Saturday, November 29, 2014

Why They Call it Retirement

It's another beautiful weekend here in the Ozarks! It's the end of November, sunny and temps in the 60s. In a little bit I'll be outside building a new roof for our shed. Anybody that knows me knows that is well outside of my skill level, but I'm sure that I'll enjoy it, just the same. (yeah, right!)

The shed has been a three sided shed that I built with material from an old dog run that was here when we moved in many years ago. The roof had rotted away and was replaced last weekend. Chris has decided that we need to close it in on all sides so I'll put a new section of roof on the front and then build a wall to close it in and put a door on the front. Hey! It's just a shed. I think I can do this. It will take me longer than it should. I'll have to make an unexpected trip (or two) to the store for something I need for the job. But I'll get it finished...eventually.

Tomorrow, I'll spend my afternoon going north a little ways for a Thanksgiving Dinner magic show at a church an hour or so from here.
Pack up.
Drive there.
Set up.
Pack up.
Drive home.

That's a full afternoon.

I think I'll have plenty of weekends days like this in the near future. Maybe that's why it's called retirement. You stay busy all day and get tired. You sleep until you need to get up. You get busy with the next day's projects and get re-tired.
I might need to get a job in order to take a break from all of the projects ahead of me!

Can you take a vacation when you're retired?
Does that mean you go back to work for a couple of weeks?
Or does it mean that you just spend time without any projects/plans?
Hmmm...maybe there is a slight learning curve on this retirement thing.

I'll think I'll get it figured out.

I'd better get busy before I run out of Saturday. I'm not retired yet! Sixty-three days to go!

John <><

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

God Loves You (but I'm His favorite)!

I stole the title of this post from a bumper sticker. It fits.)

The Thanksgiving holiday always gives us the opportunity to pause and examine our lives and the many reasons that we have to be thankful. As I look around and see the trials and struggles of so many good people, I can't help but believe that I am truly favored by God.

I am not a believer in luck and coincidence is too random to account for the blessed condition of my life. I can offer no reason for my position other than God's grace and mercy.

I am not subscriber to fate, nor one that believes everything happens for a reason. I do believe that we were all created to glorify our Creator and gifted to do so. While there are many that give Him glory and honor in trials and tribulations, I have not been asked to do least, not yet.

I don't think that I'm going to get out of this life without suffering or extreme sadness. Life has its cruel nature of pain and torment.
But for today, I am thankful.

And I feel compelled to share my blessings with others.

I'm not really sure of how to go about that. I think that sometimes we get to planning so much that we miss the simple opportunities to bless people that make their way into our days. We often hear the term "random acts of kindness" and yet I am convinced that these are not at all random acts. They are purposeful acts by random people that have made it their mission to be a blessing to people they encounter.

I want to be one of those people!

Would you care to join me?
We can be a purposeful army of people doing purposeful acts of kindness for people.
And not just random people we meet; all of the people we meet!

I honestly have to ask, "Is it even possible to be kind to everyone?"

I don't know if I can do that.

I'm up for trying.
How about you?

John <><

Monday, November 10, 2014

Missed... or not

With retirement just around the corner, I've been wondering a little bit about how I'll be remembered at work...or if I'll be remembered at work!

The reality of life moving on and nobody giving a second thought to my not being there is the most likely scenario. Others have retired before me and air traffic continues to flow as somebody else fills that gap in the schedule. Over the years, I have had little contact with those that have retired or moved on to other facilities. They simply move out of my little ATC (Air Traffic Control) world and we each carry on without thinking much about the other.

I imagine that will pretty much be the case at SGF ATCT (Springfield Air Traffic Control Tower, for my non-ATC friends).

However, it occurred to me that now isn't really the time to be thinking about how one will be remembered. Thinking about how you want to be remembered and acting accordingly is way better than thinking about how you will be remembered. There is no going back to unsay harsh words nor undo unkind acts. I can't travel back in time to offer help or to be a friend. I wonder how differently I might have acted if there was a voice inside that quietly said, "Is this the way you want to be remembered?" before each action or sentence.

Unfortunately, many of us end up with regrets over the way we have acted or the things we have said. One friend suggested that it may take some time before people actually realize that they miss having me around or before they recognize that I did have some impact in their life. At some point in the distant future, they may find a way to let me know.

