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by Ron Cruger
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My changing life
2014 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
There was a time when one of my prime life focuses was directed towards
my car. It always had to be clean, even spotless. It had to
least three coats of wax on it. There was a time when I was reluctant to
take it out of the garage if it was raining. I would
change my carís
oil myself. Iíd clean the spark plugs. Iíd vacuum my carís carpets after
having a passengerís shoes touch its deep
††††††††††The lawn and gardens had to be properly mowed, raked and cultivated.
††††††††††The cuffs on my slacks had to
break at precisely the proper
length on my shoes. And the shoes, they had to reflect a particular
and shelves had to be orderly and neat.
††††††††††Oh, there was more, but you get the idea.
††††††††††I donít think I was controlled
or obsessed by these notions
of control, but they were definitely a part of my life, my daily doings.
They took space in my catalogue
of thoughts that might have been home
to more thoughtful and cerebral contemplations. They took time to
never been one to believe that humans change a lot
during our lifetimes, but looking back on the past few years, especially
since Iíve retired, I see the alterations that have crept into my
††††††††††My car, although never grimy, is at times
in need of a wash.
I wax the finish once or twice a year. I vacuum the carpets when it is
convenient to me.
††††††††††I still care
how the lawn and gardens appear, but I find
myself having to work myself into an energetic mood once or twice a
month in order to
mow, rake and cultivate.
††††††††††There has been a definite slippage in my attire. Comfort has surpassed appearance.
neatness of closets, cabinets and shelves has been
relegated to second place on the scale of importance. Usefulness reigns
changes in these aspirations came about slowly, but they
definitely coincided with my retirement from pursuing a business
the onset of retirement I found myself noticing a thin
layer of dust on my car and deciding to wash it come the weekend, not
lawns and gardens would have to wait until ďIt wasnít quite so hot outside.Ē
††††††††††The shine on my shoes would have to wait until
other obligations were met.
††††††††††So, what has brought about this shift in importance in my life?
††††††††††During the day I find
myself offering, as sage advice, to
myself, and to others, ďIs this the most important thing in your/my
life?Ē Instead of mowing
the lawn today Iíd rather read a few chapters
of my current book. The lawn will be there tomorrow.
††††††††††Iím not sure if, as we
age, our minds and bodies, no longer
want to expend the effort required to keep cars spotless, or have a
perfectly manicured lawn
or have an everlasting shine on our shoes.
††††††††††I think, rather, it is a combination of priorities and the acquisition of different
††††††††††Today I spend more time thinking about the state of the
world. I reflect on my relationships with family.
I meditate on whether I
have often enough told my children how much I love them. Am I bringing
happiness to my wifeís life? I spend
time thinking about old friends and
how much they mean to me.
††††††††††I look back and think of the years I had spent striving for
success in my career, in business. I think of how important I made a
promotion, a title, a lawn, a car, a closet.
it is more than just the passing of years and the
fading of energies that cause this change in life goals Ė in
establishing what is
really important in our lives.
††††††††††A glance at the evening news and the hardships endured by
millions around the world should
bring all of us to a point of empathy
with the unfortunate souls of which we share the planet.
††††††††††The poor and the hungry,
the tired, the suffering and the
tormented inhabit much of the planet. Today I would find it difficult to
make my dayís priority a
spotless automobile or a well groomed lawn.
Today I wish I could contribute more to ease the pains of the suffering
and the tormented.
Things must be done. Cars need washing,
lawns need care, shoes need shining, but they are chores, not
goals. They are not objectives, when attained, prove
our worth. They are chores. Only chores.
††††††††††I realize today that my eyes,
my goals, my life purpose were
set too low. I saw only the immediate, the petty, the short-sighted
material things around me.
the look of the lawns is adequate. My shoes are clean and shined. The car is clean and runs well.
††††††††††The difference today is
my sense of importance. What is
different today is my feeling about feelings.