Dan and One Thing He’s Accomplished Since March 2020 – KGUA radio #26

For the November 23, 2020 KGUA radio Monday Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to free write about one thing we’ve accomplished since March 2020 in 200 words or less.  

I hope that this doesn’t come off as smug, but what I’ve accomplished during the last eight months is to accept my life as it is.  During the Covid-19 pandemic I have been merely inconvenienced, not devastated as has been the case for so many around the world.

It’s no false humility, just trying to keep it real, and acknowledge the advantages that Hannah and I have.  Among them are: being healthy, retired, having ample resources, believing in science, white, college-educated, and especially having each other.

I acknowledge that’s quite a septet of advantages going into the pandemic.  It’s my variation of white privilege.  There were no bootstraps that got me where I am today.  I didn’t hit a double; I was born on second base.

To maintain this reality during this crises, I wash my hands, wear a mask, socially distance, and avoid gathering indoors.  I’ll take the vaccine once Dr. Fauci gives me his personal go ahead.

I recognize my plentiful breaks in life.  The question becomes, how will I share my abundance with others?

Words – 182

Dan and His Advice to His Younger Self – KGUA radio #25

For the November 9, 2020 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to free write some advice that we would give to our younger self. 

Advice for My Younger Self

Son, sit yourself down.  It’s time you and I had a little talk.  You know, I notice you seem to be afraid of even your own shadow.

I look down to the ground, I know he’s right.

My young man, it’s courage that you need. 

But old man, how do I develop that courage?

Ah, lad, it’s time you learn to speak up.

You may not believe this, but you are going to age well and love a game called pickleball; it’s like tennis but with wiffle balls.

You’re messing with me, right?

No, younger self, it’s true.  You are going to love it.  But there will be issues.

Issues? you say.

One, you’ll be playing with younger players with uncontrolled testosterone that will blast wicked shots at your head or family jewels.  That’s not right.  Speak up and address the issue directly.

Two, you’ll get pretty good, such that when you play doubles pickleball, your opponents will hit away from you and play to your less skilled partner all the time.  You’ll feel like a potted plant and wonder why the hell you are out there at all.  Do not despair.  Speak up and work with your opponents to come up with a solution.

And damn, you’ll just feel so good.  And here’s the kicker, most people will respect you because you spoke up.  Do not delay, start now, my young friend.

Words – 234

Dan and a New Place Discovered During the Pandemic – KGUA radio #24

For the November 2, 2020 KGUA radio Monday Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to free write about a new place that we have discovered locally since our travels have been restricted during the pandemic.   

A local foray

With the coming of the Maine winter, the pandemic has indeed limited our travels.  There’s no September overnight to Acadia National Park for Hannah and me.  No foray to Georgia for fall pickleball.  But it takes Google to take me on a local trip.  Let me explain.

Apple iPhone 8

Wanting to put my iPhone video of our Frog Wall (it’s a collection of frogs on our front yard stone wall) on YouTube, I find I can’t log in.  Google wants my password.  I guess a few passwords and come up empty.  So I accept their suggestion of “bibre3-zUkvgs-hitjuv.”  Really!  Who remembers such gobbledygook?

Going back to YouTube, I see it wants my new password which I didn’t write down.  So, I am locked out of my Gmail account.  I can’t share my video.  I can’t get email.  And I am lost.  I know, first world problem.

And this is where my local trip begins.

Instead of going down the rabbit hole of worst case scenario, I go upstairs and travel to the quiet of my mind.  A few breaths in and out and I just relax. 

Thirty minutes later I return from my short trip to Zen Land to find instructions on my phone to go to my Settings app, which I had overlooked.  In minutes, I change my password to something intelligible.  Voila!  My video lives.

Just rolling down the road to the quiet my mind.

Words – 233

A little mirth for this day before the 2020 presidential election

Click here for the 80 second Frog Wall video.

Dan and His Loss – KGUA radio #23

For the October 19, 2020 KGUA radio Monday Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to free write about a loss we have experienced since the pandemic rocked our worlds in March 2020.   

My temporary loss

Here in our small town on the coast of Maine, I don’t know anyone who has got the coronavirus or died from it.  There have certainly been cases and deaths in Maine, but Covid-19 hasn’t touched me directly.

What has touched me, literally, is the lack of hugging in my life.  Though shy and reluctant to hug as a young adult, I now embrace hugging.  You see what I did there! 

Anyway, our sister-in-law Becky taught us how to really hug.  She gives full body squeezes every time we meet.  Her hugs aren’t just some perfunctory, obligatory double pats on the back.  They are real.

I’ve tried elbow bumps, which are laughable.  Fist bumps are fine for the guys and our grandsons but not many others.

Since Hannah and I are connected to Unity of Santa Barbara with its Buddhist tendencies, I began placing my hands together in front of my chest and saying “Namaste.”

That worked for a while until I read of someone patting their heart twice while making eye contact with another. 

You are in my heart.  That feels about right until my hugging days return.

Words – 187

Dan has some Encouragement for you – KGUA radio #22

For the October 12, 2020 KGUA radio Monday Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to free write words of encouragement in these challenging times.   

Dan and the Stoics

The Stoics of Ancient Rome need better PR.  Their philosophy is mistakenly thought to be about being impassive and unemotional.  That couldn’t be further fron the truth.  The Stoics are our guys to comfort and support us with practical suggestions on living well.

I’m no Stoic scholar, but my understanding is that the Stoics’ philosophy includes two key points for our lives.  One, focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.  Two, how you look at a situation is the key to happiness and satisfaction.

Ergo, you can control your response to a situation like a loss of a relationship or not reaching a goal you have set.  You can look at a new situation as an opportunity not an obstacle.

So, today, I have some 2020 Stoic philosophy for your comfort and support. 

I don’t have to do something, I get to do it

I don’t have to be bummed about the restrictions in my life because of Covid-19; I get to see them as challenges to deal with. The obstacle is the way.

These restrictions are going to be with us for a while.  How we deal with them can make all the difference.

That simple idea turned my life 180 degrees to the good.

Words – 210

Another variation on the theme