January 4, 2016

1. Happy 2. New 3. Year

1.  Happy
Today I am the happiest I've ever been about the two most important things in my life:
  • Family.  My fifth great-grandchild arrived in December, and the sixth is expected in March. What's truly remarkable is that the family, with its long history of major traumas, appears not to have any major problems these days. Sure... they have career and financial troubles. But who -- except the one percent -- doesn't? Much of the credit goes to my son, who was a world-class practitioner of tough love raising his daughters and son. The three of them are very different. But each has a great sense of humor, zest for life, and a strong interest in helping others. 
  • Friends. I have more genuine friends today than ever. I had many more acquaintances when I was working, especially when I joined the AA and gay communities. But what I have today are loving and caring friends who are remarkably diverse. I have elderly friends and young friends, gay friends and straight friends, friends whose families have been in the U.S. for generations, and friends from Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Gaza Strip. I retired from BNA 20 years ago, and still have good friends from those days. Being openly gay has brought me many benefits... including greater ease in establishing close relationships with women.
I'm glad I feel so happy about family and friends, because I'm not too pleased about other aspects of my life, or about the world in general.

2.  New
I have an unusual New Year's resolution for an 86-year-old man: I need to watch more television. This wish is the flip side of what I don't need -- more time looking at the computer screen. I haven't watched a movie on TV in years. I have DVDs for the first seasons of Downton Abbey and House of Cards. I've watched the first hour of House of Cards. Don't ask how many hours a day I spend on the computer.

3.  Years
We experience more physical changes during our 80s than we have since we were teenagers -- that long-ago time when our bodies also changed so dramatically. Here's an example: My brother Roger is five years younger than me. Yesterday was his 82nd birthday. I'll be 87 in May. 

For most of our adult lives, the difference didn't matter. When I was 45 and he was 40, it was irrelevant. But when I was 15 and he was 10, we lived in different worlds. Now, the difference between 87 and 82 is almost as significant as it was seven decades ago. 

I don't really need to compare my situation to Roger's. I just need to reflect on the changes in my stamina, memory, and many other things to know that significant changes are happening... and they're coming faster and faster. 

Time to get into that rocking chair and turn on the TV. Just kidding. I want to stay as active physically and mentally as I can. But I can't deny my changing situation... the way I tried to deny my alcoholism and sexual orientation many years ago.

I am in my final days.


Jackie Blanchard said...

Do you have a streaming device for your TV? I gave up being a "no TV' snob years ago now, and find that distracting myself from too much thinking often breaks up a logjam here and there! Get a ROKU...:)

John Schappi said...

A nice coincidence. I just got my younger, tech-savvy housemate to introduce me to the Roku I bought a few weeks ago. I now know how to use Netflix to watch "Alice," but for tonight I just went back to the DVD for installment two of "House of Cards." Progress!