Thursday, August 17, 2017

The older I get... No regrets please.

The older I get, the more I realize how much time I've wasted that could have been productive. Not for one second do I think I should have played more. As I've written before, the reason for this is a deep need in myself to prove my worth to my dad. He always set the work bar very high and no matter what I did, I never felt I measured up. Did he intentionally put this burden on me? I think not and probably went to his grave not understanding my plight.

The older I get, the more valuable my time has become and this is also a conundrum, as in my retirement years, I am actually trying to put the brakes on and attempt to create recreation. I'm not sure I know how to get off this merry go round. Almost every day I have to remind myself that I am not on a schedule and if I want to stand and talk to a stranger for 5 minutes, I can. So on one hand, I am trying to squeeze the most out of my minutes and on the other, waste some by enjoying not having to go, go, go.

The older I get, the more I realize how spending all those hours working alone have robbed me of the most important option in life; meeting and talking to people. I spent hundreds of hours with my camera documenting everything from mountains to spiders and looking back, I should have been photographing friends faces. What is more fun than people?

The older I get the more I understand that repeating a person's name when talking to them is the key to their soul. It is the most precious word spoken when we hear it. Dale Carnegie taught us this years ago, but few of us practice it. Hearing our name is to our ears as seeing money on the ground to our eyes.

I imagine most of us would finish the older I get with a regret. I don't want to. It would be easy to write a tome on regrets. Most of the things I could regret, I can still repair. I could say I wish I spoke another language, but if I really did, how come I am not actively pursuing it? Maybe its the effort that stops me? Old dogs - new tricks got me?

The older I get, the more I wish I would have learned to dance and kiss every pretty girl I could. Like most young guys, girls were as unapproachable as the Hope diamond. I always felt so awkward and just found it easier to try to pop a wheelie on my bike or make funny sounds with my mouth, thinking that would impress them. I had no idea that just being me, was probably good enough and they suffered from the same confusion I did.

The older I get, the more I struggle with cynicism and this is something I really need to work on. Many things I once believed to be solid are crumbling around me and those vested to represent me, often are found to be fallible or untrustworthy. When I was a child I never thought I would live in a time when people in cars could be as rude as they are today. I remember people waving at each other as they passed. Maybe driverless cars with remedy this? If so, I say the quicker the better. My cynical side says it will simply further alienate us, as people will hunker down inside the coach with the electronic distractions and not even bother to look out the window.

The older I get, the more I enjoy personal customer service. It is rare, but I see it reemerging and when it does, it brings a warmth with it that is so nice, it is worth sharing. This is one area social networking is a positive force. People talk and when a company or a friend does you a "big", we tell everyone. It can literally make or break a business, so my question is this - if you own a business, why not put the most cheerful and helpful person out front?

I have been to the new hardware store on Business 146 three times and each time when I walk in, the first person I've seen has looked like they are attending a funeral. Not really inviting, although the store is well stocked. In my opinion, that person ought to be the happiest person I've met that day. Walking around one of our larger home improvement stores, every sales person  is doing their best to appear they are on a anti-collision mission and flee like foxes before I can ask a question. I guess this isn't taught in their sales motivation meetings.

The older I get, the more I want to be content and enjoy the world around me. I want quality food, quality friends, and the stuff in my house to keep working so I don't have to fix them. I want to go to bed at night and know the woman I married nearly 40 years ago is beside me. The older I get, the more I realize it is the little things that really matter.



Anonymous said...

Dandy Don Cunningham‎:
Absolutely wonderful column in The Baytown Sun this morning, Bert. That was really, really good, my brother. I am so thankful that you are writing. God bless you and continue to give your insight about what I write. Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Robyne Gold: Great read, Bert!!!!

Anonymous said...

Stephen DonCarlos: Bert-Today’s column is the best you have ever written, IMHO. Man, can I relate!

Anonymous said...

GL: Loved the column. Well done, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Melvin Roark: Yep, I agree and enjoyed your article in the Baytown Sun, just finally got around to reading the paper this evening...older

Anonymous said...

MM: Bravo!

Anonymous said...

This really hit home Bert. When I retired I filled my days w stuff I didn't have time for when I worked. I had somewhere to be most days. The past year or so I have had quite a few days that I never left the yard and am so content. I feel so blessed to be able to do my thing at my own pace stress free. I just discovered yoga on utube. I haven't renewed my $85 mo yoga studio membership and technology really does have a lot to offer. Do need face to face w friends occasionally to feel complete. My church and bible study is always good for a hug. Keep up the good work......Debi

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bert,
Outstanding column Thursday and your views apply not only to retirees but to all ages in all walks of life.
Everyone in business should read your comment about the funereal reception at the new hardware store. Really. Is it all that difficult to smile and say hello, good to see you, how may I help you?

Librarian Flora Wilhite told me once that she assigned employees who were cheerful, helpful "people persons" to work at the front desk at Sterling Municipal Library.
That practice should apply everywhere, including medical offices where happy faces are especially needed on the front line. After all, the Good Book says:
"A merry heart does good like medicine.."

Years ago my mother-in-law complained about a certain savings and loan business. She said she felt like she was walking into a mausoleum every time she went there. So, she transferred her savings to Citizens Bank, where friendly tellers waited on her and bank officers greeted her in the lobby. And they all knew her name. Every time she went inside that bank building, then on Texas Avenue, it was like old home week.
Culpepper Furniture Store had a similar reputation for being customer-friendly and yes, that's where my mother-in-law bought all her furnishings and appliances.


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