Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

When your parents go, you’re next

January 4, 2013

We feel many things when we lose our parents.

Of course, we have the typical grieving experiences, such as we may think about all the experiences we had with our parents and we know we’ll never have them again.

But also, since they were our parents, as their children, we may miss the parental figures that have been “above” us, ahead of us on the path of life.

We now feel the buck stops with us. There is no one to answer to anymore. We’re the ones at the top.

If we’re in your 40’s or maybe 50’s when you lose your parents, we may not notice another feeling – “I’m next!”

If our parents were, say, 30 years old when we were born, then we may have 30 more years left on our lease on life. The clock is ticking.

This conversation raises the whole issue of confronting our own mortality.

In the first half of our life – however many years that is – we may generally think we have our whole lives ahead of us – more time ahead than behind us. Plenty of times to accomplish all the goals we’ve created for our lives. Plenty of time to make all money we thought we’d make. Plenty of time to find that real love of our life. Plenty of time to reach the heights of success we’ve wanted to have. Plenty of time to try that new career. Plenty of time to have those children, write that book, be nicer our loved ones, plant that garden.

But we hit a certain age when we decide there may be less life ahead of us than behind us. What a sobering spot.

It seems the pendulum comes to rest for a moment in the middle of life when you’re right on the cusp, but then all of a sudden you realize you’re going down the other side. Perhaps it’s like a hill you’ve been climbing, now you’ve crested it, and before you know it, you begin sliding down the far side, and – alarmingly – at a seemingly increasing rate.

What a sobering time.

I’m next!

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One Man’s Struggle with Visual Disability

December 19, 2011

On my Windows PC, I always use both the Magnifier and the High Contrast display mode to reverse screen colors.

While it gets me through the day, it is still an awkward way to use a computer. To read text, I must hover my mouse over it so it appears in the magnifier window which takes up the top quarter of my screen.

Most hardcopy printed material is tedious for me to get through, and I have stopped reading books many years ago.

Today, I had an interest in reading Syd Field’s classic book Screenwriting, the de facto book on the subject of… wait for it… wait for it… screenwriting.

My desire was strong enough to make some little fact of which I was peripherally aware come to the forefront of my mind – there is a Kindle reader application for PC’s.

A Google search easily took me to the correct page on Amazon and I downloaded the Kindle for PC software.

It came preloaded with Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, and a translation of Aesop’s Fables.

After learning the software and fiddling with it for several minutes, I discovered the font settings that work best for me, those being the largest font size, the most number of words on a page, the highest brightness, and the black background. I then go into full screen mode, and I began reading Aesop’s Fables.

For the first time in maybe about 10 years, I had the virtual experience of reading a book, without being squashed up into the highest corner of my screen. I can actually read the text without the magnifier tool and turn pages.

I’m not sure I’ll go back to reading as many books as I used to, but I know I will enjoy some, starting with Aesop’s Fables, and then maybe the entire Syd Fields library on screenwriting, and perhaps the Steve Jobs biography.

Aesop’s Fables has special meaning for me – grandma and grandpa always had a set of cards, the size of large playing cards or tarot cards, each containing an Aesop’s Fable, usually with a nice illustration of the animals on it. When we were little, I read those cards over and over again. In reading several just now, I realize many of my thoughts on morality and life came from these stories.

Thanks for being my Kindle inspiration Mom!

Steve Jobs eulogy by his sister Mona Simpson

October 31, 2011

I’ve been quite taken by the life and death of Steve Jobs the last few years.

The phenomenal success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been astonishing. You can’t help but pay attention.

But ever since I watched Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University, I’ve been fascinated and inspired by his viewpoints on life, and perhaps even more, death.

I don’t think most people talk about death. And I think that’s a shame. Because being more deliberately aware of death provides an opportunity to be more consciously aware of life, and hopefully, more appreciative of this time we have here together.

Now with the release of the only authorized biography of Steve Jobs, entitled Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, we’ve been seeing excerpts and press from all angles. Walter Isaacson even appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN and talked about Steve.

Yesterday, the New York Times published Steve’s sister Mona Simpson’s October 16, 2011 eulogy of Steve delivered at the Memorial Church of Stanford University. I read it, cried throughout, and openly sobbed and wept upon completing it. Perhaps it’s not really that moving. Somehow for me though it is.

I am so inspired by the way this man approached death, eyes wide open, surrounded by the ones he loved, giving and receiving comfort, love, and support all the while.

Clearly, he was a remarkable man, with an extraordinary spirit. Despite whatever harsh manner he’s known for around the workplace, this man was clearly inspired and there was something special here. If nothing else, just the way he approached everything with such deliberate consciousness.