Posted by on April 22, 2024

         It’s been over three months since my last post (Jan. 8).  Some of that had to do with technical difficulties that should be ironed out by now.  More of it had to do with my being swept up in day-to-day commitments that afforded no time for composing and posting (it was rather more like composting and posing.  Whatever that means.  I thought I’d try the wordplay, but after I wrote it, it sounded silly).

         So, I’ll be mowing the lawn with my portable Walkman CD player blaring in my ears and come up with some great ideas for my next blog post.  Then when I’m finally able to write, those ideas just evaporate.  I know I should write them down when they come to me.  I even carry a little notepad in my back pocket when I’m doing yard work, but I only ever write in it when a cartoon idea hits.

         From time to time I reflect on my life and ask if I have any regrets, and the answer is, “Most definitely.”  I’m no Frank Sinatra (“Regrets?  I’ve had a few, but, then again, too few to mention”).  He was content with having lived his life and made his decisions his way.  I tried to live my life the way I thought it was supposed to be lived, with compassion, consideration, acceptance, generosity, forgiveness, and so on, but it seems that, more often than not, I ended up turning people off or even going so far as to get them downright pissed off at me, even when my intentions were always to be helpful, supportive, encouraging.  It feels rotten to have your best intentions misunderstood and thrown back in your face, leaving a damaged relationship behind.  Oh, yes, I have regrets.  My regrets are legion.  What’s worse is that the damage is done, and there’s no way to go back and do things differently.

         It’s actually been that way for years.  I can still remember a time during my two very long years at Ocean City (NJ): First United Methodist Church (1975-1977) when the older couple who oversaw the youth program with me were so angry because I jumped the gun with something I did and ruined what they had planned.  They weren’t softened in the least when I said I was only trying to help. 

         My biggest regret, if you must know, is that I turned out not to be the father I now know I should have been to my children.  Even when I thought I had finally accepted that fact before youngest child Karlyn came along, I made different mistakes in my attempt to do things differently – “better.”  The scars left on all four of them cannot be eradicated.  It’s a regret I’ll carry with me to my grave and pray that God will forgive me for, now that I understand.

         I’m apparently quite proficient at being misunderstood and pissing people off, which strikes me strange, because I also consider myself to be fairly proficient with words and to have a gentle spirit.  If I can express myself accurately, and do so with a gentle approach (attitude?), what is there about me that makes people want to think the worst as their initial response? 

         I’ve thought about this a bit recently, and I’ve made a decision.  Based on the fact that most of my life is now behind me and I can reasonably expect to have only a few years left, I want these remaining years to be as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible, meaning that if somebody decides that I irk them, so be it.  I’m not going to come groveling on my knees to try to “make nice” when there are lots of other people with whom I’m enjoying a wonderful relationship and have done so for years.  Only when I finally piss off the last remaining friend and family member will I refrain from saying, “I don’t really need you.”  To do otherwise only produces stress, which, at my age, I most certainly do not need.

So … ya wanna be friends?  Great!  I welcome you with open arms.  Did I piss you off so you wanna hold a grudge from now until the Rapture?  So be it.  I’ll quietly move on and leave you to whoever it is doesn’t get your goat.  I’ll be working on making my remaining years as pleasant as possible.  For me.

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