It's 4:00 in the morning and I've been awake since 2:00. My dog decided I should get up and contemplate the meaning of existence. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with my dog.
"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion" - attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
I don't know if the above are truly Lincoln's words but they sound like something he would say. I think It is something I might have easily said in some earlier part of my life. I no longer think it is that simple.
I've never sought for absolutes nor, particularly, for guiding principles in life beyond those simple "rules" that I think of as manners or politeness. Perhaps I should. One of my boys told me I have "a lot of rules" but I never believed him. Perhaps I should enter into some discussion on the matter. I would like to understand the rules by which I operate.
I find myself more cynical these days than in the recent past. I have to go back to my twenties to find such cynicism. It's my birthday today. I was born at 23:53 on the 7th of May. Maybe my approach to retirement has led to all this maundering.
I've been working on my website for a couple of weeks now. I am scanning pictures and composing pages with reasonable facility. The process of reviewing photographs, however, has been difficult for me. I tend not to be nostalgic not in the sentimental sense but old snapshots of my kids puts me in a sentimental mood.
I worry sometimes that mistakes I made still affect their lives. I don't know why that should bother me so. I am quick enough to take credit for the good things I've done that still affect their lives why should I have any lingering guilt. I like Lord Byron's take on guilt: "Guilt is an emotion for shopkeepers." I've rarely done much in my life that wasn't somehow driven by my desires on the subject. Which is to say, on the whole, I have seldom been forced to do anything I didn't want to do. I wonder how many people can say that with any honesty. And I wonder how many would.
I have enjoyed looking at pictures of the boys. It has sparked a few conversations. "Remember when?" is just about the most engaging game that humans play.
I haven't thought for many years about my trips to the keys with the boys nor my excursions to various spots around Miami. It was so normal and natural to travel in a crowd in those days that an excursion to Viscaya or the Keys blurs into trips to Costco or Kendall Mall.
We had some very good times, but I think what I remember most clearly and most fondly were the many "heart-to-heart" talks I had with the boys on every topic imaginable. Well, we ran, at least, the full gamut of teen angst. The boys were shaping themselves in those conversations. Some of them were re-shaping themselves. The process was amazing to watch. I changed a lot, myself.
Going through the photos has brought all that back to me. I miss those days. I felt needed then and more "worthwhile" than I do now. I think my absence in those days would have been felt acutely. I don't think it would be much felt now, nor for long, by anyone.