Wednesday, May 31, 2017



Life's like a road that you travel on
When there's one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
(Tom Cochrane)

In theory, our accoutrements should become fewer the more independent and aged we become.  In reality, our acquisitions become so abundant that they oftentimes prevent us from moving, both figuratively and literally -- what am I going to do with my stuff.  This essay is not about stuff.  This essay is not about materialism.  This essay is about Bohemianism. 

Aged.  This is my projective-psychology rant describing moi.  From an extremely handsome and youthful Adonis I’ve grown into either a Hypnos (sleep) OR his twin brother, Thanatos (death). 
Yikes!  But I can redeem myself.  Because I am a big believer in projective-psychology this essay will directly reflect my self-psychoanalysis.

Aged.  I can take my pick of either ruminating (with regret) and be so blinkered by my past that any future personal development will be arrested until I drop or I can continue to grow.  With only these two choices, my common sense tells me to choose the latter.

And so begins my shaggy-dog projective-psychology rant:

United States Republican senator, Ben Sasse, had written a formula for adulthood.  (I like Ben Sasse. I like Ben Sasse because he is a common-sense political academic and published critic of Donald Trump.  I like Ben Sasse because he does not agree with Donald Trump's policies.  I HATE DONALD TRUMP'S POLICIES.  And because of his policies (and his behavior) I THINK DONALD TRUMP IS NOT A DECENT HUMAN BEING.  Now that I’ve got that out of the way I shall keep writing and projecting.)

First, according to Sasse, to become an adult you have overcome your peer culture simply by associating with people of all ages.  My imagined bleakest future is seating in an old folks home (yikes … rather, in political correct terms, a retirement community) and chatting/complaining about anything and everything amongst my like-minded and aged peers. 

Second in Sasse’s adulthood formula, is to work hard.  An adolescent work ethic is selfish; whereas, an adult work ethic ought to be selfless.  Freud insisted that the keys to a happy and stable life were love and work.  

The third point of adulthood is to limit your television watching, or any other passive media indulging.  Instead, produce some art or music or anything else.  In this regard I’m doing fine.  I’m a busker, both with my guitar and my sketchbook.  I only sing original songs and I only draw portraits of people on the street.

Sasse’s fourth point is to travel widely, read widely, and read deeply.  I love to travel and I love to read non-fiction. 

Growing to adulthood should really be a senior saltation of sorts.  Funny thing though, I don’t really feel the need to celebrate just yet.  At 66 years of age I’m still on that long and winding road to adulthood.

All roads in life, as complicated and crooked as they are (my interpretation of the long and winding Beatles description), have at least three discernible lanes:  the slow lane (traffic lane), the middle lane (through lane), and the fast lane (express lane).

The slow lane is always the safest lane.  Any talking tortoise will tell you that slow but sure wins the race. 

The middle lane is the rat pack lane, during which both your sides are exposed.  Therefore, this through lane really reduces your avoidance options.  In this lane you are constantly made aware of what is right (on your right) and what is wrong (to your left).

Driving in the fast lane is thrilling, but eventually you’ll need a pit stop.  You’ll need some Zen for your motorcycle maintenance.   Driving so fast you’ll be sure to miss an exit or three, and when you do miss these moments, remember to not panic, just change lanes and take the next right exit (opportunity) when it comes, and it always comes.

Be aware that you are never stuck in the fast lane (or any lane) for the rest of your life, unless you want to be.  Saying thus, being impatient and hopping from lane to lane is living dangerously.  Being unpredictable is most certainly detrimental to a quality life.

There is a poster quip, “STAY IN YOUR LANE.”  Stay in your lane means mind your own business.  But minding your own business is difficult when you are part of a group, be it a small group (SG) or a large group (LG).  Minding your own business is manageable only when you operate as an independent (I).

Here are some personal examples of large groups, small groups, and independents at play and at work and at home.

At play …

Of course I have my hockey story.  My wee wee, pee wee, bantam, midget, juvenile, and senior hockey career began with the Vanguard Eagles of the NHL (Notekeu Hockey League). This Eagle affiliation would be considered a large group, along with an affiliation with the Swift Current (racially connoted) Indians senior hockey team, and the Regina Icemen, a recreational senior hockey team. 

