Rolling back the years (a PineSol moment)

A few days ago, my wife Jan reminded me that I had once taken up drawing. Pretty antithetical for someone who has always clung to the written word. However, I had recently run across my old “drawing stuff”. I had a pencil case full of drawing pencils and a couple of pads of charcoal drawing paper (one of which I am now no longer able to find).

Yes, I had been a drawer at one time–not to bad at it if I do say so myself. Whatever happened to all the talent, or at least ambition? Whatever happened to that charcoal drawing pad that contained my first few creations?

I did something (else) today that is sort of out of character for me. I love to wash floors. Well, perhaps “love” is a rather exuberant word. I do it because I have to. Usually I use an old-time cleaner on the floors called PineSol. It has a rambunctious odor that is truly piney and makes it smell as though you really washed the floor (even if all you did was give it a quick swish–which is sometimes all I ever really do).

Today, however, I used Simple Green. I used to be a staple, and I found the remainders of a jug underneath the stairs at our place, where we keep the cleaning supplies. I used to really love this stuff. Like I said, it was a staple.

Well, the first thing I noticed was the PJ, our elderly chihuahua didn’t freak out when I mopped with Simple Green, the way he does with PineSol. Instead, while I was mopping the floor in the kitchen, he curled up and went to sleep. The second thing I noticed was that I wasn’t as anxious while I was mopping either! Is Simple Green the secret sauceI?

Let me say at this point, the manufactures of Simply Green are not paying me, nor is there any sort of nefarious motivation on my part to promote this particular cleaning solution. In fact, PineSol is the one cue that Jan has when she walks in the door that I’ve actually done something! My mom used PineSol, her mom used PineSol. It’s sort of a family tradition. No one when I was growing up had ever heard of Simple Green. In fact, the raison d’être for a green cleaning solution (pollution, saving the planet) wasn’t even on anyone’s horizon!

So, where am I going with this?

Things change. Sometimes in ways that we can’t even imagine. Things, like cleaning liquids, can take on a life of their own. They can take on new meaning, despite our decidedly turning the other way. Simple Green is the new PineSol! Who woulda thunk?

How many things in your life have, like Simple Green, become a part of your life? How many things that once had no meaning (literally) now become filled with meaning, even if only when you are looking closely?

This moment has been brought to you by PineSol. What was that again?

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All about growing up

In the interests of full disclosure, what you are about to read is NOT my typical blog post. I’ve been thinking CAREFULLY about whether or not to renew my WordPress account for another year, and this this is (partly) the result of that thought process.

This started out to be a pretty regular blog post. First it was one topic, then another. Pretty much like I always do. Then I thought, “What if I do something a little different this time? What if instead of just sitting down and ‘firing away’ I plan ahead a little and really write something with the intention that someone might actually want to read it?” What? Planning ahead? What a concept!

So, after considering this post (and this whole blog) I decided to plan what I’m going to write. Here goes!

Once upon a time, in Federal Way Washington, a retired mental health nurse/EMR consultant/real estate guy sat down to plan the rest of his life. High on the agenda was something called “career plans”. Something really different–brand new really–because never before in my life had I really planned any sort of career. For example, my nursing career (awfully tempted to put this in quotes as “nursing career”) was never really planned. It just sort of dropped into my lap. As did my “real estate career”. One day, I was at a dead end in what I was doing in the piano business, and real estate was there. I few easy courses, and I was licensed as a realtor in British Columbian city of Surrey. This has pretty much been the story of any career I have ever entered (and subsequently left).

So here I am. I know an awful lot of stuff. Stopping learning stuff has been an experience, an eye opener, a discipline! To just stop and say, “Enough of the life-long learning already!” You know enough, now do something–anything!

Back when I was a kid (okay, not all that long ago), I thought I wanted to be a psychologist. Not a clinical psychologist (I really didn’t want to fix things!), not a counselor. I really don’t have anything–or didn’t at the time anyway–have anything anyone could benefit from! I just wanted to study how people thought, how they gave flight to their ideas. I wanted to know, so I could let others know.

Instead, I let my career lead me. First through a rather long sojourn through the music business. First thinking I wanted to be a performer (I wasn’t good enough, or dedicated enough to become good); then a salesman/business man (I wasn’t smart enough or fast enough or competitive enough to make it in “business”); then a piano technician (not good enough or dedicated enough or smart enough or fast enough or competitive enough). Eventually, after long enough in the music business, I decided (God knows how) to follow in the family footsteps and I became a nurse.

I was a nurse for about 25 years. I worked mainly in hospitals, in home health, and finally at the insistence of one of my university professors (I went from diploma to degree) I became a technician (again) working in the newly established field of healthcare information technology.

Somewhere in there, I found time for a fledgling career in real estate. Enough said about that.

Here I am at 66 years old, wondering what did I really want to do when I grew up?

I am now looking at retirement as being my second (or third) career. Maybe this time I’ll get it right.

A mentor, blogging master and friend (?), Brian Feutz, puts it this way in his blog, The Life After Work Zone, “practicing retirement is a crazy, yet brilliant, idea. Just a few moments a day (practicing) will guarantee an outstanding retirement.”

I’m ready to try it. I wish I would have had this idea earlier in my working life.

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