My old address included being on the water. I’d often sit and marvel at the waves and other simple lakeside activity. Now, with my move to a wonderful new home on property surrounded by forest acreage, the fascination with water is replaced by enchantment of the trees. I’m surrounded by deciduous and coniferous evergreens, and as I sit and watch the leaves of deciduous trees turning colours in this marvelous fall season, the conifers remain green, all year, but are still marvellous to watch.
What a joy… and how lucky I am.
I’ve never been a huge TV series watcher. And yet, “Frasier” always grabbed me as a funny, well-written and enjoyable show to watch.
So, I’m intrigued by the re-booting of this series, a couple of decades after the original shut down. And I’m even more keen when I realize James Burrows is directing the first couple of episodes. Burrows, you may know, co-created “Cheers” and has helmed more than 1,000 TV episodes. The guy’s a legend. A hero.
Now, imagine my surprise when James Burrows, asked at age 83 if there is anything left he wants to accomplish, responds with this: “I want to be able to laugh. Genuine laughter is so important. I believe the old Norman Cousins thing: when he had a bad disease, he put on Marx Brothers movies and W.C. Fields movies and laughed his head off and lived a lot longer. That’s what I want to do. I’ve had a great career, I’ve been rewarded, I love the people I work with, I still have wonderful friends, and a laugh every so often will keep me happy.”
Wow! How cool is that. A laugh keeps the legendary James Burrows happy. Gotta tell you how happy that makes me!!
Remind me never to move again! Don’t know which is more demanding: actually packing everything up for the move or unpacking everything and getting it stowed away!
Anyway, the good news is: the process is almost done.
Meanwhile, a friend popped in yesterday to check out the new digs and stated, “You’re so clever having the master bedroom on the main floor.”
Now, I don’t want to shy from being called “clever”, but this was none of my doing. Where I lived before, the bedrooms were upstairs, and this presented no problem for me (or my dog). Now, having bedrooms on the same floor as the living room and kitchen, etc. means… well, I guess it means no climbing stairs. But then, I didn’t have a challenge with climbing those stairs in the first place, and certainly didn’t buy the new pad because of where the rooms are located.
Seems to me this is part of that predilection too many people have of “saving” their strength as they age. Reminds me of moving back in 2017, and someone asked me how far I was located from the hospital at my new address. “Gosh,” I responded, “I never checked. Don’t even know if there is a hospital here.”
Turns out there was. But I have to tell you, it’s not the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night. I’m a “when your number’s up, your number’s up” kinda guy. And while some may find that too relaxed, I just can’t live my life worrying about what may happen.
With all the craziness going on in U.S. politics, I’m disappointed we’re seeing the worst kind of ageism being displayed in conversations about whether Joe Biden should run for a second term. Too many people are buying into the olde self-fulfilling-prophecy of believing aging must bring with it declining health and/or frailty. Sure, that may be the way, but it sure doesn’t have to be the way. Increasingly, we are learning (if you care to check) that aging creates a positive outlook and contributes to wellness. Aging also brings a greater capacity for compassion, empathy, self-reflection and greater control over emotions. Now, aren’t those qualities you’d like to see in a President of the U.S.?
I am of an age that thinking about the 1950s brings memories. And certainly one of them, perhaps engrained in my psyche a little more indelibly because of my great uncle Philip Garratt, A.F.C., C.M., being head of the de Haviland Aircraft Company, is about an airplane: the AVRO Arrow.
You know, for some of us, it seemed tough growing up back in the 1950s, next to the mighty U.S.A. But suddenly, we Canucks had the authoritative Avro Arrow to boast about. Omygosh! What an impressive delta-winged interceptor airplane it was! I mean, here we had our symbol of Canada's high-tech future in aircraft manufacturing!
But then, that old “fuddy duddy” Prime Minister John Diefenbaker went and scrapped the whole thing! Just like that, it was over. And the rumour mill started flourishing immediately. Many believed Washington didn’t want an interloper such as Canada stealing their grandeur so they deliberately manipulated the intelligence given to Ottawa in order to influence Diefenbaker to give the Arrow the kibosh. There were other hints of “intelligence” too.
However, a new research paper reveals the decision to scrap the fabled Avro Arrow was significantly influenced by Canadian information gathering. Seems our bright stars pointed out a reduced need for the Arrow in the evolving Cold War with the USSR because the Soviets was shifting away from manned bombers to long-range ballistic missiles, suggesting that interceptors like the Arrow would increasingly play a smaller role.
“The paper makes the case that these strategic intelligence assessments — long the ‘missing dimension’ in the debate over the Arrow's demise — now allow for a fuller understanding of an important episode in Canadian history,” says a media outlet. “It can be concluded that the Canadian intelligence assessment of the changing Soviet bomber threat to North America was an important factor in the fateful decision to cancel the Arrow."
So, it wasn’t the U.S. steering us Canucks away from our own high-tech future after all. We did it to ourselves… supported by research, of course.
Almost feels like an anti-climax.
But I suppose we can be proud that it was Canadian intelligence that cast doubt on the extent of the Soviet threat.
I just read an alarming stat. It reveals that suicides in the U.S. have reached a new high. Yet, at the same time, a recent study confirms that happy people tend to perceive risks more that the average person might feel. Indeed, happy folks appear to be more open to new experiences, and are more optimistic about this (optimism being associated with living a longer, healthier life).
All of which dovetails with findings from my newest books, “Pushing The Boundaries! How To Get More Out Of Life” (pushingtheboundaries.life) and “Being Happy Matters” (beinghappymatters.life).
