to entice you to stay with a job you might not enjoy. As long as you have the education and qualification, you can often get an internship at a very reduced pay to prove yourself to the employer. Then after three months or so, you can choose whether you want to work for that employer or seek another opportunity. There so so many opportunities opening up in new fields that you could try.

Taking sabbaticals is also becoming common. Take a job for a few years and when that contract expires take a long vacation before you look for your next opportunity. To those who are not prepared for the 21st century job market “contract employment” is a negative thing. But for those ever increasing adventurers out there, it provide the the natural break to skip work and just live you life for a year or two at a time. You no longer have to define yourself almost totally by what you do to earn an income.

Many 21st century young folks have also pretty much discounted home ownership. They just don’t see themselves as being locked down to one place. If they do buy instead of rent, they choose and affordable “tiny house” of 400 square feet or less that is easily resaleable or moved.

Many have come to the belief that if you are not destined for the parenthood mold then don’t get married.

Plainly speaking, I am envious of those who will live their lives in the 21st century

For the 21st century it is better to be single than married. It’s as plain as that as far as I am concerned. If I could live my life again, this time in the 21st century, I would definitely do things differently this time around. But as I said, I don’t regret the choices I made in life but I kinda wish some of today’s option had been presented to me.

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.

Augmented Realities #4 – Sunrise Fisherman

I will start off this post with my decision to rename “Alternate Reflections” to “Augmented Realities”. If you have been around RJsCorner much you know that I am a wordsmith. I am constantly searching for the “right” words to express what I am saying. Augmented realities seems to better describe what I have in mind for these type posts.

Now don’t confuse this new title with “Alternate Truths” as promoted by the lies of the current Oval Office Occupant. All the pictures here are from actual photos I have taken. But then I use one of my numerous photo editing apps to give them a different twist.

Browsing my 30,000 photos to find candidates brings back a lot of memories of past adventures, and using these very artistic tools seems to satisfy my creative urge for at least the time being. Someday I may try to do all this stuff from scratch like a real artist would.

Enough talk, let’ get to the subject at hand…

One of my favorite retirement vacations was a month long visit to our northern neighbors. The people there just seem so friendly and interesting. The core of the trip was along the St. Lawerence Seaway, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The picture for this Augmented Reality post was taken on the St. Lawrence River at sunrise one morning. I am working on a “Painting in Words” post about the story behind the picture. But, I just couldn’t wait to show you the picture.

Seeking a Joyous Journey – When Panic Set In

I’m going to start this post out with all you newbie retirees or soon to be retirees in mind but then finish it ups with some insights I have found for all us old-timers as well. I aim to cover the whole spectrum during my “seeking a joyous journey” project. 🙂

I don’t claim to be an expert with all this stuff, but I have read a few dozen books on the topic and see that my circumstances are not a lot different from many others. But then again, I have found that like most every other thing in life, one size does not fit all.

I know when I retired, near panic immediately set in when I fully realized that I was totally unprepared for what was ahead of me. The days before I was downsized I was working 50+ hours a week and along with the travel time to and from work that stretched out to about 60 hours dedicated to my job. Quickly I realized that I had no idea on what I was going to do with those emancipated hours. I can only sit on the deck and drink beer for so for so many hours a day. 🙂

In my job I lead a small team of IT developers in building tools (they are called apps today) for 100+ engineers. It was a lot of responsibility. I then realized that now that I am “retired” about the only person I would see each day was my wife, and she doesn’t seem to think I know much of anything, so panic started to creep in almost immediately in that respect also.

I was a lifelong planner with NO plans. That thought almost took my breath away.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I was free to do pretty much anything I wanted. I’ll leave the details of that period for another post, but suffice it to say I managed to trog myself through. It was not elegant but at least it ended well.


Now to move on to recent panics. I left the corporate world in the Spring of 2000. so it has been closing on 20 years now since those initial panic days. Of course, there have been others along the way but now it seems another panic stage is upon me.

I am getting to that stage where I am forgetting more and more of the simple details of life. I seem to frequently leave restaurants and leave my coat on the back of the chair. That just happened again two days ago while I was on my twenty-fourth micro-RV adventure in Toledo Ohio. It was not until I got outside in the drizzle that I remembered. Things like this just seem to be happening more frequently now.

Due to my deafness I have always had a balance problem but that too is getting magnified. These types of things tell me that I am entering another potential melt-down faze that needs to be addressed. How will I cope with the loss of freedom and mobility that this stage will entail? That is the topic at hand for me right now. The first thing I need to do is to again, just breathe and work it out. Keep a positive attitude and accept the coming challenges.

How about you? How are you coping with the changes that come with old-age?

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.