Please Stand By…

September 9, 2017

Every now and then I’ll pause to think about the fact that I haven’t posted to my blog for a while and realize that I got consumed by life again. Things happens, life happens and we get swept along with it, spending our time reacting to the events of life rather than working against timeproactively pursuing the things that we might wish to do. That’s life.

So, when I do get a spare moment that is not already committed to some other activity or reaction to life, I savor the moment and take the time to think about the things that I want to do, the posts that I want to write and the points that I might want to make. I sometimes also reflect on the reactions that past posts have elicited.

I write a lot about dealing with life and about the role of one’s faith in life and in managing crises. That seems to resonate with a large percentage of the people who follow my blog. Perhaps it is what they hoped someone would tell them or perhaps it’s because they agree and have found strength in their own faith. For whatever reason, I have noted that if I mention God in a post it gets more “Likes” than those with no mention of Him. Imagine that.

Recently, I’ve been consumed by work that I’ve been doing to get sponsorship’s for our annual Milford Home Tour. I’m a member of the Milford Historical Society (see our web site, which I also maintain) and I’m on the board of directors of that organization. The Society is a non-profit that raises funds to run a little local museum – the Milford Historical Museum – that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of our local area.

The Milford Historical Society has run a tour of local historic homes for 41 years as its primary fund raiser. I go around and solicit sponsorship money from local businesses to help support the operation of the museum. That has been an all-consuming job for the last month and a half. The Home Tour is next weekend, so I’ve pretty much done all that I can on that. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to get back to blogging after that.

I’m sure that we can all identify with the ebbs and flows of life that can temporarily consume one’s time so completely that one’s normal routine is totally disrupted. In fact, I’ve started to conclude that there really isn’t any “normal routine” any more, just a few things that we seem to do more often than others. One only has to watch the nightly news (which I do as a part of my “normal routine”, when I have time) to see that “normal”clown car has taken on a new and twisted meaning under the current political environment. I guess when one lives within the theater of the absurd, one should expect surprises from the clowns who are in charge.

So, stay tuned. I will get back to a more regular routine of posting here, just as soon as I regain some level of control over the things that I choose to spend my time upon. In the meantime, if you live near Milford, Michigan; plan on going to our Home Tour on September 16 & 17. Read all about it at our web site.

Please stand by…our normal programming will resume momentarily.

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What was that all about?

June 16, 2015

It occurred to me after I posted yesterday’s blog about the Calvin and Hobbs story that I found to be so moving that many of the people who follow this blog may not even know what the heck this Calvin and Hobbs is  that I was referring to in the post. Here’s the WikiPedia post to explain – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_and_Hobbes.It was the most popular cartoon for years in the U.S. I’m not sure how far it made it outside the U.S.

On the surface it was a humorous cartoon about the adventures of a young boy (Calvin) and his imaginary friend Hobbs, who was, in fact a stuffed tiger toy, much like a Teddy Bear. In practice it was a lesson in life as seen through the eyes of innocence, wonder and imagination of youth.  Calvin represented life before it is forced to acquiesce to the demands of growing up. He and Hobbs had great adventures, discovered great truths and generally had fun withouplayingt fear in a world bereft of the rules and cautions of adulthood. It was the world seen through the eyes of someone who had not yet been subjected to the regimentation of schools and the oppressive expectations of others. Though Hobbs often cautioned Calvin about trying some of the things that they did, he always went along for the ride. While it lasted it was one of the most enjoyable comic strips around. But it, like the youth of all of us, had to end.

The story that was at the end of the link in my post yesterday (here it is again, in case yo missed it)  was someone’s very well written attempt to pick up the story of Calvin and Hobbs years later; at the end of Calvin’s life. Of course old and youngHobbs, like all memories never aged, so he was still the playful, fuzzy Tiger that he had always been. I think we all have some “Hobbs” memories somewhere in the back of our minds. Maybe it doesn’t involve a stuffed animal or even an imaginary friend; perhaps it was a best friend from your very early days as a child. It’s actually kind of sad if you meet those people today, because something happened to them – they got old. But the ones that live only in your memories will never age. As the song says they will be forever young and that great adventure that you sneaked off to with them will live forever in your mind.

