Single, Saved, and Satisfied

One of the questions that keeps coming up either from someone or from my own mind is, will I ever get married again? This seems like a quaint question or one that should be fairly easy to answer. And today as I pondered this question again the answer did seem to become clearer than before. The answer is no.

I got married in 1974 when I was 18 years old and only 10 months after graduating high school. I was married to the same person for 40 years until my wife died unexpectedly. So you see I lived my entire adult life as a married man. I gave my marriage all I had to give. The idea of starting over with someone new at this stage of my life is daunting to say the least.

So as it stands right now marriage is not in my future. I am not anti-marriage. I just don’t see it happening to me again. I enjoy female company. But I want to go home alone at the end of the day.

Will my feelings about marriage ever change? Of course they could. I won’t say never again. But as of today I would be inclined to stay the way I am right now. Single, saved, and satisfied.

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Good Enough

Do you ever beat yourself up because you feel that you haven’t done enough or been good enough? Do you ever look in the mirror and not like who you see? Do you ever give up because you think what’s the use of even trying? Well then welcome to the human race.

From time to time we all get battered by unthinking or cruel people who belittle us or accuse us or in other ways speak against us as a person. Children who blame their parents for not doing enough or loving enough. Spouses who lash out at those they love to vent their own internal guilt. An uncaring boss or a frustrated customer or some other person who speaks words that you internalize and that make you feel worthless.

Can I tell you that no matter who you are or what you have or haven’t done Christ still died for you and He still loves you. God knows more about you than anyone on Earth and He still loves and cares about you. While we were sinning Christ died for us. He hasn’t changed His mind.

Can I also tell you that good enough is most of the time really good enough? No matter what anyone says or how you are judged, good enough for you is good enough. Period.

The Adventure Continues

One thing I have been noticing as a newly single man is how, among the world of married people, I am an afterthought if I am thought of at all. When plans are being made or events are being organized married people tend to join togehter and us single adults are left out. Young people may deal with this but if you are older like me it is a new thing to deal with.

The problem with hardening yourself against being ignored or slighted is that you become hard in other areas of life. You make plans to be alone so you won’t be hurt when you are left out of married people’s plans. You say you don’t care often enough and in time you won’t care about anyone or anything.

I don’t have an easy solution to this. I know there are no simple solutions to complex problems. I try as much as I can stand to insert mysellf into social situations even if everyone else is married. Those who know me know that I was married so it’s not like I am ignorant of married people’s livestyles. But as in all things related to grieving and singleness, the adventure continues.

Bored

Do you ever get bored? I do, very easily it would seem. Not the light weight boredom of a slow moving plot or a monotonous song. But the deeper almost unsettling boredom that makes us lose the joy of living and the enthusiasm of being alive. That is the feeling that seems to overwhelm me on a regular basis.

In my work I deal with customers who are old and poor and live in subsidized housing and do nothing. They cannot work, aren’t physically active. The highlight of their month is going shopping at Walmart. They talk about their maladies and what they used to do and who they used to be. Always it’s the past, never the future.

This is why being bored bothers me. I want to look forward, not backward. I want to be fresh and alive, not barely hanging on. But I am old enough that so far there is very little in my life that is new or different or novel. I am on the verge of being a cynic.

I have a full time job that I am bored with. I go to church three times a week but it’s same old same old most of the time. I am tired of living alone but I was married for 40 years to one woman so getting married and having female companionship is desirable but nothing new. There are days that I feel as though I live in a rut, that never twists or turns or changes. I had a day like that today.

I cannot afford a hobby. I am tired from working and have no vim and vigor for physical activity. I am with people all day every day so solitude is a nice break. I am becoming like old king Solomon who said, all is vanity. There is nothing new under the sun.

Writing this make me feel better even though it does not change anything. And the problem with life is that it is so daily and it happens whether we are in it or not.

Tomorrow will be another day. I hope as you read this your tomorrow will be sweeter than today.

No Regrets?

Do you have any regrets in life? Things you wish you had done but didn’t do, or things you did but wish you hadn’t done? I think we all have some regrets in life. Opportunities missed or wasted. Love lost or ignored. The awful “should have” stories of our lives.

I see two things that we can do with our regrets. We can learn from them and move on in life better for the lessons learned. Or we can carry our regrets like a chain around our necks, always sorry and always pining and always using our mistakes as excuses for our lack of success in life.

I have reached a stage in my life where, even though I have done things I regret, I am not going to let my personal regrets be an anchor that holds me back from life, love, and happiness.

More House Than I Need Now

Since Kathy died in 2014 I have wanted to downsize and move from my house to a smaller place. My house is not large. Two families raised their children here before we bought it in 1997. But as our nest became empty and now that my nest is void of anyone but me I wonder again, why do I live here.

One reason why I stay is that outside of my house I cannot afford to live in this area of Arizona. And I am not anxious to relocate. So I am in essence stuck here. People here in small studio apartments pay more in rent than I do in my mortgage. The price of housing in this area is obscene to me. There is nothing here to justify the price of housing that is charged. And the poor people I deal with every day are hurt the worst by this over priced housing.

