What Did You Know and When Did You Know it?

One of my Facebook Friends asked when did you learn the most in your life?  Here is a snapshot of the decades in my life.

  • From Birth to 10.  This is the period that I learned to play well with my friends and most importantly how to read.  I am pretty sure that because of the lack of the electronics back then I grew up pretty unexposed to higher thinking.  Good basis for life but pretty limited.
  • From 11 to 20.  The first 8 years of this period I spent majoring in girls and was fairly limited in the focus.  Exploration and growth in the area of sexuality was a focus and I also learned how to work a job and stay employed.  From the start of my 19th year, the Military took charge of my life and I learned so much that it is difficult to even begin to tell you how much.  I went from a Civilian to 2nd Lieutenant in 9 Months and 25 Days.  I knew it would prepare me to stay alive in Vietnam and It was an intense period but life for me didn't really start until I got home safely from Vietnam.
  • 20 to 30.  I turned 21 in Vietnam and there I learned that war is Binary.  Either you get your ass killed or you don't.  I didn't.   The most important thing I learned in this period was how to live with my wife Barbara.  I got to see how another person really worked and how her strengths offset my weaknesses.  I spent four years of this period in College and saw the world from a different perspective.  I joined the Guard and made Captain commanding a Battery in Horton, KS.  I should write a book about that time in my life.  I also worked my first Non Military job in my career.  The Automobile business went in to the trash and I hated that job about as much as anything I ever did.  This period was where I learned a lot about life as an adult. Paying taxes, Insurance, buying a house and role of an adult was a lot to learn. The start of my life being a father was  an eye opener.  It was still before the start of the electronics revolution.
  • 30 to 40.   I went to work for the Guard full time and this was a time right before electronics rules my life.  I still wrote a lot of training schedules and cut them on stencils.  A Lot more of learning to be a good father and husband.  Moved twice and bought two houses.  I completed the Artillery Officer Advanced Course.  Moved to Topeka and started the real rat race for my career with a focus. During this period in life, we had mostly a black and white TV and a rotary dial phone.
  • 40 to 50.  I can even begin to describe the full impact of electronics on this phase of my life.  To try to get our son involved in Electronics, we bought an Apple 2C.  One day in a staff meeting the Chief of Staff walked in and asked, "Who has a Computer?"  I was the only person with one and I got the Job as the Director of Information Management for the Kansas Army National Guard.  It was one of the most intense periods of my life to learn the requirements and architecture for information.  We wrote our first plan and a good part of that was used for the next five years.  During this period I also completed the Command and General Staff College and Commanded an Artillery Battalion.  I went from a major to Colonel during this period and with the full impact of automation, I probably learned more varied things during this ear of my life.  I did feel that I went from an expert in a few areas to a mile wide and 1/4 inch deep in more things that I ever thought possible. 
  • 50 to 60.  I retired from the Military on my 50th Birthday.  I think this was the start of more good things that rounded out my life.  The intense career fight went away and I think I would have stressed myself out had I continued that pace.  For over three years I was an instructor for the customer service training at a call center.  I dearly loved meeting 25 new people and teaching them for 6 weeks.  I got to meet the future of the USA during that period and some of the group were the nicest people I had met.  Sure, there were a few bums but mostly it was the cream of the crop and I loved most of that time.  I saw the advent of cell phones and how automation could really change the fabric of the lives of people.
  • 60 to Present.  One thing I haven't mentioned through most of the above part is how much My wife helped in the planning for our retirement.  She pushed, pulled and enabled us to get ready for the rest of our lives.  I can't stress how well she did that job and how well we are set because of that.  I am consistently learning new things and because of the advent of electronics, there is almost no end of the things available to see, learn about and do.  I think I have written about 2500 blog posts, read at least a 10,000 from other people and more Facebook than anyone should. 
If I had to bail out of this life tomorrow, I would not want anyone to be sad that I didn't have a chance to live life as full as it could be lived.  I have lived, loved, learned and had life so great for as long as I could ever hoped for.  I have exceeded every goal I have ever thought of.  I don't know what the pinnacle of your life will be, but I have pretty much reached as high on that vine as I ever dreamed.  I think I have to start thanking my mother for teaching me to laugh and love.  All the girl friends to learn how to deal with women.  To my wife, the care she has shown for me has been as infinite as the love I have for her.  My son has been a joy to be with and I wish him and his wife nothing but the best for the future.   


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