Do you ever let your mind wander back to the days of your youth? It is not an easy thing to do, since we have been so well conditioned by society to put those things behind us and “act like adults.” I’ve written here before that I think it is funny facesomehow more health for us all to be able to drop the shields and pretenses of our adult demeanor and just be silly like a child, if only with ourselves. I do that by making a funny face in the shaving mirror each morning. Shaving each day is such an adult thing, but sticking out my lounge or making a funny face gives me that tiny instant of childhood release that seems to make a better start to each day. Try it some time.


Work Hard – Play For Fun

October 18, 2014

Work Hard. Play Hard. – as seen at the gym

I joined our local Anytime Fitness of Milford Gym a couple of months ago and have been going practically every day to work out. It’s part of a programs that I’ve put myself on to lose weight and get off what meds I take. I enjoy going for my workouts each morning and the results are starting to show. The other morning I noticed today’s little saying in the signage that the gym has on the front of the building – Work Hard, Play Hard.

That seems too attuned to personality type “A” people. I’d rather Work Hard; But Play For Fun. Life is too short to turn everything into hard work. There certainly are professional athletes for whom
baseball playerplaying a game is their work. Our weekend TV is full of pro-sport programs of all sorts. Even things that one might not initially associate with professionalism and hard work, like skateboarding or ping pong have pro circuits and many have their own TV coverage as well. While the professional athletes may have to work hard at it, even they will occasionally say “It’s only a game”, during an overly serious interview. Most of the really great pro athletes will still tell you that they play the game for the love of the game and it is just icing on the cake that they are well paid to do so.

Back to my philosophy – Work Hard, But Play For Fun. I think it is really important that one have activities – sports, hobbies, whatever – that they do just for fun. These are things that they can relax and enjoy. They are also things in which the participants usually don’t get all hung up on winning or losing. Fishing might be a good example. You’re outdoors, enjoying nature and able to clear you mind from most other things as you mentally try to figure out where to cast your line and how to play it in to attract fish. If you get fish that doesn’t mean that you won and they lost, any more than if you comefishermen home empty handled. It’s more about your imagined skills as a good fisherman. Yes, I know that there are also professional fishermen and event they have TV shows; but, for most of us, fishing would be a relaxing and non-competitive sport.

The concept of Work Hard Play Hard, it seems to me, is counterproductive to the very reason that we turn to play to begin with – to relax from a hard day’s (week’s) work. If you cannot let go of that winner-loser, zero sum game mentality, then how can you relax? There are lots of sports that don’t necessarily involve direct competition, or at least they don’t require that. Many of them, such as golf, pit the player against the course. Of course, when you start playing those sports with others the fact that you do keep score makes the game immediately lady golfercompetitive, if you let it. When you play alone, the only person that you can get mad at is yourself, which could result in many broken clubs.

The alternative is to play at whatever you are doing for relaxation just for fun. That is difficult for most of us because we tend towards measuring ourselves against something; whether it be an established standard or the results that someone else achieved. We have this need to somehow measure and mark our progress in the game/sport/hobby. For many just keeping track of their personal best is enough. If the activity is too simple and we quickly master it we just and quickly lose interest in doing it. Imagine a game where getting to a score of 100 was the best that you could do and you got there after just a few rounds of playing at it. Would you continue to play that game?

Hobbies can provide the perfect outlet for our need to relax and have fun. One nice thing about most hobbies is that one can master the skills needed for the hobby, but the challenge always remains to use those skills to create something else, collect something else or observe something else. The wood workerchallenge is in the execution and not achieving some set goal. There is also always the challenge of developing new skills or perhaps taking the hobby in new and unexpected directions.

So there is worth in the activity continuing to pose a challenge for you to be better at it. Once you see that it has that challenge and figure out where you are in the scoring scale, I can almost guarantee that you’ll try to find someone else who engages in the same activity, so that you can compare yourself to them. It’s at that point where you have the choice to continue the activity because it is fun for you, or turn it into work because you “need” to be better at it than others. Choose wisely at that junction; otherwise your play will become hard work. I chose not to turn my fun into more hard work.

It’s a weekend and you’ve worked hard all week; so, play for fun and relax! I’ve got to run off to the gym now and see if I can top my personal best on some of the machines.