I don't know if that will be the case, but it did make me think that maybe we should let people know when they are doing a good job and having a positive influence over us or others.  There are people that have encouraged me and helped me along the way. There are those that have inspired me and made me want to be a better co-worker/employee/friend. Perhaps a word of recognition would serve to encourage them to continue doing that for others.

Telling someone that they're being a jerk probably won't have much impact in changing them, but encouraging someone to continue doing good may give them a boost when so many kind acts and kind people go unnoticed.

Personally, I'm not looking forward to any kind of retirement send off. I'd be perfectly content with handing in my headset and walking out the door. I expect that there will be a couple of people that I will maintain some contact with for a short time, maybe a couple that I'll see once in a great while; but for the most part, I expect that I'll leave my ATC world in the past and move on.

Several weeks ago I deleted over 300 Facebook friends. Most of them were people with whom I have no contact and share little in common or people that I see on a regular basis and can have real conversations with instead of checking each others status throughout the day. Most of my co-workers were deleted because the fall into the second category and will most likely stay deleted because they will soon fall into the first.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not at all sad about my decision to retire. I'm not sad about the people that I'll be saying my goodbyes to, either. I am a little disappointed that I didn't pay more attention to how I'd like to be remembered when I had the chance to do that.

But we can learn from the past. And while it may be too late to change what has been done, each of us can begin to live purposefully to leave behind great memories and to encourage the people that we encounter today!

We don't even have to plan to leave a life long legacy behind. We only have to think about how people will  remember us -- tonight; at the end of the day. Will anybody think back (for just a brief moment) about a kind word or kind act from someone that they may or may not have known?

Let's face it. Our memories are pretty short. After nearly two decades at SGF ATCT, March will come and go and nobody will have even a thought of good ol' JH. But maybe tonight someone might have the thought, "That was a nice thing he said today," or "That was a nice thing he did."

I think it's fair to say that I'll not be missed much; and not for very long. Why should it be any different for me than it has been for others? I guess it's really not that important, is it?

Maybe we work too hard at leaving behind legacies.
Maybe not being remembered isn't such a bad thing.
Maybe living to do well in the moment is what legacies are really made of.

John <><

Monday, November 03, 2014

Family Visit

It;s rare that I would be up early on a Monday morning. My work week typically starts at 3pm on Monday afternoon, so there is no need to get up with the sun (or slightly before as is the case today).

However, this weekend we have been blessed with a visit from Aaron and Jenny and our traditional send off is to have breakfast out with both of their families. Hannah and Daniel have opted out of the early morning send-off and said their goodbyes at dinner last night.

I really am so blessed with a grand family!

The times that we get to spend together are so few. I was very happy that Aaron and Jenny went out to lunch with Hannah and Daniel yesterday (and a little jealous that parents were not invited!). It's been interesting to watch as Aaron and Hannah have grown through the buddy stage, the bugging each other stage, and back to being good friends as adults. Sometimes I suspect it may be an alliance against their parents as much as a real sibling friendship, but I do think that they actually like each other most of the time. Having everybody together for a couple of days was great!

I hope that we get to see Aaron and Jenny more often in retirement than we have in the recent past and fear that we will see less of Hannah as she makes her transition into living as a completely dependent adult woman. I guess that is the way of things in our mobile society. I suppose that it is difficult to complain too much as I am one of six siblings, soon to be back to living in six different states!

I enjoyed watching the fights with Aaron on Saturday night. It has been a long time since we've been able to watch them together. We often watch from our own homes and tweet or text back and forth during them but this was way better! I know that Chris sometimes feels that she doesn't get to spend as much time with her boy as I do, but I think that she understands the father/son thing, too. Weekend visits are tough on everybody as both families want to spend as much time as possible with the kids. I'm afraid that we put a lot of pressure on the kids to be more places than is possible in just a couple of days.

I imagine that they are happy to be on their way home and back to their normal routine, sans parents!

We are also back to our normal, unexciting routine.
Work, household chores, a little know, not exactly boring, but far from exciting.
All-in-all, it's a good life.

I hope that yours is also a good life.

John <><