Home

These Are The Good Old Days…

4 Comments

Carly Simon kinda summed it up way back in 1971 (before it became the Heinz Ketchup jingle) when she strummed and sang ANTICIPATION:

Stay right here…

…’cause these are the good old days”

 

Ah yes… the GOOD OLD DAYS

During my childhood, Dad frequently spoke warmly of the “Good Old Days“… halcyon times before electricity, before cars, before long-haired hippies.

… but Dad left out the parts about millions displaced and brutally killed during World War 1 and World War 2 and the Depression era… worries and tragedies.

dust-bowl-refugees.jpg

In my local Okanagan newspaper last week, celebrated Canadian author Jack Whyte wrote about the good old days of advertising when ads were so much more honest way back when…

… but Jack left out the parts about doctors advertising the health benefits of smoking and cartoon camels and singing DDT characters… sorry Jack, but this was honest advertising of a bygone era?

Bust enhancer  sugar-ads1.jpg DDT1.jpg smoking-ads11.jpg

And today we have Donald Trump mewling through angry pursed lips about making America great again. Seriously Donald?

… but Donald? Donald! Bad boy!

You left out the parts about… and I’m only scratching the surface here… about the good old days when we lived in a world of:

  • slavery and segregation
  • lack of women’s rights and the vote
  • no government pension, medical or welfare payments
  • the 1960 average North American lifespan was 68 (versus about 79-82 today)
  • North American infant mortality was 58 per 1000 in 1933 (6 per 1000 in 2010)
  • hand washing clothes
  • African women with a lifespan 16 years lower in 1960 than today
  • no fridges, freezers or microwave ovens in every home
  • women with no tampons or HRT
  • banks with long lines that closed tight by 4 pm Monday to Friday
  • no air conditioners
  • no seatbelts or airbags in cars
  • no open heart surgery, no diabetes treatment, no effective treatments for depressive and bi-polar disorders, no effective treatments for smallpox, tuberculosis, syphilis, whooping cough, and measles
  • nothing remotely resembling gay, religious, or aboriginal rights

You’re right Donald, I agree that those were the good old days.

But more importantly I say… BULLSHIT Donald!

bullshit

THESE are the good old days!

YOUR good old days were good because, like most of us, you selectively remember the untroubled sunny moments lying out on sandy beaches by the lake or ocean, the mouth-watering taste of Mom’s steaming apple pie, the fresh scent of Dad’s new gas-guzzling car.

These are all the faint, selectively sequestered memories of the wonderful, pleasant things that happened years ago. We all do this, remembering the positive times, the broad smiles, the cute giggles, the glories.

Selectively, most of us push aside memories of cruel bullying that occurred in schools, sexual molestations by creepy uncles, fears of barbaric dental visits, nasty horrible tastes of cod liver oil pushed down our throat by Mom, scary draft cards and eviction notices received in mailboxes.

Of course, good old days are much much easier to re-create and glorify when you’re male, white-skinned, wealthy, straight, or privileged in any way.

But regardless of our plights, all of us are living in the good old days right now because the good old days are a combination of a reality AND a fiction we create in our minds.

Tiny Tim Crachit and Oliver Twist lived in the (fictional) good old days in their better moments.

Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin and Pol Pot and Josef Stalin lived in the good old days.

Helen Keller and Anne Frank and Mother Theresa lived in the good old days.

You and I are living in the good old days today… the same as we were when we were children.

WRONG!

There NEVER were and there NEVER will be good old days.

EVERY day has always been good. EVERY day has always been bad.

Somewhere. For Someone.

YOUR chance, your choice. Every moment in life is a wonder or a catastrophe. Again, your chance, your choice.

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said:

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

Good is a concept interpreted by every person individually.

Donald Trump has chosen to find despair and evil all around him despite the factual reality of humanity’s improvement in almost any realm.

Trump has chosen, and more heinously is using, the sad pessimist’s road that says yesterday will always be better than today.

LA-DI-DA Donald.

Never will this world be the Shangri-La, the perfection.

The epitome of heaven for every person on this planet will never exist.

EVERY day has always been good. EVERY day has always been bad.

Somewhere. For Someone.

But the bright optimists in our midst will always believe that sunshowers are a legal reason for skipping school and swaying, dancing in the rain.

I choose optimism.