My large group hockey condensed to a small group experience when I began playing pond hockey this last decade.  Pond hockey is shinny playing pick-up hockey, skating on outdoor rinks and ponds.
This past winter I skated solo, solitarily stick-handling late evenings on the outdoor rink at Victoria Park, one block from my condo.

I went from organized playing hockey with only my peers, to random hockey playing pick-up with all ages, to playing solitaire.  The first point of being an adult, according to Ben Sasse, is overcoming your peer culture.  If hockey is my measure this means I’m all grown up!

At work …

I’ve five years of high school English teaching, during which I was always entertaining groups of adolescents contained in classrooms.   Following this, I delivered six years of guidance to both small groups (young offenders) but mostly individual students (personal and crisis counseling) while being partnered with another guidance counsellor.   As an independent I ran a private psychology/counselling practice, and still continue to do so with Hypnotherapy being my specialty.

At home …

We were a large group when my children were at home with my wife and me.  When our children grew up and left, my wife and I were small group empty-nesters.  Empty-nesters over time as each embarks on personal pastimes become rather individual during the daytime.  As individuals, I busk, Carol (my wife) studies Interior Design, and prepares gourmet evening dishes.  Factoid:  Every meal prepared by Carol is always tastier than dining at the finest restaurants.  I know this because I live right downtown among the best eateries in Regina, Canada.

As I stated a few paragraphs ago, staying in your lane means minding your own business, but … minding your own business is difficult when you are part of a large group or small group.  In small groups (especially if you are the leader) it is important to mind everyone’s business.  And in a large group one needs to be aware of what each of the group members is doing.  In group, every member contributes, and sometimes/oftentimes not in a positive way.

Staying in your lane means staying focused, but having multiple interests complicates this single endeavor.  The secret is to schedule your focuses on each of your interests.  For example, I love weight training and only go to the gym early mornings.  When I go portrait sketching I don’t take my guitar, and when I’m thrumming I don’t take my pencil. 

Staying in your lane means knowing your self … knowing what you hate to do and what you love to do … I hate shopping and I hate working and fixing things around the house and I hate mathematics.  I love busking and writing and lifting weights and running and drawing pencil portraits.  I love to socialize but only in bits.  I only go busking on Saturdays or Sundays before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to avoid the sun. 

Staying in your lane is to know how much you can tolerate in that particular lane.  I love going to Western Hockey League games once a week.  I am a faux NHL scout; my nephew is a for real NHL scout, employed by Central Scouting for the real NHL (the National Hockey League not the Notekeu Hockey League).  I refer to myself as a faux scout because I’m privileged to enjoy all the said perks for the elite scouting community:  free gate admission including permanent and perfect seats, free drinks and snacks, advanced game sheets which express the starting line-ups and other inside stats not made available to the general public, including hobnobbing with the real NHL scouts.

Meanwhile back on Route 66 …

The skinny of this essay is simply to realize when you finally arrive at the stage in your life when you seemingly are not as accountable as before, be sure to make the best of it while it lasts (and it will last only as long as YOU last).  To keep in this skinny frame just know that when you finally arrive at that stage in your life you will need winter tires.

Driving in the wintertime of your life you’ll know, as I now know, that all life is finite.  Introspection will force the grey epiphany that squandering life makes it even shorter than it actually is (time-condensation). Having a life stratagem of changing lanes is necessary for flexibility and adventure (time-expansion).

The lane on the far left is the fastest and the least traveled by, and happens to be the most exhilarating and the only lane that is never boring.   The busiest lane is the middle one, and being in that lane means being the most vulnerable, having to deal with the fast and furious pressures from the left and the slow and featureless pressure from the right.  

Staying in the slow lane will ensure the most safety ...
but also will ensure a lifestyle most miserable.  

Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:  My twin sister, Lisa Williams (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LISA!), and my best friend, Colby Williams and ... the members of the JUNIOR PATS, elite division champions of the Havoc Hockey Elite Invitational Tournament in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, just a couple weeks ago (May 18-22).

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