Archive for the ‘Quality of life’ Category

50 Years Ago This Summer

It just dawned on me that friends who’ll celebrate their Big 5-0 birthdays next March, April, or May were conceived 50 years ago this summer when, as Johnny Rivers once sang “ Everybody kept on playin’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’”. 

 

It was, of course, The Summer of Love !

Father’s Day 2017

My daughter can play me like a fiddle.

She knows how to push the right buttons that make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

But I don’t mind. Because, on the day that she emerged from her mother’s womb and I cut the umbilical cord to, literally and figuratively, set her free, I learned the true meaning of the word commitment.

I’ve heard the mythologist Joseph Campbell observe that once we give birth and raise our offspring until the point where they become self-sufficient, our lives are no longer necessary. At least, as far as nature is concerned.

My daughter and I are on the verge of that moment. So, I don’t mind her manipulating my emotions. In fact, I’m enjoying it.

Commitment

Twenty-three years ago, standing in the shower after arriving home from the birth of our daughter, it dawned on me that I had finally learned the meaning of the word “commitment”.

During my previous four decades, I had made various commitments to:  friendships, jobs, marriage; but this was different. Stronger. More intense.

In all those other relationships, if I had a desire to do so, I could renege. I could back away from friendships. I could quit a job. Marriages can end in divorce.

But the bond between a parent and their biological child is unbreakable. Yes, there can be emotional riffs and estrangements. And, yes, there are rare examples of parents who are capable of divorcing themselves from their offspring.

At that moment of realization, though, I believe that I actually became an adult as it dawned on me that I would forever be connected with and, in a deeply emotional way,committed to this beautiful child.

What a gift!

 

Conversations With Dad

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 10 years since my dad died in December, 2006.

Earl-N.-Brindle

Over the past few years, I’ve found myself having conversations with my father. I’ll be thinking about some problem or concern and, suddenly, I’ll be asking Dad what he thinks. He doesn’t talk back but, in some way, I do feel his presence. He’s also showing  up more frequently as a participant in my dreams. I’ll wake up and have to remind myself that Dad’s no longer “here”. I’m not sure what that means but were I to visit a psychoanalyst I’m sure that they’d have a field day with that information.

The fact that I’m now only seventeen years shy of the age Dad was at his death may have something to do with it. A sense of mortality does play with one’s head.

Nevertheless, I find these internal conversations odd because I don’t recall having that many actual conversations with my father when he was alive.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to notice similarities between myself and Dad. Our body types are more alike than I’d once thought. I like learning new things and sharing information with others that might help them to increase their understanding or improve their life. Although perceived by some to be an outgoing socializer, my nature is to be somewhat of a loner. At home, I’m not handy. Neither was he. But I know it and hire experts. He tried to do it himself. Then we brought in the experts!

My mother had been mythologizing Dad for my brother and me ever since we were kids. In Mom’s eyes, he was perfect in every way. And my father was a terrific role model: self-educated, intellectually curious, ethical, compassionate, generous, friendly, self-deprecating, great sense of humor, civic-minded, concerned citizen, loyal & devoted husband, interested & involved parent, honest, reliable, trustworthy, helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. A solid, upstanding role model. As the first born son of a role model like this, it’s not a total surprise to me why I’ve had a problem with authority figures all my life!

Dad grew up during The Great Depression. He would have easily done well in college but his parents were poor and couldn’t afford to send him. So, he did his best, served his country during World War II, worked hard, provided for his family, weathered adversity, and lived a productive, honorable life. We Baby Boomers may feel like we’ve been having a tough time during these past five years but my father and most others of his generation lived through and survived during much tougher times. Somehow, they made it through and managed to thrive. Rather than whining and bemoaning our losses, we need to learn from their example, do what’s best for our country and humanity, and get on with our lives.

Through his actions and his words, Earl N. Brindle taught me about being a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, about being a trustworthy and equal partner in marriage, about being a good parent and about being focused on getting the job done right. I’m still his work in progress.

My father is one of the reasons I ended up in Saratoga Springs. Dad loved to ride horses, a skill he picked up in Wyoming during his stint with the Army Air Forces, and enjoyed watching them race. Along with such sporting events as the Saturday night boxing matches, NY Giants football, and Red Sox baseball, we would always watch the Triple Crown races together. (He would have loved watching American Pharoah win last year and he would have enjoyed seeing his daughter-in-law, my wife Molly, present a trophy for one of the races during NBC’s Belmont Stakes coverage this year,)

When I moved to Saratoga and took Dad to our legendary race course in August to watch the morning workouts, he was in heaven. Along with being able to give him a granddaughter who he adored, I’m glad that I was able to give him those experiences at Saratoga Race Course.

