My book effort has been sidetracked. I don’t think it’s stalled. I think I’ve just been busy with life.
This authorship is a third career for me and I’m trying to avoid the mistakes I made in the first two careers — the primary one being that I made the career the number one priority in my life and living my life secondary. This time, I took a week off to spend full time with my family over the 4th of July; to enjoy our wonderful town of Flagstaff; and to celebrate my love’s 70th birthday. (We’re thinking of that as the new 50.)
I’m also not getting younger and I need to work on staying physically fit. Before 40, I barely thought about that. At 65, it’s a primary focus and it needs to be if I am going to accomplish anything else, including writing a book, or books. I’m in training with a golf coach and I spend at least an hour every day in vigorous exercise and more hours several days a week on skills training and enjoying the game. This also has become a significant part of my social life.
Finally, I also need to close out career #2. It’s not as easy as resigning and walking out the door. There are commitments to honor and investments to divest. That’s getting done. It takes time from the book effort. But that should stop in a few months.
I know I have the discipline to write. I proved it in college, law school, and in two prior careers. So, when life stops interfering, I’ll get back to the discipline of blocking hours at least 4 days per week to sit in my chair and write the book.
Loving life….not in stall.
When I was young, Memorial Day was quite different. This was after the days when everyone walked 10 miles to school no matter what the weather, but we were still in the era of black and white TV where the test pattern came on after the 10 o’clock news. Though I now live in Flagstaff, Arizona, my recollections are from Iowa, where I grew up. Somehow, I think the way things were observed in Iowa were not much different from in Flagstaff in the 1950s.
One way in which Memorial Day was different is that every adult called it Decoration Day. Another difference is that it was not always on Monday as part of a three day weekend. It was on May 30, no matter what day of the week that happened to be. (The change to the last Monday in May happened in 1969.) May 30 came at a convenient time of year to take a day off in Iowa since the crops were in (meaning corn and soybeans were planted) and it was usually before the first round of hay baling (farmers tried to get three in each summer/fall in order to keep the cattle in hay during the winter).
So, everyone dressed up as though it were Sunday and got in the car and visited cemeteries. Sometimes, someone would go out to a nearby cemetery the Sunday before the actual holiday so the graves would be decorated before anyone arrived on Memorial Day – there was often a little competition about the most elaborate decoration.
In our family, Decoration Day had little to do with military honors. It was a day to remember the grandparents and others who had died by decorating their graves. By the time we finished the circuit of graveyards (first picking up an aunt and uncle or two to ride along), we may have put over 200 miles on the car at an average of 40 miles per hour on the narrow two-lane roads. We started early and got home long after dark.
Along the way, we looked forward to each cemetery to come because it meant getting out of the hot (no auto air-conditioning then!) car to run around under the shade of the big old trees surrounding the graves. We also learned a lot about our families. All the grandfathers had come directly from Germany to Iowa to claim and farm new land, and to avoid the Kaiser’s military draft. One of them had been born in New York harbor and was thus a U.S. citizen though no one else in his family was. The origin of the grandmothers was a bit less clear, but at least one of them was German since that’s the language she spoke at home. There were also a few of their children buried nearby – still-born babies and victims of life on the plains without the miracle of antibiotics. That sort of thing was much more common in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and the evidence and history lesson was evident on the ground around us on those Memorial Days.
I was off to college by the time Congress changed Memorial Day to just one of those Uniform Holidays conveniently always located on a Monday to make a nice three-day weekend. Somehow, I think we’ve lost something important to gain these mini-vacations.
©Ann Heitland 2007, then published in the Arizona Daily Sun as Coconino Voices and on Active Rain.
The joys and sorrows of the older generations serve as examples for us to learn from, to emulate or, perhaps even more useful, to avoid. As age segregation becomes more ingrained in our culture, what cycles will be repeated, what misconceptions will flourish?
Silas House via The Growing Generational Divide – NYTimes.com.
I hope that my writing will bridge this divide, at least for those who read.