What To Do?

I have been following the hurricane and rain in Houston. My son’s family are in Katy. Hurricane, then rain, then flooding, then tornadoes. And as I communicate with my son and watch the news from Houston it dawns on me; what would I do in a catastrophic event like they are having there?

Frankly, after all I have gone through in the past few years, death and grinding poverty and sickness, I don’t know if I could handle a natural disaster like a hurricane. I am too old and too tired to start over. I cm too tired to even think about rebuilding. I don’t even know what is important to take if I had to bug out real fast.

I really need help right now.

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The Conundrum File

Time to look in the conundrum file and see what’s there.

Should I buy frozen meals ready to cook and eat and fill my freezer with them? Or should I take that same money and use it to go out to eat on those evenings when I am too tired to cook?

Should I buy yard work tools to keep up on the landscape around my house? Or should I hire someone to do the basic work? The tools, like mowers and trimmers, will eventually pay for themselves. But Hiring someone could be seen as an investment also.

Many things I used to enjoy doing I now find bothersome. Places that I go I find old and stale. Will doing new things with new people and going to new places really be of any value, or am I kidding myself?

There are things I do or don’t do for fear of the consequences. How can I judge what is right and wrong as it pertains to my choices? Is guilt and fear a valuable tool to judge by?

Do I want to meet someone and develop a romantic relationship with them because I need that or is it because of habit? I was married all of my adult life. I enjoy my singleness now. But am I missing something by not having a woman to share things with?

That’s enough for now. If answers to my questions seem easy to you well they are not so clear to me.

Don’t Think Too Highly Of Yourself

Ever notice how some pretty people are snobs. Because they are attractive and people want their attention they feel no need to be nice to people less pretty than they are. They almost feel like they are better because they are prettier.

Cities can be that way too. Where I live it is a desirable place to live and retire to. It has been for generations. So housing prices here are very high because it is a desirable place to live. Wages are historically low but the cost of living is high.

I guess my point is, it takes more than a pretty face or a pleasant climate to make a good person or town. Like sci-fi movies with a lot of special effects but a weak story line, success depends on turnover or a fresh batch of admirers.

So pretty people, your looks may get you attention, but if you have the personality of a fish, you will never have a good long term relationship to build your life on.

The Secrets To A Long Life

Do you want to live a long time? What do you have to do or not do for that to happen? You think you know the answer to this, but do you?

Scientists who study people have compiled a list of things that tend to help us live long and even happy lives. What is interesting is what doesn’t matter. As long as you don’t live downwind from a nuclear accident site, where you live means little to how long you live and how well you live. Abiding by most popular diet fads also counts for little. Being a naturally happy and gregarious person is not required. And your genes do not matter near as much as your lifestyle.

So what does the science say? Here is their list, beginning with the least important and moving to the most important things.

  1. Clean air. Nice to have, but not very important.
  2. Hypertension under control.
  3. Losing weight.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Rehabing after a cardiac event, including diet and exercise.
  6. Flu vaccine. Really?
  7. Quit drinking.

The final three though are far and away the most important things, outweighing all the others combined. Here we go.

8. Quit smoking. Far more important than quitting drinking.

9. Close relationships. People who know you and will help you in the most intimate and personal ways.

10. Social integration. How well and how often you interact with the people around you who are not close friends or family. Do you chat and make eye contact with strangers? Do you greet people personally and warmly? Are you involved with people in the social arena?

In a society where lonliness is empdemic and people are left to live in isolation, social and personal interaction is a prescription for good health and long life. You need to talk to someone besides your doctor. And video chat is not a substitute.

It is not good for the man to be alone is how the Lord saw it in the very beginning. He was right. Science has confirmed His wisdom.

Dreams

Dreams are funny things. Sometimes they are confusing and sometimes they startle us and seem prophetic or an omen.

Recently I have had two startling dreams. Both of them so hit me that when I woke up I went online to see if what I dreamed about was even real. the first was about money. I dreamt I had over a million dollars, and what I was going to do to help people with that money. But when I woke up with a figure in my mind I calculated it to be one hundred trillion dollars. That blew my mind.

The second dream, which I had last night, involved me and other unknown people on a trip. We were all tired and I kept pressing on through the sleepiness until I woke up in my dream in a place with people I didn’t know. I asked SIRI where I was and she told me, Medina, Ohio. I wondered, is this where the dream of great wealth is going to come true? When I woke up and looked up Medina, wondering if it was even a real place. It is.

So what does it all mean? I don’t know.

