Sunday, October 11, 2020

Life Is About Progress, Not Perfection

I seem to be interested in the questions of how to grow old as painlessly as possible these days. We live at a time when popular culture despises age and celebrates youth. That was all well and fine when I was young and used to time my runs. It's not so great now that I have some snow on the roof and clay on my boots. Inevitably, if we are lucky, we get to grow old. There is a celebration in that sentiment, an idea that people who live to a certain maturity have been through the storms of life and have come out the other side to some peaceful piece of water.

   If there was a thing I could offer by way of advice to younger people it is this: Be easy on your body and avoid bad habits. Oh, I have mine, no doubt. I use tobacco quite a bit and I wish I never got into it, but I did. To be fair, tobacco use was very common when I was a kid. Of course, I grew older and should have grown wiser but that is not always the case with everyone. 

   Perhaps the thing I learned best over the years was to maintain good, close relationships with family and friends. To have a good support system is no small thing. No man or woman is an island. I would offer that, to some extent, growing older is a team sport. It's about supporting people in your life and receiving support from them when it is needed. 

   At different points of my life so far, I have been a church-going person. But, for years, I held grudges and made it a practice to have unkind thoughts about others. And, it wasn't that hard to goad me into an argument. Sure I have come across some jerks, we all have. Then again, I was the jerk more than a few times. What do I do different? Well, I have forgiven those who I needed to forgive and have asked forgiveness from the people I needed to ask. I do not make new grudges either and make an effort not to think badly of others. This may sound a little unrealistic but if you practice at it then you get better at not keeping negative emotions. Oh, no one is perfect. My Mom used to say there was only one perfect person in this world and he was crucified on account of it. 

   How we choose to wear this world, loosely and light or heavy and burdened is up to each of us. This goes back to one's individual health. People try to lose weight to help their health, they give up smoking or drinking, maybe they take up walking or working out. Yet, setting aside one's grudges and negative attitudes does improve one's health.

   The first 40 years of my life I made many more mistakes than I make now. Oh, boy, did I make mistakes. And, I still make some good-sized blunders. The difference now, I guess, is that I am trying to make progress, knowing that perfection alludes us all. 

-- Jim Purcell

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Chronicles will not be a YouTube show for now

 I have been struggling for a short while with the idea of creating a YouTube show for The Purcell Chronicles. I was tempted because I like doing media and applying myself to something constructive. However, after I wrote the first script I paused. 

   I was a print journalist back in New Jersey for several years. I really liked the work and it was never boring. As a journalist who was frequently in print I had to give up something I really missed -- my privacy. Thanks to my editorial opinion, lots of people did not like me to the point where my mailbox was busted in, my car tires slashed, people sometimes said unkind things to me in the supermarket -- there was a lot of foolishness. Of course, there were also people who did like what I wrote too. But, whether someone did or did not like my work I just wanted to do my job and be left in peace. Well, it doesn't always work out that way. 

   In writing that first show script, there was politics in it. And, politics creates a flash -- even if it is a dopey YouTube show. While I cherish my right to vote, and my right to hold certain opinions, I would really hate creating chaos in my life at this bend in the road. It's unhealthy. Then I thought...maybe I'll do sports. But, sports really isn't a thing right now: Even our greatest athletes get COVID so this would be a very weak time to start talking sports. Still, I would bump into that pesky loss of privacy.

   Finally, I just gave up on the idea. I have a wonderful little mountain home, an incredible wife and even a pet parrot. In addition there are really nice people I have made friends with here in the community I live in and there it is: I do not think a YouTube show would be great for my health and my world is as big as I like it and I wouldn't want it to get any bigger. The only way one can give away their privacy is to do it themselves, and I'm not going to do that again. When I was a kid I used to think privacy was no big deal ... and then I grew up.

   So that is the end of that. I like posting on a little blog every now and again and that is about my speed. I appreciate the readers who come by and this is just the right size for an old retired guy. 

--- JP