Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Future Is Upon Us!

Let no day end before you have spoken words of love, friendship and thanks. A quote from that prolific philosopher – Anonymous

This quotation is on my perpetual calendar for today's date. The calendar was a gift from my long-time, dear friend, Barbara Glanz. Barbara is known for “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm” - which, coincidentally, is the title of her calendar.

And the photo for November in my 2020 Nelson Marlborough (New Zealand) calendar from another of my long-time, dear friends, Brian Morris, is a photo of a beautiful marina in Picton Harbour, Queen Charlotte Sound, in Picton, New Zealand. Picton is where my “brother from another mother,” (as I describe him) Brian lives. If things were different and better than the current world conditions and my medical condition, I'd be preparing to depart for a long-anticipated trip to New Zealand in about two weeks. Sadly, that trip has had to be moved to the back-burner until some unknown date in the future.

So, it's Sunday, November 29, 2020. It's three and a half months since my last post on the blog. Actually, the last post was on the one-year anniversary of me being stricken by the near-fatal case of gastric-esophageal cancer. Last year, around this time, I had been very prolific actually posting what could be considered a diary of my experiences during my diagnosis, chemotherapy and radiation treatments and then some of the recovery period leading up to my surgery on January 3, 2020. Since that time I've only posted a few times and each time I indicated that I was going to begin writing regular articles for the blog, again. Obviously, I haven't kept that promise to myself or you.

So, before I go any further, let me say thank you for your readership and interest, I appreciate your friendship (even though I have never met most of the readers of my writings) and I love you for who you are and for indulging me through my writing. So, that fulfills the commendation of today's quotation.

The Future Is Upon Us!

The last 16 months of my life, without any hesitation, has been, for want of a better description, flat out horrible. I have experienced:

1. The worst medical crisis (nearly fatal) of my entire life.

2. The worst and most divisive and nasty political election season of my entire life.

3. The worst protesting, rioting, lawlessness, destruction and hate-filled year of my entire life.

4. The worst pandemic of my entire life.

5. The only time in my entire life I've had a direct “attack” on my privacy through the American Patriot Act.

6. While not the worst incident with the Internal Revenue Service, still one with no basis since I owed no taxes.

7. Some challenges with My McVansion, my mobile van habitat, even though it's not been able to take me on any of my normal nomadic travels.

8. Probably the least professionally and financially productive period of my entire adult lifetime

9. Probably the physically weakest and lowest energy period of my entire lifetime.

10. The longest period of brain fog and challenged thought processing in my entire lifetime.

In general, for me at least, it's been possibly the lowest year of my 75¾ years on this planet. Now, that doesn't mean I haven't had other low periods during my lifetime. I can make a long list of events and periods that were certainly negative times. And, the reality is that life is not, has never been and will never be fair. I accepted that reality long ago. We all have to experience, endure and emerge from these life challenges. Most of us do. Most of us emerge stronger and more capable.

And, I'm able to say, as I'm writing this article, that I am overcoming this current list of challenges. However, my point is that I've never experienced this long a list of life challenges that impacts my life physically, medically, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally and financially all at one time.

Personally, I have a lot to overcome from the last half of 2019 and all of 2020 as indicated by my list. Some of them will require a lot of recovery and changes in my thinking and philosophies. But, I can say this for certain. I am not the same person I was philosophically, intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, physically and financially prior to August 18th, 2019. I have so much I want to write about and express my thoughts, opinions and philosophies on. I'm hopeful that 2021 is going to be a better year. However, as we rapidly approach the new year, my optimism is guarded.

I believe that you, reading this blog, have been undergoing your own challenges and changes. I am not writing for you to believe I'm a guru and have the answers and solutions to your challenges. Mainly, I have lots of questions and a bunch of opinions that change daily in many cases. It's my hope that as I write and express the changes I'm experiencing that, perhaps, you might find some directions or answers to your own questions.

