Saturday, November 03, 2012

Not Going Gentle Into The Good Night

     Or even the bad night.

     When my maternal grandmother -- schoolteacher, mother of five daughters, one son and a somewhat ADHD husband* -- was quite old and widowed, she became very outspoken.  A proper Victorian, she had raised her children to be modest in their public utterances, so her daughters were horrified.  They would chide her, "Mother, you can't talk like that!  Not at your age!"

     Her reply?  "At what age, then, will I be able to speak my mind?" 

     Y'know what?  We don't have forever.  Missed chances are often lost and never come again.  The old books and gadgets I like are fewer and more fragile with every passing year.  I am not going to wait until I'm silver-haired and frail, only to reap a harvest of regrets.

     Plus I'm just about certain the U.S. will suffer an economic collapse before I check out.  (I'm not cheering it on; I'd love to see us dodge it but bedarned if I know how).  Even if that doesn't happen, inflation has already turned what was a respectable amount of money in my youth into pocket change.  "Use it or lose it" has never been more true.

     So I'm writin' stories, even though it doesn't pay.  I blog about politics and whatever else I fancy.  I bought a motoscooter, broke my leg, learned to ride.  I'm piddling about -- whoops, pedaling about -- on pennyfarthings; I have learned to shoot, climbed sheer rock walls in the Grand Tetons, seen Niagara falls, bought a house, owned an MGB, stared at airships, flown a light plane and helped launch a digital revolution in your TV set.  I'm not gonna end up rocking on the porch, wrapped in a shawl, watching the kids zoom by in their jetpacks, wishing I'd Done Things back when I could.  If I've gotta buy lions secondhand, so be it, but I'll buy 'em if I want 'em just the same.
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* In the very best way: schoolteacher, coach, superintendent of schools, time-motion engineer, tireless one-on-one reformer of the reformable -- and he just loathed FDR, to whom he bore considerable resemblance.  I believe he came of age during Teddy Roosevelt's Presidency. TR had made an impression on him.  I never met the man and yet I miss him.

14 comments:

The Freeholder said...

Absolutely. There's a few things I wish I'd have done (or done differently) when I was younger and still able to, but for the most part I've steered my own course and I can look back at a pretty well-lived life.

Definitely something that is comforting as you get older, isn't it?

RHT447 said...

Tomorrow is promised to no one. Stay in the fight, outlast the bastards. Have seen the better part of half a century go by myself. Am off to work the Saturday shift in the next town over as the sun comes up, at Huntington's in Oroville, CA. As in Fred Huntington, founder of RCBS. Life is good.

http://www.huntingtonsports.com/

Joe Huffman said...

There is also a free slot at Boomershoot for you if you ever decide you want to make the trip.

Anonymous said...

Lands sakes alive...it must be difficult to climb Niagara Falls with all that water pouring down on you.....

jbrock said...

inflation has already turned what was a respectable mount of money in my youth into pocket change. "Use it or lose it" has never been more true.

Yeah, I've come around to that viewpoint also. Increasingly, my take on the matter is "spend it while it's still worth something."

I've been spending most of mine on violins and violas lately. Incidentally--and completely aside from the pleasure of playing them, which is the real reason for my current infatuation--I'm finding that good fiddles retain their value a whole lot longer than cash does.

JohnW said...

Oh, yea, "Secondhand Lion" is one of my favorite movies.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Too Bad we can't get that Ticket to Luna City.

Bubblehead Les. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tango Juliet said...

I'm buying .22 ammo. It will always have value.

I admire your grit Bobbi.

Brigid said...

No regrets, just the occassional bandage.

You are all many of us wish we could be.

MaddMedic said...

As I get older I am a bit more outspoken.
And say what I think and mean.
Some say I have always been that way.
PC?
Not in my world...
Is why I visit this here site...
Is outspoken and I like that..

Roberta X said...

Thanks for the invite, Joe!

--Any more, *not* traveling is a luxury I can indulge, but maybe someday.

Joe Huffman said...

We've had the talk about you and travel. I understand how you feel even if I don't share in the feelings.

Just let me know if things ever change and I will make you feel welcome if you decide you want to head out this way.

Larry said...

Good for you. It's better to live with scars than regrets. Rock on!