Well, Would You?

If you could have a perfect world, would you want to know when you are going to die?  What would you do different if you could?  No, I am not contemplating my death, only looking for a good pithy theme for this post. 

I look back over my life and wonder what if a lot?  In the long run, I am pretty sure that the outcome is pretty darned good and not much could/would change that.  Well, that one period in 1968 in Vietnam could have had a big impact but fortunately it didn't. 

Some major events that had a pretty big impact on my life are:  (In no particular order of importance)
  • I think the women in my life that I have loved had a pretty profound effect on my life.  If there is a man that didn't have a special bond with his mother, I feel sorry for them both.  The girl friends I had while maturing showed me in ways that the emotion and hormones do have a short term effect but the lasting impact is fleeting.  My wife of 45 years has been there in my corner all the way and supporting a mutual vision of the future has been the way for me to go. There are times I wish she would open up and share more but I am darned lucky to have her as the rock I have built on.  Could it be that the Law of Unintended Consequences might kick in and bite me if she did?
    My first Girl Friend, Lollie
  • I am not sure what I could /would have done different about my education.  Short of having the coping mechanisms I developed later on in life I'm not sure that I was capable of doing more.  My salvation was reading.  I learned to read long before I went to school and just devoured books throughout my entire schooling.  I think I survived the educational system because it was not flexible enough to deal with me.  I do know that the socialization of school was a good thing but I was capable of so much more than was expected. I do know that our goal of graduating from College was one mutual goal Barb and I had and we worked hard to make that happen as near to debt free as we could.  We took it a little slower than some but over time it worked out for us.  A degree from KU was one goal that made a lot of the roads easier.
  • What parent would not say that the birth of their children had a major impact.  They will make you smile, cry, be proud, disappointed and foster the full range of emotions.  Having one son, I can say safely that I have a favorite child.  There are times that Barb will have to chide me that who else do I have to share my wealth with?  In the long run, everything I have will be theirs to work with.  I am not giving up, but I am sure that Barb will probably outlive me by years.  Dave probably will outlive her.  I love them both and wish them nothing but the best.
    My Favorite Son,  Dave
  • As much as it endangered my life, I have to say that the Military had a profound effect on my life.  I found that in Basic Training, I could focus on the things right in front of me and by working hard and showing up, I could succeed.  In fact I was only 1/2 point from having a perfect 1000 points in Basic.  There was a young black soldier, Wendell Burden, (at least I think that was his name) that beat me by that 1/2 point.  He was a great soldier and I hope life brought him a super life.  I don't feel bad that he out pointed me.  The glory of my early service was having the chance to attend OCS.  There I learned the skill to be a good Field Artilleryman and that carried me through out my career.
    From Private to Colonel
  • I have to admit that my continued education post formal College had a great effect on me.  One of the best training classes was the Meeting Management course I took through the National Guard.  I learned how to plan for and conduct meetings in ways that worked.  It showed me that having even a poor plan and working that plan was a lot more effective than having a great plan and then not working that plan. A lot of white wash goes on to make what an organization does look good.  I saw early that the results are and should remain the focus.  My only failure in that area was to not help our organization find a way to implement Total Quality Management in a way that was good for the organization.  In a lot of ways we threw out the rules like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I guess I didn't have a good vision of what we were doing and that was the fault of a lot of people but mostly my failure.
  • I do know that ownership of houses led us down the path to saving and growth in our net worth.  We started with a house in Lansing, Kansas.  In our recent life, we never lost a dollar owning houses.  We have been able to grow the value of our houses and at least half of our life estate is based on real estate.  I hope this trend stays the course, I will.
  • One critical choice for our long term happiness has been our choice of careers.  As a teacher, Barb choose the path of Special Education to be there at the point of the spear in making her kids better.  She worked many extra hours to  make the system work for those special kids.  I'm sure that her love and concern was a big part of the success she saw over the years. I think that joining the national Guard on a part time basis in 1972 was the start of putting my life back on the right track.  It was a good foundation to help us pay for my education.  I do wonder what it would have been like to have more time with my family.  With that said, the retirement at age 60 has cut off any thoughts of it not being worthwhile. 
  • In the area of quality of life, one major break over  point for me was the realization that in most cases there is enough for everyone.  Cheering for others and being glad of their success is a lot more fulfilling than feeling bad that I didn't win every time.  There has been enough success for every one of us and for that, I am glad. 
  • OK, finding the smile that riding a bike puts in my heart has had a major impact on my retired life.  He probably hates it when I say it, but my brother-in-law, Kenny, planted that seed and helped it grow into a major smile.   I would have spent a lot of time without knowing how much I enjoyed riding had he not been there with his bike and skills to put me on one.

Getting back to the beginning, I have lived a darned good life Have you?  If you could/should do it again, what would you do?  The same?  Different?  Is it a moot point for me to wonder such madness?


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