One thing that troubles me on a more fundamental level is the waste of resources that allow me to live in more house than I need. I cannot afford to keep this house in good repair, but I cannot leave it. Unless I just walk away, which is an option. I don’t enjoy yard work. And spending all of my spare time cleaning and maintaining this house is not my idea of a blessed life.

Note that I call it my house. It is not a home, but just a place to keep my stuff while I am away at work. If I didn’t have this house hanging over my head I could do what I want to do more often than just doing what I have to do all of the time now. And as to the rising house values, I will never make back the fortune I have paid in interest on the mortgage on this house. At best I will break even. That’s the fallacy of the 30 year mortgage on a depreciating asset.

I welcome any advice I can get from anyone with a good idea or two.

Rose Colored Glasses

I was reading today about unmet expectations and wearing rose colored glasses in life. This to me is not the same as being optimistic or having a bright outlook on life. It is to me referring to having an unrealistic expectation of how life should go both today and always. The awful shoulds of life. I should be pretty, I should be rich, I should be happy, etc.

It keeps coming back to me that should be and actually is are two very different things. Without some expectation or motivation in life we get stuck going nowhere. But too much ambition can make us frustrated and angry and sick. What are we to do?

Like all of life the secret lies in balance. Being content with who we are and where we are and what we have is important to a happy life. But we need a little stirring and stress to keep life interesting. Do you agree?

So the problem with rose colored glasses is that when you take them off the shock of how things are may startle you. Unless you manage to maintain an even keel and not allow your emotions to rule your life. then seeing the best in yourself and others will be based on reality and not on fantasy.

A Successful Life

What does it take to live a successful life? First I suppose we must define the word success. What do you think it means? Fame, money, power, prestige, family, etc? There may be elements of these in a real understanding of success.

Years ago when I was young and struggling to find my way in life I mentioned to someone how inadequate and unsuccessful I felt. He said in an offhand way that we all have our bit to do. Another time my grandfather Orville told me, you didn’t set out to make a living, you set out to make a family. So you see success may not be what we wish it were.

Success in a very practical sense is finding out what you are called to do, or what you find yourself compelled to do, and then doing it. And doing it in such a way that you don’t sacrifice important things. What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but lose his soul? That’s how Jesus put it. Making a lot of money and getting promoted but losing your spouse and children is no success to me. Real success in life is living what the Bible calls an abundant life.

This is a liberating idea. You and I can be successful if we are just successful at what we do and successful in family relationships. You can be a success and be poor. You can be a success and never be on TV. You are a success if you have life, and family, and enough.

Don’t let the advertisers disturb your peace of mind. More and more will never satisfy. The satisfied person is one who says, I have enough. That is a success to me.

What Makes Life Worth Living?

I watched a moving TED talk given in 2016 by Lucy Kalanithi. She was talking about death, the death of her husband. I heard that, but I also heard about living after someone dies.

Grief is such a confusing, jumbled up time of emotional upheaval. It is a time full of sadness and uncertainity, making decisions with no clear view forward or refrence point to fix on. We get angry feeling we should not have to suffer or hurt like this. Grief is hard, messy, and painful.

What does resilience mean to you? Bouncing back to where you were before? We come to the harsh reality that life will never be like it was before that loved one died. But resilience does not mean bouncing back or pretending that the hard stuff isn’t hard. Lucy said this, “Living fully means accepting suffering.”

One thing we all need to learn is living is more than just staying alive. It means embracing the hard stuff in our lives, not running away from it. It means being honest about your hurts and your feelings and your fears. It is amazing how joy and sadness can co-exist in us at the same time.

What makes life worth living? It is being willing to love even when we know it will hurt when that love is lost.

Here’s the TED talk https://www.ted.com/talks/lucy_kalanithi_what_makes_life_worth_living_in_the_face_of_death#t-612918

Some Thought on my Single Life

I know I write a lot about grieving here. But in reality I am not grieving any more. I have fond memories of my wife Kathy but no more sadness or depression over her untimely death.

I do think a lot about my strange new single life. As a 62 year old single man this is quite a strange trip I am on. I am not hip and young any more. I am healthy but not in great shape (yet). I enjoy many things about my life now and I am only annoyed about a few things. I am not like some seniors I see, trying to look and act young. Face it granny, you may be thin and have long blond hair but your sex appeal is about -10.

I enjoy watching people. In my job as a bus driver I see people all day long. Most folks I see are normal everyday looking people. A few homeless bums and a few strange looking people just to make it interesting. I work in Prescott, AZ. Not exactly a multicultural mecca. It is a retirement town where half of the people who live here are over 50 years old. Go into a trendy night spot and it will be a few young people and a bunch of bored old folks.

What has all of that got to do with me being single? It’s just my thoughts tonight. I am content in my own skin and I am content to be who I am and I am content not to be hip or young.