Archives For freedom

AgsinstTheStreamYou have two choices in life: You can disappear into the mainstream , or you can be true to yourself and swim against the current. One is a form of self-abandonment ; the other is an adventure into new worlds and dimensions. — from Life’s Secret Handbook…

If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up way too much space. — Unknown wise person

“It’s never too late,” concluded George Eliot, “to be what you might have been.” In this regard, retirement gives you the time and freedom to become more than you have ever been. In fact, it may be your last shot to become the type of person you have always wanted to become. Why not take advantage of it.

Yes, I am thoroughly enjoying retirement! The best part is observing my neighbors drive off to work in the morning knowing that their day will be filled with jerks, brainless and endless meetings, jerks, vendor lunches where you hold your breath just waiting for the sales pitch until you regurgitate your pasta, more jerks and the eventual company reorganization of the section that was just reorganized last month! — Bill Kalmar

Zelinski, Ernie  How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor (Kindle)

Lets finish up these “insight” reports with an absurd amount of clichés. 🙂

Do you want to be ordinary and live your life among millions of other vanilla flavored people or do you want to step out from the crowd? That is the question each of us has to ask  ourselves and hopefully we can answer that before it is too late to doing anything about it.

My father, God rest his soul, had a pretty low self-esteem and he passed that trait on to me, at least in my first trimester of life. I was a bashful kid who didn’t want to bring any attention to myself. I very gladly stayed very much in the middle the crowd. As I matured I discovered I had unique things to offer this world.  All of us have unique gifts, they are called God’s wishes for our lives that is if we ever manage to discover them. As I entered the last trimester I became determined to swim against the current. It is where I belonged all along but took me years to realize that fact.

Retirement gives me time and freedom to become more than I have ever been. There were many times in my life I chose to not rock the boat. Some of those times might have jeopardized my career and some may have lost me friends. Retirement frees many of us from those hindrances or at least it should. Freedom to become more than I have ever been makes life exciting and fruitful.

I love the last quote about watching our neighbors drive off to work. It gave me an LOL moment. We all dream of what we will do when we punch the time clock for the final time. Don’t sit back and waste the opportunities  that your retirement years provide you…. Do something… Do Anything….

 

 

<<<This is part of a continuing series of my year-end discernment period. Scroll down the center bottom footer to see the earlier posts list>>>

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America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed them ourselves.  —Abraham Lincoln

2014-01-08_15-27-01Losing our freedoms because we destroyed them ourselves is something that I worry about. Of course when Lincoln made this quote there was no such thing as the NSA, Internet, cell phones but each of these are the things that may just destroy our freedoms.

Sometimes I think I am the only one to be worried about this. The NSA’s ability to tap into all our telephone, text, and Internet information seems like a “perfect storm” just waiting to happen. It has even been reported by some pretty reputable sources that they can get inside all our smart phone apps to see what we store there.

I know 1984 has come and gone without the dire predictions by George Orwell’s book by that name. But given the thirty years since then it does seem more like Orwell’s world now. So many of us seem to have a blasé attitude toward what we once viewed as sacrosanct rights. Of course much of that has to do with fear overriding our feelings of freedom. We fear terrorism more than cherish our “God-given” rights.  Given the latest revelations from Mr. Snowdon’s document releases Big Brother is very much around us and into our daily lives.

Of course, this is not the first time that fear has trumped freedoms, especially the right to privacy, in this country. In fact we have a long history of that happening. The one that comes to mind first is the FBI during the 1960s.  J. Edger had files on many of the people who questioned his authority including Martin Luther King and the Kennedy clan including the president himself.

And then their were all the sedition acts throughout our history starting very early on with the Alien and Sedition Acts signed into law by John Adams. That one basically said that anyone who wrote “malicious” things about the president or congress  could be sent to jail for up to two years! Can you imagine the number of journalists who would be in our prison system today if that were still enforced? 🙂

One of my favorite presidents even signed one known as the Sedition Act of 1918 for “any statement criticizing the Government of the United States”.  Another was the Smith Act of 1940. Like today most of these acts were implemented during times when fear was rampant.

Getting back to the quote above, Lincoln once again proves that his wisdom is for the ages. When we lose our constitutional freedoms it will not be from a terrorist but because we destroyed them ourselves.

I’m pretty sure that this post will end up before the eyes of someone in the NSA but given my concerns of an over bloated military I don’t imagine it is the first of my posts to go there. But remember my NSA friends I’m just an ordinary old shrinking retired guy who likes to question things that others seem to take for granted so don’t come knocking at me door.

Quit Complaining And…

March 10, 2013

Banner -Inspiration

My inspiration for this post comes from various quotes but has the same theme.  It is easy to sit back and complain about this or that. We all do it and I am certainly no exception. But just complaining about something seldom has  the effect of actually resolving what you complain against.

Here are some words from those much more famous than I am regarding this topic:

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.  ~John Locke
Well done is better than well said.  ~Benjamin Franklin
The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men. -Plato
To give up the task of reforming society is to give up one’s responsibility as a free man. -Alan Paton
When you are right, you cannot be too radical; When you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality. -Dante Alighieri
Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. -Sigmund Freud

Connections….

March 3, 2012

Source: A Genuine Willingness – QuakerQuaker.

We long for connections to others. We want to belong to something greater than ourselves. At the same time, we demand autonomy and freedom from constraints imposed by virtue of belonging to a group. These opposing pulls cause stress on both institutions and individuals as we try to meet the requirements of our outer and inner worlds. How do we genuinely balance our need to be self-determining persons and, at the same time, contributing members of society?

The answer depends on our definitions. If my interpretation of self-determination is how much I can gain for myself in terms of power, prestige and wealth, then the possibilities for balance between a person and community are negligible. On the other hand, if I characterize myself primarily by my role in a given social unit, then I risk losing my true identity.

These are some pretty heavy words from my Quaker friend David Madden over at the QuakerQuaker blog site. As usual he has given me a lot to think about in this area. The first thing that came to mind was a blog post I made months ago about how if stoplights were invented today Republicans would be against them. 🙂  After all isn’t the purpose of stoplights to get you to do something you don’t really want to do. It definitely impeded our autonomy in getting someplace as fast as possible.

It does seem that my Republican friends, and much of the world for that matter, view almost everything from a very self-centered viewpoint. If something does not benefit them directly they are pretty much against it. They are tuned in to the “survival of the fittest” worldview.  Where is the balance point between self and community? That seems to be a big question especially in today’s political sphere. I think this very question gets down to the basic difference between our two political parties. One is focused almost entirely on autonomy and the other toward community.

All of us, especially in the U.S. treasure our autonomy to one degree or another; we believe that is one of the defining differences between us in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Like most things in life that fact has a good side and a bad side.  In that regard I want to also include a quote here from my hero Will Rogers:

All we hear is “What’s the matter with the country?” “What’s the matter with the world?” There ain’t but one thing wrong with every one of us in the world, and that’s selfishness. — Will Rogers

We like to think of ourselves as being compassionate. Even George W. Bush wanted people to think of him, rightly or wrongly, as a “compassionate conservative”. (I’m not at all sure there can actually be such a thing 🙂 )  In order to be compassionate we must be attuned to others in our society. We must also take to heart the words brought to us by Jesus Christ with his new covenant.  We must at least put our brother’s welfare equal to our own. Selfishness is counterproductive when in comes to community. We no longer seem to understand that fact.  And that is a very sad thing.

But what do I know….