Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Aging Or Just Growing Old

When I was younger I wondered what it would be like to be older. Different thoughts at different ages of youth. Some of the earliest remembrances of this go back to when I was eight or nine and I wondered if I would ever get to high school. Imagine! A teenager! A chance to break away from home, the tyranny of Mom and Pop. A chance to smoke or drink some cheap wine or guzzle a beer. The world was all ahead of me.

I finally got to high school. I still think that was the best or one of the best four years of my life. As a pre-teenager I was Mr. Five by Five, five feet tall and five feet wide. I got pushed around and I wondered what it would be like to push back. In high school I grew and helped by weight lifting got to be stronger than most so I pushed back and lived a pretty free life. There were those like "Crazy George" and his ilk I avoided because my pre-teen experience taught me how to survive.

All of male high schoolers had to contemplate what getting a little older might bring, a job yes but more important service in one of our country's armed forces. Never thought about college that was for the bookworms not for me. I got a job, got acquainted with the gal who would be the love of my life forever, and finally got conscripted into the US Army.

Life was good, full of love passion and accepting responsibilities while keeping a passion for living life to the fullest. I had enough going on right "now".  Still I wondered what it would be like when I got older. People would say age is just a number and I would laughing agree. We were wrong! Age is more than a number it is a body getting older and not being able to function the way it used to function. Age is accepting limitations but learning to do things within the limitations each of us old timers might have. More than anything getting older is realizing you have limited time to enjoy the good things life has to offer. Again each one of old timers is limited to doing what the physical and mental health of each one of is.

The fact is each of old timers are restricted by what the younger among us expect of us, demand of us because of our age. Of course the youngest do not pay attention to us since they are building their own life with the building blocks of personal experience. The old ones, say 55, 60 and up have their ideas about what we should and should not do.  So they put limits on things like driving, going out on dates, actions that they consider belonging to the younger groups.

If one should get into a relationship with a younger person then that person has all the time in their mind to figure out where the relationship is going if in fact it is going anywhere. So the older one is not supposed to want or need passion, or look to spending time on long vacations or just doing what people do in relationships. The younger person can figure all that out when they retire but then the older one might have run out of time and will be dealing with the problems that come up with severe aging like a broken body and mind.

So as we get into growing old the biggest problem is the limited time we have left to enjoy life before we either get ill and/or die. We old timers have to figure out how to handle the good times we have left before that time runs out. Living in the "now" is the best way to do this but we are sharing the "now" with everybody whose "now" isn't the same as ours. The answer isn't to live then with only people of the same age because that means shutting off change, shutting off all the colors of the rainbow. For me the answer is to look for new opportunities to enjoy life, maybe new projects maybe new loves, all are limited but that's the fun, accept the limitations and live joyfully within them.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

"Queen Of Katwe" A Must See Movie

This movie is a must see because it is about the human condition of poverty, the depressed condition of women worldwide, the depravity of those in power, the need of education, use of talent and good people providing mentoring to help those at the lowest level rise to the highest level within their community. And it does this without the use of blatant, sex, violence and sensationalism which is the centerpiece of many of our current movies.

The summary of the motion picture as found on their page promoting the film follows:

"Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. Phiona becomes fascinated with the game and soon becomes a top player under Katende's guidance. Her success in local competitions and tournaments opens the door to a bright future and a golden chance to escape from a life of poverty."

What the words do not reveal are what the pictures do. First of all poverty has no face or color, neither does abuse, but goodness shines through in such simple and pure ways it reflects the goodness that lies at the center of spirituality without ever becoming preachy.

The slums have only dirt streets, broken houses without running water or any of the niceties we take for granted. Many women have no way to earn a living and therefore are at the mercy of overbearing men who seem to have lost their compassion in this dog eat dog world. The slum dwellers have no education many can't even read the simplest things. They make money by growing vegetables and hustling them on the streets if they lose their money they are summarily dispossessed to live out on the streets.. In this true story that was first published in an ESPN article and later in a book an Engineer who is married to a teacher lives here because he can't get a job as an Engineer. He takes a low paying job while he hunts for the job befitting his education. He comes in contact with the children who have no hope and gets them interested in Of all things, Chess. Chess captures their imagination and the girl, Phiona, after many years becomes a Master champion and is able to lift her family out of  the slums.

For this to have had to happen this Engineer, Robert Katende had to finally turn down a good paying job to stay with the children and keep helping them. With his wife teaching they were schooled and learned to read. Phiona became a national hero and light broke through the darkness.

Poverty has no face or color. Goodness has no face or color. People of color, white people, everybody can be hit by the hardship of being economically disadvantaged. But we all have talents that can be developed through education and used to rise above these disadvantages especially if we have mentors who are people of goodness.

See this picture and enjoy the possibilities if people would only care for each other working to lift rather than to tear down. The movie is well written and terrifically acted. And it has a message without being overly bearing in delivering it.