Tag Archives: life

What’s It About? | Starts at Fifty

What’s It About? | Starts at Fifty.

Miracles can happen. Life comes at you like a bullet, whatcha gonna do?


Cat in the Cradle

Remember that song? Cats in the Cradle.?

I do. And I think of it often as I think about my Dad.

I remember being young and thinking that he just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand how things work. He was all about hard work and acting right. Life lessons, “you could make something of yourself if you just applied yourself.” He was hard on us, never beat us physically, but he could be mentally demanding. He worked hard and made us a very comfortable living, coming from absolutely nothing. No father to speak of since he was 2 or 3 years old. Helping his mother make ends meet while growing up.

He was working full time and going to school full time, even on weekends. If he wasn’t working, he was taking care of things around the house. Always busy. It is amazing to me, that all of this time I had the impression that he was hardly ever around, But as I recently have had time to do some serious reflection on my life, and I do mean SERIOUS, memories start to come back. Some not so good, but some were really good.

He always figured out a way to come to my baseball games, we played catch in the back yard. He came camping with my boy scout troop, every summer we would go on a family vacation. I remember one summer we were driving from the suburbs of Chicago all the way down to Hollywood, Florida. We had a Ford LTD station wagon that my dad took the time to install curtains on all of the back windows so that me and my sisters could be a little more comfortable. He told me later that he did it in hopes that we would sleep more, which I now completely understand.

I used to blame my dad, or my relationship with him for a lot of the problems that I have gone through in my life. Part of that reflection that I had to do in order to get my head straight has shown me that he was not really the cause. He was who he was, he did the best he could with what he knew. He wanted the best for me. He loved me. It just took me way too long to come to that realization. Our relationship was never the perfect father-son relationship, but whose is? I have to take accountability for all of my actions. I have to deal with my problems head on instead of looking for someone or something to blame. Life comes at us like a bullet, it is in learning how to deal with life that we become all that we are supposed to be.

Funny thing is, that is all that my Dad ever wanted of me. For me to hold myself accountable. I see that now. He could have given up on me many years ago because of the things that I had done and because of the person that I was then, but he didn’t. I see now that he was my biggest fan and probably always will be.

As time went by, my Dad changed. We all change, but he started appreciating the little things in life. We always teased him that once he started having grandchildren that he became soft. Well, he did. He had a plaque on his desk that said “If I had known that Grandkids were this great, I would have had them first!”.

Today’s prompt asks us about some meaningful hand-me-downs in our life. I have noticed that a lot of the things that I did not want to become because he was like that, I became. I spent 12 to 14 hours a day away from my family trying to give them a “better life”. I made something of myself and gave them a comfortable living, but at what cost? Recently I hit a bottom and hit it pretty hard, and unfortunately that brings the ones that love you down as well. But we are going to get through it and come out much better on the other side.

My Dad taught me that if you want something in life, you have to work at it. No matter what it is. His legacy to me is that I need to provide for my family, but that does not only mean bringing home a paycheck. I know that now. In the song “Cat’s in the Cradle.” the boy grew up just like his Dad. I hope I do too.

Thanks for the hand-me down Dad!

I added the lyrics to the song below in case you have never heard the song or read the lyrics

 

“Cat’s In The Cradle”

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then


No Pain, No Change

No pain, no gain? That is the question of the day, do I believe it?

I believe that when it comes to making a change in your life, then yes, there is going to be pain involved. More than likely the pain comes before the change more so than during or after, but why else would you be changing something? If something is working, why change?

Some of us had to feel a lot of pain before we could make any gains, had to hit a bottom of some sort before we realized that our way just wasn’t working. Had to feel complete defeat before we were willing to admit that we needed help, and were willing to accept it.