I have a long list of subjects I'm going to write about as the future unfolds. I've been contemplating what I want to say. In some cases, some of my upcoming blog posts may actually be edited versions of emails I've sent to friends who brought up subjects that I felt I wanted to address. My mind has been getting clearer and I feel I need to get things out on the table and, perhaps, present some useful views.

Politics and Protests

Of course, the election, the protests and rioting and similar external events only impact any of us as much as we allow them to. I've experienced protests and rioting several times during my lifetime. I was physically only in the midst of one such event one time and that was 50 years ago. I was not a participant, but was sort of in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fortunately, there were no repercussions for me from that event.

As far as politics, I basically proclaim myself as apolitical. I'm sure I'll be castigated by many for saying this. I do my level best to remain distanced and neutral regarding government and its role in our lives and society. And, while I don't like to be labeled, I guess I consider myself, as Robert Ringer defines, author of the two editions of Restoring the American Dream, something of a libertarian-centered conservative.

Frankly, I had direct contact with the federal government for several years during my U.S. Air Force service (Vietnam era) and my early business years – when I was stationed in Washington, DC and had my business there for several years after my Air Force service was complete. I developed a disdain for the U.S. government, virtually all elected government politicians and for government agencies by the time I left the Washington, DC market in 1977. In my opinion, “The Swamp” is a righteous description of that small land area dedicated to running our lives. It's only gotten worse since 1977.

And, while I don't have a lot of liking for government employees in general, there are, of course, many who work very hard and are very competent. Certainly, they have served me well in numerous situations. Unfortunately, they are hampered by the system they operate under.

As far as the protests and riots are concerned, I, like many, feel they are politically motivated and supported. Once again, I have little direct contact them and I avoid any need to go where people are participating in such activities. I do not have any issue with people exercising their freedom of speech (although that right has been diminishing exponentially over the last couple of decades).

Having a gathering of like-minded individuals to express their ideas, thoughts, feelings and opinions in a peaceful manner is fine. That is, as long as they do so without infringing on the rights of other members of society who choose not to join a protest and/or may not necessarily agree with the views of the demonstrators.

However, when groups start blocking public streets, highways, sidewalks and passages, intimidating individuals who must pass through areas where demonstrations are taking place, damaging property including cars, harassing and assaulting people who choose not to join the demonstrators or do not support their views, that becomes lawlessness and anarchy. That is infringing on the rights of others. That I don't condone nor, in any way, support.

So, these two items on my list are more intellectual and emotional for me. The news (regardless of the network or medium) blankets us with 24/7/365 coverage of these topics. There is hatred. There is name-calling. There are people's lives being slandered, libeled and dragged through the mud. There are people, who certainly didn't deserve to be treated the way they were (especially when death or long-term disability may result) and, without question, these issues need to be investigated and appropriate justice served IF it's proven that some wrong-doing occurred.

I do not condone turning people who, in many cases, have proven records of anti-social behavior into martyrs regardless of their skin color, religion, ethnic background, gender, sexual preferences, age, etc. The system is broken and needs to be fixed. But, between the politics and the protests – and destruction and physical harm to innocent people and property – it's very distressing and impacting millions of people very negatively. It's at the very foundation of divisiveness and is destroying our country. People no longer feel safe to venture into many locations or to express their opinions of feelings.

What's Next For Me?

The two topics I just touched on, politics and protests, are much more expansive than the small amount I've touched on. I'll revisit these more as I'm so inclined.

Meanwhile, this time of medical treatment, rehabilitation and recovery has allowed me a considerable amount of time to introspectively examine my life. I've probably written and rewritten my memoir in my head several times. I've been exploring ways to put my 57 years of experience in audio and video recording and production and about 12 years of book publishing experience to work in ways to give back to the world for all these years I've enjoyed in my chosen professions. I'm working on the outlines for three books. I have several more books inside me besides these three, however, three is a huge undertaking for me. I also have a couple other projects involving audio and video. My son, a 25 year veteran of professional website design and development is working with me in getting one of these projects online very soon.