I choose to believe, to know… that we’re living in the best of times, so I’m gonna dance bare-footed in the streets like no one’s watching…

Stay right here… 

…’cause these are the good old days”

 

dancing in the rain.jpg

Repelling the Age Demons for One More Year …

Leave a comment

only-young-once

I was young once. Of course I’m still immature.

There are halcyon visions of my little toddler kids doing upside-down twirls while hanging from the swing set in the backyard on bright summer mornings.

Gasping, I watched helplessly when my 3 year-old son Will fell from a head-down position and landed hard on his crown on the sparse grassy ground underneath; when the momentary shock subsided, he burst into wails of tears from the stun and pain.

I laughed when they twittered (NO… not THAT Twitter) their excitement over red wiggly worms or chirping hens.

I fumed when they bickered and argued with each other about Fisher Price toys.

Those days were exhausting, but I miss them.

In those earlier days I would wake up at 5 am and throw on my running shoes and run 8 or 10 hard, fast (for me) miles before breakfast. Weather be damned… rain, shine, frigid temps or blistering hot. It didn’t matter. I was young and nothing would stop me.

A few years have passed and now my birth certificate claims I’m not so young.

I still canter around the block in my high tech New Balance runners, absorbing the sights, sounds and scents of cherry and Ambrosia apple trees. But it’s just at a canter pace, no galloping any more.

And weather? Well, it had better be mild and at least moderately sunny or I’m gonna stay indoors and find my stride on a comfy, dry treadmill.

Running Van Half Marathon 2015

This is what “experienced” runners look like at the end of a Half Marathon…

 

………………..

Life is a beautiful, precarious, frustrating, exhilarating, gut-wrenching, soul-satisfying wonder.

We’re all given one and some of us – the optimists – appreciate it and thrive and glory in everything, even the bad parts.

And others of us – the pessimists – find pig shit in the sunniest of days.

It’s all a matter of approach and viewpoint and self-talk .

I called myself an optimistic-pessimist for many years. The thinking in my head was that if I had low expectations, then anything that somehow rose above those depressed levels would make me a happy, contented soul.

Dawson

C’mon Dawson … Always Look on the Bright Side of Life …

 

But I’ve changed.

I try to look at all things in life now from an optimist’s perspective. I expect the best and if it doesn’t pan out, oh well, this too shall pass, and tomorrow or the tomorrow after that will bring a sunnier day that I can enjoy thoroughly.

Today, as in life, I’m approaching my runs from an optimist’s POV.

I used to enter running races and triathlons feeling enormous internal pressure to meet my goals for time. I needed the affirmation that I had trained hard enough and had sufficient strength to push myself just a bit more, a bit more.

I needed my internal Mommy to tell me I was a good boy. I wouldn’t kick myself if I didn’t reach my goals, but I felt let down. There was an intense pressure to succeed.

When I enter a race now, I have a goal time in mind. but I don’t invest myself so thoroughly in achieving it the way I used to. My laissez-faire stance just says to me, “I’ll do my best and if I make it, fantastic… if not, fantastic still” .

Just two weekends ago I ran alongside about 14,999 others in the Vancouver Marathon/Half Marathon (I ran the half marathon section). It was a gorgeous sunny Vancouver day that would make anyone wonder why the heck they didn’t move to Vancouver long ago (aside from $1 million dollar average home prices). Mountains, oceans and sunshine are human seductive candy.

Running inside bucolic Stanley Park on a bright day while looking over Burrard Inlet, cruise ships in the harbour, is the definition of modern-day heaven.

Sun-Run

My mind was in “runner’s peace” for the first time as I glided, almost effortlessly along the forested roads through the park. I crossed the finish line over two minutes sooner than last year, but it didn’t really matter.

I’ve silenced my inner Mommy.

Why?

Because I’m still doing it. Just doing it. Like Nike.

I’ve been a pallbearer enough times … I’ve been to ample funerals and Celebrations of Life to love and appreciate the rise and fall of my chest, the beat of my heart.

And how many of my friends and acquaintances stopped running years ago because of knee issues and hip issues and age issues and and and.

The body we’re assigned either holds up or it resigns.  I’m fortunate in knowing that my runner’s resignation is still somewhere, someday, further along in the future, and for that I’m content and happy.

I’m still doing it and feeling like I’m a little kid myself hanging upside down on the playset.

The aging demons in my head have gone silent and I’m just a running fool for one more year.

forrest-gump