My Philosophy towards life and living

Two dear friends (family for sure) enjoyed my last paper, but want me to write my thoughts down as they relate to my “philosophy towards life and living.” On their behalf, I’ll try. 

It was 1951 when Lenette approached my table (work job fair at UCLA ). She asked questions and I asked questions and in the process I fell in love with her. Within minutes I knew this is the girl I wanted to marry. She left the interview with a promise to return after canceling her job with the YMCA as a swimming instructor. During this time she met two of her girlfriends and told them about me and the jobs I was looking to fill. She also mentioned that “his philosophy is awesome and, by the way, he’s the guy I’m going to marry.” It’s the truth! 

I have never thought philosophically about my approach to working with children, I just did the best I could at all times and in all situations and wanted and demanded this of those that I worked with. I would hold numerous training sessions discussing what apparently had to be my philosophy, but always emphasizing the pragmatic essentials. For sure I was not theoretical in any sense that I was aware of, but “hands on” practical. I was a carpenter not a professor.

When an undergraduate and graduate student in my psych classes I remember having issues with my professors over what was being taught and what I knewworked. Experience, working with coworkers, parents and children, always had greater influence on me than what was being taught in the class room.  As a practitioner in the field I know we (my staff and I) did an excellent job. Kids and parents were the recipients and the messengers. Also, and without question, staff and children ages 4 to 16 played the biggest hand in what I became and the philosophy’s evolution. Influence was never one way.

The “children phase” finished I was thought by professionals and entrepreneurs around the country to be able to solve their problems with staff communication and behavior. In the process of working to “better” staff relationships and productivity I discovered that the real problem is the leader. This led to my heavy duty studying anything and everything relative to Leadership, power and influence. It was here (the 70’s) that I discovered that I did have a philosophy.   

In general, my philosophy when in relationship: Respect the other, bein the presentlisten, work hard to understand, seek clarification if necessary and confirm what you think you hear being said. Agree or disagree, honesty is essential. Have the courage to be candid in response. And finally, be what you say and teach.

While I was writing my book I called an old friend still living in Chicago (most are gone) and ask him to tell me what kind of kid I was 85 years ago. I question his response, but he told me I was the best listener in the gang and was trusted.  The seed had to come from my parents and apparently my philosophy began to grow very early on.     Sy

Who you see is me———-Not an act to fool anyone———–Good or bad just me. 

We need role models————–We do not simply become————Experience counts.

On Aging—A Personal Journey

A friend asks that I write a paper about aging and in the request I felt concern facing this chapter of his life. So I’ll do my best, but with the understanding that I write only about what I am experiencing. What others my age and older feel I will not guess. I know me and that’s what the paper will be about.

To begin I start with Lenette because she is more why I am here and now than any other cause. So I believe that relationship with someone special is of immense importance. I want to be with her as long as possible, but with the understanding that I not be a burden to her. If and when I am I’ll b ready to let life go.

With Lenette being absolutely essential to my life and the desire to remain around as a partner what do I do to assist my continued stay? I exercise five days a week. I read a great deal of history mixed with current events and enjoy the companionship of friends. 

As for food: Lenette feeds us lots of fish, vegetables and fruit. Breakfast is big for me; Protein drink and nuts for lunch and a dinner prepared by Lenette that is always delicious including a generous salad.  My contribution is doing the dishes. 

My exercise routine is the same Mon, Weds and Fri and takes about two hours to complete. Tues and Thurs are different and take a bit less to do. All five days include aerobics and muscle groups and surprisingly am slowly improving my strength and aerobics. If decline is taking place it is hardly noticeable. Living in the present is my reality. I take each moment as a gift.  

Important to me are my essays. Receiving comments and suggestions generates more reason for me to write. What people have to say is important to me. Whether in agreement or not each response is looked forward to and stimulates thought. Making comments and suggestions for papers is welcome. As long as my experiences are accessible to me they are what I’ll write about.

I also recognize that I’m more thoughtful about things today than ever before. I know that when past events, whether people or issues, took place I did not give much thought to the action I should or should not take I just took action. I was open to the demands made upon me and reacted as best I could. Maybe aging is that time for reflection on things past? This is true for me.

I appreciate being here and feeling as I feel. I certainly feel lucky in that I remember things, am still somewhat creative, able to write brief papers (and Haikus), read lots, exercise, get hungry for a good meal and mostly love just being with Lenette.   

Aging is real. Don’t fear it and don’t run from it. Take each day as it comes and do your best to be grateful and give love.                                                       

I am what I am———I do not need or want more———-All is what it is.

Life a special gift——–I know this and am grateful———Events dictated.             Sy

On Aging – A Personal View Pt.2

The friends that requested my thoughts on aging opened a can of worms. As long as I stick with expressing my own feelings and thoughts I’ll continue to do so. Have no intention of speaking for others. I can’t and won’t.

Since creative writing is one of the essentials to my well being I’ll continue this brief essay approach. It’s my style anyway. To begin: Based on the comments I receive this feeds me to write more on a given topic or work on other paths.. A good thing to be sure because it stimulates ideas to write on and I so enjoy hearing from those I send my essays. Whether in agreement or not it’s all food for thought and I look forward to whatever is written. On the other hand, no obligation to respond to anything I write. Expectation is not my thing.   

What I find interesting is that my recent papers on aging have produced a significant response. In fact it is why this paper continues with aging. Having always given effort to being there for those I worked with and served it’s obvious that this is a hot subject and calls out to say more. I try.

To begin I certainly believe each of us approaches aging in our own unique way. Some fear it and do what they and money can do to allay those fears. They may try, but to what avail? Time is limited for all. I say and live each day as best I can. Now is good enough; be grateful and loving to yourself and others. 