I'm also contemplating my future medically. There are psychological, emotional, philosophical and financial aspects of this area of my life to deal with. While, at the time of composing this article, I'm still under surveillance by my medical team, there are no guarantees. I continue to tell everyone I'm still on my 44¼ year plan, however, that's my agenda. Life may have other plans for me. My last CT scans indicated that I was cancer-free. My doctors have indicated that I'm doing extremely well. Posts I've read on an online cancer support group for my specific kinds of cancer give me the impression that, perhaps, I'm a walking miracle compared to how so many others are doing.

But, this can all change in a blink of an eye. I am having a new set of CT scans done in two days from when I'm writing this. Needless to say, I'm hoping for another positive report indicating I'm still moving up the ladder to a longer life. But, I'm always apprehensive at this time as I approach the tests.

I'm still adjusting to the modifications made to my internal anatomy during the surgery I underwent at the beginning of January. I can no longer consume the amounts of food and liquids I could before this began. The processing of food and liquid is new. To some degree, my entire daily routines are different and, have yet to settle into a pattern. Of course, the big question is how close will I ever return to who I was before this medical event?

Will I be able to travel and explore the country (and, perhaps, other parts of the world) as an over-the-road, long-range, nomadic trekker, again? Will I only be able to travel short distances for short durations? Will I have to resign myself to finding a permanent, fixed residential setting to settle into? Will I eventually overcome the fatigue factor I'm still experiencing and regain a nominal energy level and a reasonable amount of physical strength? Will I regain my normal regularity with regard to my human functions or will I finally settle into some new normal?

There are other questions I have to deal with and face down. As I said earlier, my entire life changed as of August 18th, 2019. Is it for the better? Is it for the worse? How long will I now survive (regardless of my 44¼ year plan)? Will I make the five-year mark? Do I realistically have another 10, 15 or even 20 years ahead of me? All of these are too soon to know the answer to. And, of course, most of us don't know the answer to the longevity question. That's always Que Sera Sera. Besides, who really wants to know the answer to that question?

Of course, I will continue to follow my mantra of living free and being happy. I still believe finding those paths for each life is the only meaningful purpose for each person on Earth. One of my books is all about how to live free in an unfree world. I hope it will open a lot of minds and hearts when I get it done. In the next posts, you'll learn about my challenges and how I have handled and overcome the other items on my list at the beginning of the article.

Please, send me your comments. Let me know what is on your mind. Let me know what challenges you're dealing with and working toward overcoming. I also need to build the reader base up on my blog, so if you will, please share my blog with others. I know there are thousands and thousands of people who have questions like you and me. Perhaps, they'll find answers or at least some directions they can explore to solve their challenges in life. We've heard this so many times lately with reference to the Covid-19 pandemic – but, we will get through this together. Until next time . . .

Life free and be happy, EH.


Lorraine Frantz Edwards said...

Ed, I am crying after reading every word of your message. It is so expressive of my feelings (and I don't have health problems). I'm crying because I could "feel" your intensity as you expressed your thoughts and opinion--so eloquently written. I was so delighted to see your email message. I've thought of you and almost sent an email asking "How's Ed?" ~~ Sending best wishes from Lorraine (a friend of Jimmie).

Humpy57 said...

Great to hear from you Ed. Your such an inspiration to so many. It's so true when we think we have it tough, someone else has it tougher. Sometimes it's just a matter of perspective. Take Care my friend

kinnb said...

Ed--fantastic expression, although I wish you weren't undergoing all of this. I had to give up my pursuit of vanning many years ago, until hopefully they come out with new treatments for my chronic illness flavors. it's all a YUGE adjustment and constant re-evaluation, so I feel you. looking forward to more posts and the books! :D


Richard Rosen said...

Thank you for sharing your perspective on things personal and societal derived from your many decades of experience and reflective thinking about events in your life and the world.

I would say that those who read your blog have a unity of spirit. I mean by that, that we have a common purpose: to be all that we are capable of becoming, and to do so in loving and uplifting service to others.