There is no need for everyone to have to hit rock bottom before they make a change, I understand that and am glad of it. But change has to come from within, changing because someone else wants you to, a partner, a boss, a friend, usually doesn’t work and can lead to resentments. Changing for yourself, not necessarily by yourself, but for yourself is important. We all know what changes we need to make in our lives, most of us look at the change and make the decision on whether to change based on how much pain it is causing us at that moment. If there is pain, there is a chance of change. More pain, more chance of change and more chance of gain. So based on this, I say yes that the phrase “No Pain, No Gain” is absolutely true.

Below are lyrics that I keep coming back to because they just apply so much to my life.

To really feel the joy in life
You must suffer through the pain
When you surrender to the light 
You can face the darkest days

If you open up your eyes
And you put your trust in love
On those cold and endless nights 
You will never be alone

Passion glows within your heart
Like a furnace burning bright 
Until you struggle through the dark
You’ll never know that you’re alive

That’s all I got on change for now, hope everyone has a blessed day

Mark

 

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Joatmon’s Opus

This is Opus.

I bought a stuffed animal of Opus over 30 years ago and still have him, and do not plan on letting him go.

You see, Me and Opus have been through a lot together. Opus was there in my darkest hours and never left. He’d listen for as long as I needed to talk and still will. Now that is an amazing friend, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, he originally is from the comic strip “Bloom County”, but I found him in one of those thrift shops connected to one of those old time gas stations somewhere in Central Illinois along I-57. Not sure what made me buy him, just saw him on the shelf looking at me and figured that I had to have him.

After I bought him I went back to my car, having just revisited some people at college that I knew from the previous year. See, I had to drop out of college for personal reasons, which at the time I did not understand at all. Was not feeling too good about myself at the time and I guess I needed someone or something, and Opus was there for me.

We went out behind the gas station and watched the sun set over a farmer’s fields, no noises other than birds chirping or squawking or whatever they were doing, just a golden field that stretched out forever it seemed, sun sinking into the horizon leaving such magnificent shades of yellow and orange below a darkening blue sky, I just sat. And sat.

Little did I know that the peaceful feeling that I was feeling at the time was known as Serenity, and just how hard that feeling would be to find again for a long time. I have had glimpses of it over the past 30 years, on my wedding day, the days that my children were born, but it never lasted, through no fault of Opus or anyone else might I add.

I know now that serenity is not “out there”, it is in here (I am pointing at my chest). And it is achievable. I know that now, as long as I keep my way of thinking pointed in the right direction, as long as I am doing the next right indicated thing, as long as I am relying on My Higher Power who I choose to call God, it is achievable.

And I think Opus knew that and was there on the shelf just waiting for me to pick him up.


Living life on life’s terms?

What choice do we have. So many people have so much advice on how everyone should live their life, what about those of us that haven’t really mastered anything, or maybe don’t believe in ourselves enough to showcase it?

Life comes at us 100 mph whether or not we are doing the right thing or we are doing the wrong thing, might as well try to do the right thing…..I used to believe that everyone was laughing at me or making fun of me just because of the way I looked, or the way I acted, so I hid in the corners, in the shadows, never wanting to be the center of attention. So I turned to drugs and alcohol to fit in (no, this is not going to be a blog about recovery, but there will be recovery in it, at least I hope so), and it worked…for a while. Then it stopped working because I got addicted to it. So I got addicted to recovery….and food….and women….and work….and so on and so on.

Seems to me that 30 years have passed and not much has changed in me. Still getting addicted or obsessed with one thing or another and then not know how to move on from that “stinkin’ thinkin'”. I am still searching for that inner peace, for something that is going to make me know that it is all going to be alright. Like I said, getting a lot of advice and praying for some guidance. Maybe I have too much time on my hands right now, or maybe that is what I needed at this point in my life. I dunno!

I have admitted that I am powerless over alcohol, food, work, sex, etc…. and that my life has become unmanageable and am currently working a 12 step program, (which is where I hear that it is GOING TO GET BETTER) but I feel empty inside.

Anyway, that is where my head is right now, I am hoping to find something by doing this, who knows, maybe someone will read it and have the answer I am looking for 🙂

See Ya

Mark