What I’ve learned is that happiness can be part of well-being. When you’re happy, this adds a sense of satisfaction and control over your life, all of which increases your ability to enjoy relationships. In fact, the study suggests there are certain actions you can take to cultivate this feeling:
-Recall positive memories
-Reach out to loved ones
-Seek out novel experiences
I’ve written previously in this blog about that first one: Practice gratitude. It’s a lesson I learned from a friend who encouraged me to start each day by offering an appreciation for something positive in my life. I do. It works.
The second seems like a no-brainer: recalling positive times just has to kindle happiness.
Reaching out to loved ones is something we don’t do enough. Or I don’t, anyway.
Seek out novel experiences. Now, that’s not an activity that leapt to mind when I considered ways of sustaining happiness. And yet, as I look back at my life and career, I realize I’ve done just that, many times. And it upped the excitement meter, which added to happiness in my life. So I do see the purpose.
We live in very demanding times. With the rise in suicides, seeking ways to latch onto happiness seems to me to be so very timely. It’s something I intend to keep doing. And I hope you do too.
Life has a funny way of catching up on you. For instance, it’s just occurred to me that in moving later this month to a fabulous new property (one that’s in a striking wilderness enclave with a grand home set amid trees, birds, butterflies, bunnies, a pool, a stream and marvelous landscaped flower gardens), it will be the first time in a long while where I won’t be living on the water. And that’s just fine with me.
You see, what I realize now is that the need for having a watery necessity just isn’t there anymore. Back when I toiled in the big smoke, I always had the cottage to retreat to, the water existing as a calming requirement in my life. But that was a life too often built on the pressures and tension of living in a urban community when I didn’t want to, and running an enterprise that fed many mouths, where the pressures that accompanied this could become somewhat overwhelming.
Those days and those pressures are long gone. So too is the need to get away from it all. And while I’ve had my fun with boats over the years, I’m ready to put that aside too, in favour of the other neat activities I’m adopting off the water.
I’ve never been happier and more relaxed. And I look forward to writing the next exciting chapters in my evolving life.
When Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson starred in the movie “The Bucket List” back in 2007, I doubt they realized how their buddy comedy would lead to the title phrase becoming a standard in the English language lexicon. But so it is… and so was touring Alaska a part of my own bucket list: something I truly wanted to do before exiting this life. I’m fortunate that my lovely travelling companion shared this desire, so we recently set off on a magical cruise of the Alaskan ”inner passage”. For the better part of two weeks, politics, climate, war, etc. took a back seat to the marvelous wonders of seeing humpback and killer whales, bald eagles, salmon, porpoises, dolphins, bears and deer in places like Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, etc. where the native culture abounds. The world could have come to an end elsewhere and we would have been none the wiser.
It all serves to remind me that “getting away” is well worth while!!
When I was writing “Being Happy Matters”, I compiled some key activities that I believe can expand happiness in our lives. One that stood out to me was this:
Hang out with happy people: it's contagious; absorb their habits to become happier.
That’s a practice I’ve been taking on for some time now since discovering that negative people in your life can bring you down. And, frankly, life’s too short.
An example? Sure. There’s a former friend of mine who turned out to be not a friend at all. I’m a pretty accepting guy but I came to realize this character’s a self-serving, negative, liar and misanthrope. How sad that he decided to throw me under the bus to protect his own reputation, telling bald faced lies about me while complaining to a real friend of mine that I didn’t know how to live life. Well, he’s wrong. Dead wrong. But the point is, I don’t need his silly nonsense in my life. So I haven’t talked to him in a year. And you know what: I don’t miss the schmuck at all. He can live his sad little life on his own, likely believing his own brand of claptrap, while those of us who are smart know what a loser he is. (My friend John, who he complained to, said, “This guy’s full of it! What’s sad is that he’s the only one who doesn’t know it.” And George, my real estate agent and also a friend, said this same clown has tried to pry details out of him about how much I sold my house for: “This guy’s a wing nut! You can tell from the sound of his voice! Why would I give him any information!?”) As they say about lowlifes, it is to laugh.
Anyway, at the end of the day, when you consider the value of hanging out with happy people, you may want to recall that it’s important to divorce yourself from unhappy people first. You’ll be better off for it.
As if we don’t have enough to worry about, the hoi polloi are getting all upset about Bradley Cooper’s nose.
Seems Brad, in his new movie “Maestro”, is acting the role of famed musician Leonard Bernstein. Now, Lenny had a big nose, so Brad had the makeup folks assemble a proboscis for him to wear on camera. Some folks think it’s too big. And that’s fine: everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But where I lose patience is when Cooper is branded as being anti-Semitic, sticking a “Jew nose on his face”. C’mon people: we’re talking a makeup issue, not a religious comment! Even Bernstein’s children have laughed this off: “We’re perfectly fine with it. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well.” They also refer to “disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch – a practice we observed perpetrated all too often on our father.”
But it doesn’t stop there, because this opens up the question of casting when it comes to certain groups. Specifically, we’re talking about those folks who think that film roles must be played by representatives of the community being portrayed. You know, because we don’t count acting as any kind of talent. Tom Hanks should not have played the lead in “Philadelphia”: some gay actor should have done so. Why is Dame Helen Mirren playing Golda Meir? She’s not Jewish (notwithstanding the fact that Ms. Meir's grandson applauds her acting). And Jeffrey Tambor shouldn’t play a transgendered character: a transgendered actor should. That kind of thing.
Hey folks: we’re talking acting! Not showboating. In my opinion, this casting issue is as disingenuous as the argument about Cooper’s anti-Semitic nose. I mean, Sir Laurence Olivier should never have played Hamlet because he was English, not Danish, right? And Judi Dench isn’t Scottish: why the hell did she play Lady McBeth?
This world has real issues to deal with, like the climate, war, political unrest, etc. Let’s give this movie nonsense a rest and focus on what really matters.