I’m grateful for the time that my dad spent with me at the baseball field trying (unsuccessfully) to help me become a better player, trying to teach me how to fish (again, unsuccessfully), and risking his life and his sanity as he endeavored to teach his 16 year old eldest son how to drive.

Thanks, Dad, for setting such a great example for how to be a good parent. Hope my kids feel the same about me one day.ENB in Wyoming circa 1942

 

Thoughts of Dad on Father’s Day

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years since my dad, Earl Brindle died in December, 2006.

Earl N Brindle-official Army AirForce photo-1941

Over the past few years, I find myself having conversations with my father especially during my morning walks. I’ll be thinking about some problem or concern and, suddenly, I’ll be asking Dad what he thinks. He doesn’t talk back but, in some way, I do feel his presence. He’s also shown up as a participant in my dreams. I’ll wake up and have to remind myself that Dad’s no longer “here”. I’m not sure what that means but were I to visit a psychoanalyst I’m sure that they’d have a field day with that information.

It’s odd because I didn’t have that many conversations with my father when he was alive.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to notice similarities between myself and my father. Our body types are more alike than I’d once thought. I like learning new things and sharing information with others that might help them to increase their understanding or improve their life. Although perceived by some to be an outgoing socializer, my nature is to be somewhat of a loner. At home, I’m not handy. Neither was he. But I know it and hire experts. He tried to do it himself. Then we brought in the experts!

My mother had been mythologizing Dad for my brother, Alan and me ever since we were kids. In Mom’s eyes, he was perfect in every way. And my father was a terrific role model: self-educated, intellectually curious, ethical, compassionate, generous, friendly, self-deprecating, great sense of humor, civic-minded, concerned citizen, loyal & devoted husband, interested & involved parent, honest, reliable, trustworthy, helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. A solid, upstanding role model. As the first born son of a role model like this, it’s not a total surprise to me why I’ve had a problem with authority figures all my life!

Dad grew up during The Great Depression. He would have easily done well in college but his parents were poor and couldn’t afford to send him. So, he did his best, served his country during World War II, worked hard, provided for his family, weathered adversity, and lived a productive, honorable life. We Baby Boomers may feel like we’ve been having a tough time during these past five years but my father and most others of his generation lived through and survived during much tougher times. Somehow, they made it through and managed to thrive. Rather than whining and bemoaning our losses, we need to learn from their example, do what’s best for our country and humanity, and get on with our lives.

Through his actions and his words, Earl N. Brindle taught me about being a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, about being a trustworthy and equal partner in marriage, about being a good parent and about being focused on getting the job done right. I’m still his work in progress.

My father is one of the reasons I ended up in Saratoga Springs. Dad loved to ride horses, a skill he picked up in Wyoming during his stint with the Army Air Forces, and enjoyed watching them race. Along with such sporting events as the Saturday night boxing matches, NY Giants football, and Red Sox baseball, we would always watch the Triple Crown races together. (He would have loved watching American Pharoah win it this year!) When I moved to Saratoga and took Dad to our legendary race course in August to watch the morning workouts, he was in heaven. Along with being able to give him a granddaughter who he adored, I’m glad that I was able to give him those experiences at Saratoga Race Course.

I’m grateful for the time that my dad spent with me at the baseball field trying (unsuccessfully) to help me become a better player, trying to teach me how to fish (again, unsuccessfully), and risking his life and his sanity as he endeavored to teach his 16 year old eldest son how to drive.

Thanks, Dad, for setting such a great example for how to be a good parent. Hope my kids feel the same about me one day.

Earl-N.-Brindle

April 19th, 1995

On the morning of April 19th, 1995 my first born child wasn’t yet one year old.

oklahoma-city-bombing-1

 

I had never been a father before and had never experienced nor understood the emotions that one can feel about their children. But I did that day.

When I saw the picture of firefighter Chris Field rushing out of the ruins of the Federal Office building in Oklahoma City with the limp and damaged body of little Baylee Almon in his arms, I immediately began to think of the pain that Baylee’s parents were feeling and I began to weep. My eyes just started welling up as I’m writing this now.

I imagined that the little body in the firefighter’s arms was my own child and I felt so scared and hopeless and vulnerable. I’m not a particularly religious person but I prayed for Baylee and hoped that she would survive to live a happy and productive life. But she didn’t.  Nor did most of the other small children who were in the building’s daycare center that day.

My daughter is about to turn 21. If she’d survived, Baylee Almon would have been in her early 20’s today. Perhaps, she would have graduated from college. Or, she might have decided to pursue another path after high school. But she never got the chance.