I Hate Change

I hate change. Part of me is tired of the way things are and part of me wants things to always stay the same. My job is teetering on the verge of collapsing, but I am afraid of committing to a new job. I have worked at my company for 9 years, it was the company that hired me during the economic collapse. I have done every job they asked me to do. But inside I feel like it’s time to move on.

Why do we fear change? There are no guarantees in life that what looks good will turn out good. My friend started dating a nice lady and it got nipped in the bud. The grass is no greener over on the other side of the fence, but the grass tastes like it is turning brown on my side.

So whether I want to or not I need to make a change while I am still employed rather than wait until I am thrown out on the sidewalk. I wanted to keep doing what I do for at least two or three more years. So I guess it will be that time with new people and a new company. Otherwise my only option is to sell out, cash out, and move away. Like Mac Davis used to sing, adapted to my town, I thought happiness would be Prescott in my rear view mirror.

Pray for me. I need Diving guidance right now.

Eating Out Alone, And Loving It.

Yesterday I had a bit of a breakthrough. Eating out has been a major hurdle for me since Kathy died. I can do it in some situations but not in others. So last night when I decided to get dinner in town to save time running back and forth I felt that familiar old fear begin to gnaw at my insides. But the fear was not as powerful as it had been and so I went in determined to enjoy myself.

First, I was not going to let them seat me in a corner, and they didn’t. They put me where they would have if I had been with a small group. Second, I deliberately did not drink any alcohol. Not only because I don’t drink, but I didn’t want to dull my emotions. So I had a soda. And finally, I was not going to rush. I ate my food normally, watched the other diners in the room, watched the servers darting in and out of view, and enjoyed my meal.

It was not until I had left the restaurant that the magnitude of my accomplishment hit me. I feel that I crossed the barrier and now could easily go out to eat alone with no fear at all. I am grateful that the effects of grief do not last forever.

A Change Of Heart

I have been so bored living here. So much of what I see and drive through every day is the same. The routine was getting overwhelming. I thought seriously about selling everything I own and moving somewhere I’ve never been. It is still tempting.

Tonight after work I had time to kill before a big meeting for us drivers so I went for a little drive out of town a different way than I take to get home. It takes you out into the pine forest and into the mountains. I spooked a small bunch of deer on the way, which was amazing. I saw where the vegetation had been growing back in an area that had been burned by fire years ago. The sun was still up but in the mountains it gets dark early. I stopped and got out of my vehicle to look and listen and smell. I heard the wind whistling through the pines. It was beautiful.

And for the first time in years I felt a stirring to stay and to enjoy this magnificent scenery only minutes from downtown. Hiking, camping, whatever. I was elated at the thought.It has been a long time since I was elated over anything.

So this winter I will plan and get whatever gear I need and starting next spring, if not next Saturday, I will get out in the woods and enjoy life right here.

One Hundred Trillion Dollars

What would you do with one million dollars? What would you do with one hundred trillion dollars? In other words, what would you do if money was no object?

I had a dream like that recently. I came into one hundred trillion US dollars legally. I wondered what to do. First, I set up a company to buy and renovate and sell residential real estate. I hired contractors and salespeople and lawyers and accountants and bankers and set up an LLC corporation.

Next we began buying up blighted houses and tearing them down to build apartment buildings for low income families. Later we got into investing in start-ups and small companies and professional practices like dentists.  At some point I hired a general manager and became a silent partner, although I did finally have to quit my job to focus on this empire.

The final thoughts in my dream had to do with location. Could I continue what we started here, or did we need to go to a bigger city. We deliberately did not take any government money so we could be free to do what we wanted. And we did not try to help everyone, understanding that you can’t help everyone.

And then I woke up. My dream was not as clear as it is as I write it down, but it came into focus as I thought about what I could do with one hundred trillion dollars.

City Boy In A Country Town?

I just got home from taking my friends to Phoenix to catch a plane. Lately when I go there I come home depressed. Phoenix is a large thriving city of around 5 million. Where I live is about 43 thousand. Nice if you like quiet and empty spaces.

I wonder if this is part of the change that grief has done to me. I find country life boring. I like the sights and sounds and smells of the country. But living here is stifling sometimes. The city feels alive, even when your little neighborhood is quiet, the city is constantly moving. Phoenix is not like Chicago or Manhattan or San Francisco. It is sprawling and rarely very tall.

I’m not sure that the Phoenix metro area is for me. But it would be nice for me to feel the hum and buzz of the city for a while. In the mean time, a good nights sleep and I will feel better in the morning.