December 14, 2016

It seems as if I’ve put everything on the shelf (Christmas and golf) to pay attention to a bunch of things Tracey and I have been talking about for what seems like years. Some of the stuff are big things: like taking care of our wills and getting our family trust together; like sitting down with several financial planners to try and figure out how best to ensure our finances are handled correctly as I begin the (hopefully) slow slide into retirement; like helping my sister-in-law Tam with getting her divorce from a guy she hooked up with under crazy circumstances some thirteen years ago. Some are smaller things: like finally taking to the shredder bags and bags of financial stuff – some of it left over from fifteen years ago and our time in Louisville; like emptying out the closets where we’d stored old computers, printers and electronic stuff.

Of course, 2016 will be looked upon as the year my mom passed away. But in other ways I think it has been monumental as well. When all is said and done I’ll look back at this year and see it as the year I truly understood I’m now in my sixties. Things that might have seemed important (or at least meaningful) in my life seem less important and even frivolous now. I see some of the crap and the power plays going on at my workplace and I’m just not willing to play along with it anymore. I find myself realizing that the 5-year projects I’m being asked to participate in will either be over or close to over when I decide enough is enough and that I don’t want to play the full-time project manager gig anymore. As it is, the 7 AM calls I have to be on with my India guys every day because of the project we’re all on really sap my energy – not physically but mentally. It’s not that I can’t be “on” for long periods of time, it’s just that it’s tougher.

I find myself sitting under the happy pineapple lights on the back patio with a glass of Pinot Grigio and wondering how I would like to see my remaining years play out, knowing the chances are that I won’t have much of a choice in it – that’s just the way life is. You can make plans all you want, but life has an odd way of intruding. I know 2017 has to be the year we pay off all of our debt once and for all and begin paying the necessary extra principal in order to pay off our house by the time I’m 65. If we can be totally debt-free by that time it would be a huge burden off of our backs. So that has to take priority over everything. It might mean not hitting balls or playing golf, foregoing a weekend in Vegas, or passing up the Goodboys Invitational for a time, but I’m prepared for that. The time for fu**ing around and putting crap off until tomorrow or for another time is over.

I’ve never worried or concerned myself with mortality; I guess what bothers me more than anything is the idea of living my ’60s like I did my previous decade. I mean, at some point you have to grow up, right? Never being much of a hoarder of material things to begin with, I find myself wanting to donate or toss out stuff I’ve kept around for so long: music, books, and the like, and surround myself with only the barest of essentials. While I’m keeping my Roman Catholic / Anglican connections, organized religion seems very unimportant to me right now; seeing God in all things Creation is just as sacramental to me.

And maybe that’s why I, besides my mom’s passing, I’m really not interested in Christmas this year. All the ways I’ve celebrated it in the past, from the music, the movies, the church, and the traditions, all seem rather pointless, exercises in repetitiveness purely for the sake of carrying on a tradition whose impact doesn’t go far beyond our house walls. Maybe if we had kids or grandchildren it would be different, but it’s just me and Tracey and Tam and the rabbits, so who the hell cares? All the living trust stuff we’ve been doing has gotten me thinking about possessions and handing them down to another generation, but guess what: I really don’t have much of anything of value or anything anyone would really want.

So that’s my mindset going into the end of the year. Sounds kind of depressing, I guess, but that’s my way of thinking. A successful day at work, a good workout at the gym, some good Mexican food, enjoying a breezy night on the patio, some good George Harrison or Caribbean music, a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio – that’s all good enough for me. The days are really short right now – I’m waking up for my 7 AM calls in the dark – and the year has been so bad that maybe getting all this stuff done and out of the way is my way of getting rid of this year and all the stuff that needed to get done during it out of the way in order to start 2017 with a clean slate.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:13 | Comments (4)
4 Comments »
  1. I know what you mean. Every thing that happens in my life was always dutifully reported to my dear sister the very next day. And tho’ I say “goodnight and I love you and miss you” to her every night before I say my prayers, life just isn’t the same without her. The tears are flowing freely as I write this and I can’t help it – this hurt will never go away. Love you, Auntie Marge

    Comment by Auntie Marge — December 15, 2016 @ 8:43 am


  2. Going through some similar things related to finances. Still have a few years left to pay off kids tuitions. Need to be fiscally smart. But also don’t want to live like a monk. Have to enjoy the journey now as well!

    Hopefully the GB Invitational will still be part of your “must do” list. Good friends are priceless & not something to be saved for some perhaps some future time. Wouldn’t be the same without TGWS. Be well my friend!

    Comment by Goose — December 15, 2016 @ 10:59 am


  3. Well then, I shall wish you both a Happy Yule. Christmas for me is time with family and the joy of the little ones. Making traditional Latvian goodies and time with good friends. I got a new car this year, Chevy Equinox LTZ. The Infotainment system has a 93 page manual. I love it. All wheel drive, V6, tip shift and more buttons than I know what do with…AND heated seats as today is 17 degrees. I miss making Christmas morning brunch for you all. That was always fun for me. I would love to have you come back for a visit and maybe one day I can make it out there. You both are still so special to me. Love and blessings.

    Comment by Jana — December 15, 2016 @ 5:54 pm


  4. To Auntie: my heart aches and breaks for you. Actually, for both of us. I only knew her for a better part of 60 years, and as a son, but she was, and still is, my hero. She was everything I ever aspired to but could never be.

    To Goose: Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry I folded like a cheap bridge table at last year’s Goodboys – it was too soon after my Mom’s passing and I wasn’t up to the weekend. I embarrassed myself and I’m sorry for that. To be honest, I’m not sure if I will even pick up the clubs again. There’s something inside of me that resists even opening up the shipping box with my clubs.

    To Jana: Tracey and I cherish your friendship and all the memories of Louisville. It’s strange that I hated being there at the time but look back on those years and our friendship with you fondly!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 17, 2016 @ 2:55 am


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