So, today I’ll think about Baylee Almon and try to be a better person in honor of her memory.

Confessions of a Baby Boomer

I’ve just “celebrated” my birthday. To be honest, I dreaded more than I celebrated this one.

Of course, I’m grateful that I’m physically healthy and mentally alert at this stage of my life. From my perspective, I’m still a relatively young guy with a significant amount of potential ahead of me. Unfortunately, our society doesn’t see it that way.

That’s one reason why I started the Ambitious Energized Alpha Boomer group on Linkedin.  I figure that there have to be more Baby Boomers like me who aren’t ready to submit to being what euphemistically used to be called being “put out to pasture” simply because we’ve passed the arbitrarily selected retirement age of 65.

I do recall that my Victorian Era grandparents acted “old” by the time that they reached their mid-60s. But my Silent Generation dad wasn’t ready to retire when he turned 65.

I recently read “Being Mortal” and that book did pull me up short in terms of the physical and mental limitations which I should expect to arise during my next 20 to 25 years.  However, I’m still a believer that a positive but realistic attitude and determination to improve can contribute to one’s longevity and quality of life.

So, my plan is to continue to strive for the opportunity to improve in all aspects of my life and to thwart those societal forces which are determined to limit me. A “Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life” approach.

How about you?

baby-boomers-rule

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly

Boy-Scouts

 

Boy Scouts of America was founded on February 8, 1910.

The BSA is no longer looked upon favorably by some segments of American society. However, I’m grateful that my boyhood experience as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout taught me to Be Prepared. And, even at this stage of my life, I’m still striving to be:

Trustworthy

Loyal

Helpful

Friendly

Courteous

Kind

Obedient

Cheerful

Thrifty

Brave

Clean

Reverent

 

Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Evil

Dilbert-Marketing

A recent Scott Adams cartoon shows a marketing team member complaining that engineers are paid more than marketers. Dilbert’s responds that the pay disparity might be explained “Because engineers designed and built every important part of modern civilization and all (marketers) did was misrepresent it”.

Unfortunately, the idea that marketing is synonymous with lying and that members of the marketing profession rank somewhere near or below used car salesmen, lawyers and congressmen is quite prevalent. And, of course, the TV series, “Mad Men” didn’t help.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

My sense is that part of the problem comes from the notion that marketing is a sales function. From my perspective, marketing should be the next logical step after product development. Its function is:

1)    To make potential customers aware of the product/service’s existence.

2)    To make potential customers aware of the product/service’s merits

3)    To position the product/service in the potential customer’s mind in a positive light relative to the competition.

Problems arise when marketers become disingenuous and create blatantly misleading messages about the product/service. Today’s consumers have sophisticated BS detectors So even if you fool them once it’s less likely that they’ll be fooled a second time. Exaggerating about a product’s/service’s benefits or, worse, downright lying about them simply exacerbates the problem.

A recent article in the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School’s magazine, ONE discusses how companies have begun using neuroscience technologies such as fMRI and PET to observe how the brain functions during the decision-making process. The best way to utilize this data is not to employ it as a tool to manipulate people’s purchase decisions but instead to use the information to make a brand’s marketing more selective and to increase a campaign’s effectiveness by being better targeted.

I don’t mean to be Pollyanna-ish about this but, in the end, the marketing profession will be much better served if we can forego the temptation to be deceitful and instead make an honest attempt to put the product or service we represent in the best light possible without resorting to exaggeration or deception and let the chips fall where they may.

 

I’m Not Dead Yet!

Kirk Douglas obit

Recently, People Magazine’s website posted the actor, Kirk Douglas’ obituary. Unfortunately for People (but fortunately for Kirk Douglas), he’s still alive and kicking at 98. It brings to mind that scene from Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”.

When we get to a certain age, we start paying more attention to obituaries to learn if someone we know or cared about has died.  Secretly, some of us also compare the ages of those who’ve died with our own.

And, let’s face it, reading about death in the obituaries can be a sad and depressing experience.

NPR Weekend Edition Saturday’ host Scott Simon offers an interesting suggestion:

“… an obituary strives to have the perspective of a full life. Failures and mistakes which once loomed huge can finally be seen as small bumps on a long road.

Maybe it would be a good exercise — even a gift, in the holiday season — to help write a brief obituary for someone you love while they are still vibrant, alive, and able to appreciate it. You can remember a grandmother, who may seem a little halting and crotchety now, as she was when she was young and light-hearted. You can ask a father who can seem exasperated about being an authority figure now to remember the years when he was young, unruly, and even a little sassy. Seeing your life stretched out may make you see disappointments and defeats as pointers, not missteps, along that long road”

Not Dead Yet

What do you think?

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