My primary anchor to life and living is Lenette followed behind by an exercise routine and proper diet. Also very important are my friends. How blessed Lenette and I are to have many and so varied.  Added to this list is reading and creative writing which forces me to think. Also the ancient adage and my mantra “live in the present and be as fully here/now as possible.” Something I had trouble with when younger. It was always one foot in the present and one foot in the future. Today it’s all: Live and love now.

In any case, writing and speaking about aging as I am is fair game and I am able to do that. I can and will share with you my thoughts on the subject. Speaking for others is out of the question. We cannot know the other. Trust me when I say or write “It is difficult or maybe impossible to know the other.” 

So this is about me and if it offers a bit of a road map for you, maybe that’s a good thing?  Finally, (a proper word here) I do not waste my time with longevity. The future is not mine to know so I let it be. Today is my gift and I do my best to love my way through it.   Sy

Haiku:

Life’s the gift to live——Waste not what is so precious——–It is here and now.

One is the teacher———One is the student to teach———They need each other.

The journey is short———-Smell each rose and see the sky——-Feel the path you walk.

On Aging-A Personal View Pt.1

A dear friend asked if I’d write about aging. I’ll give it a try.

Since I’m not too far from entering the 90s (three plus months) one would think I ought to be able to write/say something about my own growing old(er)? I do not speak for others (don’t believe I ever have) always trying to do my best to share what I know to be true or believe to be true. So what follows are my present experiences. One thing for sure is that I’m coming to recognize that aging is a complex subject and that I am going through phases or periods of being what I was and being what I am and even thinking about what I might be? Clearly, it is not easy to “broad brush” aging other than to acknowledge it is something I’m working hard to understand. I just as soon not think about it, but I find this to be impossible.

First and relative to my past, I continue to feel I am still capable of teaching about power and its off shoots (relationships, communication and leadership). In fact, I often find myself thinking about the subjects and its importance in all of our lives. I also have a sense (perhaps because I am more contemplative than I remember being?) that I actually understand the issues with greater clarity than previously and getting to the meat and potatoes of what is significant and needs to be understood. Why and how come? I have more time to think about my many experiences. Previously, everything was about preparation and execution. Digging for significant insights and understanding had to be my first task and this followed by sharing in the most enlightened way I was able. My intentions were to be pragmatic as against philosophical and now I feel I am a bit more philosophical. That is, I feel philosophy is the earth that gives life to what is pragmatic.   

The second part of what I am experiencing is my being present and in the moment. Most everything, each day, is something very special and enjoyable for me. Sharing time with Lenette has always been my first choice. Today it is even more so. Also, looking at trees, flowers, birds, the river, sky, colors each minute gives me pleasure as do the people I am blessed to share time and dialogue with. Even composing this brief one pager is a joy and a challenge to me. I don’t anticipate completion and, in fact, do not set a time to complete anything, but to be in the middle of what-ever I am doing and allow it to unfold in its own particular way. A brief pleasantry to share: On the way to the gym I belong to (work out five days a week) is an eagle’s nest. Each year for the last six or seven two eagles arrive, settle in on their large nest high up in the tree, lay eggs and soon are caring for three to four eaglets. Almost daily Lenette and I drive by the tree and nest to view the eagles. We both feel blessed to be witness to their family life until they all depart before summer. And yes, we look forward to next spring and the eagles return. 

The third part to my triad is the future. What the future holds is a mystery that unfolds each moment as we move into it and we are aware of its unpredictability. Looking backward we are aware of how the past-present and the past-future occupied our full time and energies.  If we did not control events of that time we thought we could, and even if not possible we tried. Finally, in the midst of all that we created and were responsible for we found time and ways to explore the physical world and its people. Someway, somehow, we feel and hope it all worked out well.        Sy

Some End of the Year thoughts

Have not written a paper for some time; it seems like my writing a book has taken precedence over my one pager’s? 

So far I have about 7 chapters written. The one I’m locked in at this time seems to be the core of what this book is supposed to be about. It’s the “power” chapter that everything else seems to be circling around. In any case, I’ve developed a philosophy about my writing, and that is to allow it to go where “it” wants to go as against my having a predetermined course or outline. Also, I’m enjoying so who cares.

Both Lenette and I feel great considering that the years pile up, and each day is that much more wonderful. I guess this has much to do with how one’s mind and body are functioning? I believe that our having been around the young for so much of our life has something to do with this. We’ve never felt different or apart from those we worked and lived with. The older ones we did know seemed old and we so much younger, even if our years were similar. It certainly has something to do with attitude as well as remaining active. It’s a package.

Back to the book: Having honed my style as a teacher, and one that nurtured spontaneous feedback, writing only to satisfy some inner voice within me is a totally new experience. As stated, I enjoy this dialogue with this “inner voice,” and have no desire to impede its influence on my fingers. 

 I hope to have the book finished by the end of this summer (at the latest), and seek how and what process to go about having it published; (any help or ideas are appreciated). Since I always believed (and even more strongly today) that this philosophy is so pragmatically correct and needed I feel that it will (not can) make a difference in the lives of the more powerful in the world of business, education, politics, and yes, even parenting. In other words, where power between people is an issue (and where is it not?) it will challenge the real and actual of this day; probably more than previously, and this due to the impact of technology. 

There are certain truths that exist no differently today than at the beginning of humankind. The one I focus on is that power is both a gift and a problem that takes place between each of us. To know this means to use power well and for good. To claim to know this, and to use power for ill and evil is madness. No one; in particular the one in power can avoid this truth. Using power as a tool to win over others as compared to using power to grow others is a disease insidious to all.

So, like the opening that is nothing but a “few thoughts” I wish you all good health and a better year for all of us and the world.

Sy