What Have I done? (or, What I Have Done)

I always like to sit next to the window on flights, if I can.  Two reasons: I like to look outside and see “something,” hoping to see something I have never seen before…..such as when I saw the first wind turbine farms in West Texas; and, if there is nothing to see in particular, perhaps just wonderful clouds and some sky, I can very easily slip into a state of meditation or reflection (especially after a glass of wine, you know).

As I entered my boomer retirement years recently, I sometimes wonder if I have really missed out on something in life, that I would liked to have done (or better yet, have benefited from in some important way).  What have I done? Or, what I have done.  So, here goes, so please indulge my musing:

  • I had a great boyhood in the country, spending much of my early years in nature.
  • I did “leather craft” as a boy.
  • I learned to shoot a rifle and hunt (and killed game).
  • I learned to throw knives as a boy, to shoot a bow and arrow, to make kites from newspaper/sticks/glued with flour paste, and even made a spear gun from scratch.
  • I went into some caves (and got stuck in a crevice once, scaring me badly for a minute).
  • I got to see most of the entire western US at the age of 11, thanks to parents zest for life.
  • I learned to work with sheep and goats, how to get a herd of goats off the tops of rocky hills in southwest Texas.
  • I learned to ride a horse and chase wild cows through heavy brush.
  • I learned to swim.
  • I learned how to canoe.
  • I learned how to make money as a boy, selling pecans, furs, mowing yards, throwing papers from a bike, working as a life guard (which was a pretty good job as I recall…..tanning all day and watching the pretty girls).
  • I did many different jobs part-time in college, a couple pretty dangerous (some of the stuff I did makes me “pucker” even now).
  • I have played percussion all my adult life.
  • I have fished for yellow tail tuna and caught one nice one.
  • I learned to body surf well on the San Diego beaches, about the time Yellow Pokadot Bikini hit the air waves.
  • I have done a lot of things in my teen and early twenties I dare not document (LOL).
  • I learned how to tie a tie very well.
  • I learned that I loved to dance (when I was young and a little tipsy of course).
  • I married an African American woman and became able to be a full human being in the process.
  • I got a bachelor of science in electrical engineering.
  • I got a MS in management science much later.
  • I learned to fly in college.
  • I was in USAF pilot training until I decided it wasn’t for me and quit; during this time I got to parasail on hard land and how to roll when you hit the ground; learned what happens when you are at altitude in a chamber and it is decompressed in milliseconds, sucking the air out of your lungs; the feeling of ejecting from an aircraft; how to do some basic aerobatics, including spins, and basic two aircraft formation flying.
  • I actually worked around/”on” live nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • I later took up pleasure flying, and did some cross country,  spins and such.
  • I took up  and enjoyed target archery.
  • I enjoyed “pumping iron” for most of my adult life.
  • I have done gardening, vegetables and flowers.
  • I have done photography, and loved traveling around New Mexico taking photos of ruins, nature and old barns.
  • I did some fun mountain hiking in New Mexico.
  • I began distance running in NM, and eventually back in Texas ran two marathons and other runs.
  • I have done yoga.
  • I tried doing some drawing.
  • I found out at an early age I sucked at doing technical drafting.
  • I built experimental electrical devices in my early teens.
  • I built and flew model powered and glider planes as a young teen.
  • I got to be on a pit crew (kinda) for racing hydroplane boats in CA.
  • I have tried various Eastern martial arts and meditative movement.
  • I have traveled some, to Mexico, to Canada, and to Germany.
  • I worked temporarily in the US Department of State main building once, and walked down the hall with an Assistant Secretary of State.
  • I learned I could hit a golf ball, and learned I hated golfing.
  • I learned I did like racket ball and volley ball, but I was only a little better at that then I was at basketball (I sucked at that).
  • I was a pretty fast sprinter in high school.
  • I have over the years enjoyed my love of music, especially jazz and percussive tempos.
  • In my engineering career I have designed and been involved with constructing just about every type of facility in the “built environment.”
  • I am a published author, having written a number of magazine articles over my career, and recently small non-fiction books, and continue to do so.
  • I owned a powerful motorcycle and drove it fast; then sold it before I killed myself.
  • I taught myself how to use various software, and get familiar with PC’s.
  • I have met and talked with some famous musical artists, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, David Newman, and others.
  • I have written a book about my “jazz memoirs”, to be published later this year.
  • I have had the opportunity to manage large engineering staffs on complex projects.
  • I have learned how to call upon my total life experiences to further benefit myself, but also others.
  • I have learned that iPhones are indispensable (god, how did I live without it before?) LOL LOL LOL.
  • I have learned that I do not really need a television set.
  • I have learned in my retirement so far, that a lot of things I thought I had to have, I do not.
  • I have learned that living a fairly healthy lifestyle has tremendous benefits as you age.
  • I learned that LOVE is the most important thing in my life.
  • And, …….there MUST be more, but having a “senior moment” right now!

So that’s how full my bucket is.  I have a bucket list of “to do’s” but I am  not very confident that much of that will be realized.  In any case, now that I think about it, I have had a swell life!

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