List of Previous Titles

Sunday, September 27, 2015

An Active Mind

In a few short days I am due to celebrate my 76th birthday. The projection at my birth was that my maximum life expectancy was to age 47. So said the Actuaries, taking into account where I was born and my access to good health care. It's good that they are not always correct, although for many of my contemporaries they were indeed proved, sadly correct.

At age 76 I am firmly in denial. My place is supposed to be with my age group, spending leisurely days at the retirement home for seniors in day care, playing cards, and dominoes, and chatting away the time. I just don't see that happening. I feel no more than 55, and rather than to spend my time with the old folks, I have places to go, people to see, and things to do.

Having said all that, this week I attended a concert where the average age of the musicians was about 70. The band was all male, except one sole young woman, and one young man. They presented a full two-hour concert, in two parts with completed works by Spanish composers. It was wonderful to see all of these men conduct themselves with confidence, both on the stage and off. While their average age may well have been about 70, I think that they, like myself were all, in our heads about 55.

I recall as a young man being seriously impressed by a classical pianist who gave a one-man concert at the age of 90. He walked on the stage with vigor, gave his concert, including delightful comments to the audience, just as though he were a young artist. It occurred to me then that to keep ourselves young we should have something to focus our mind on that makes us grow. The key is growth, because in life we never stand still. We are either growing or diminishing. Even simply liiving in a foreign land with a language to learn means growth. You learn something new everyday.

It was wonderful to enjoy proof of this theory. I think I am on the right track. This may be something to bear in mind as we all grow older and older.

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Power of a Smile

When I wrote my last blog, "World Noise" I was truly in a very dark place. I rarely allow world events to grind me down to that level, but there I was, thoroughly depressed. There is much to be depressed about, but such things are beyond my control. I have to remember the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." That part about having the wisdom is really important, but when you see so much human suffering it is emotive, and as a simple human being, I just can't seem to be unaffected.

Ever since  I arrived here in Spain we have had images of Africans washing up on the shores, having drowned at sea in their quest for a better life. In many cases they were simply trying to remain alive as they fled despots who would have killed them on the spot. They were the trickle before the flood. All that they were trying to do was to get to the place in which I had arrived in the comfort of an airplane.

So, yes, there is a world of uncomfortable noise that surrounds you and me, and I accept that from time to time it will get to me. My task was to pull myself up and shake it off. The day after I wrote the blog, I was driving down my estate road when I saw coming the other way a man on a pedal cycle. I have been seeing this man for the past eleven years. I don't know his name, but he always reminds me of Robin Williams, and he always smiles a Robin-esque smile. I always feel good after I see him.

In my native Bermuda we have Johnny Barnes, a man who for decades has greeted people on their way to work with a huge smile and a "I love you!" It is impossible to arrive at work in a bad mood after that.

During the week I have deliberately tuned out the negative, allowing space for only positive sound bytes. I have found there are many which lifted me and kept my spirits high. The owner of a dog that constantly barked, day and night, said, "Don't listen to him!" Well, I have turned the sound down on the negative, and up on the positive.

Today, I feel good! 

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

World Noise!

My principal sources of world news are: TVE, Channel 1, Spain, CNN, BBC, The Royal Gazette of Bermuda, and The Costa Levante News of Spain. It occurs to me that all these sources are in the business of reporting a lot of noise. They simply don't report much, if any news of a happy nature. What passes for news are those events that involve corruption, death, murder, rape, theft, political mismanagement, refugees, drownings, assassinations, drugs, gang wars, police killings, incest, slavery, prostitution, extreme weather,  forest fires, war, local conflicts, floodings, kidnappings, economic and financial disasters, among every other form of perversion and negativity we can think of; and now, we even have had a news reporter murdered while on a live over-the-air television feed. At least she was reporting on a simple non-controversial local event.  What a sick world we are all a part of, and the news has become the new pornography.

So, why on earth do I sit myself down in front of the television and let all of this crap wash over me every night. Why do I buy the papers or go on-line? It's all so depressing, and addictive, I have to wonder what effect this is having on me, and you? Why don't I simply turn off the news and content myself with watching people make love to one another. At least they are not trying to kill one another, or even to hurt one another...much!

A picture of a little dead boy lying drowned on a beach in Turkey, and the thousands of economic and war refugees enduring so much hardship; and now, the latest sad news is of a mother, in my native Bermuda who has been found guilty of murdering a sixteen-year old boy by deliberately crashing him over the head with a baseball bat.

According to the boy's mother, he was her only shining light and was full of hope for her, but there was another side to him that acted out when she was not around.  That was a dark side of gross disrespect to the public at large. He certainly seemed to have needed a strong hand, but that hand came from his neighbour, but it was too strong and now he is dead, and his killer, a mother of three, will have to spend a great number of years behind bars. It is almost incalculable how many lives have been totally messed up as a result.

Watching world events is like watching a slow moving disaster. I just can't seem to turn away. What's worse, I choose entertainment programs that re.enact these events for my "pleasure." What's up with that?

I have to ask, has the whole world gone mad? Are we totally off our collective minds and just don't realise it? Living as we do surrounded by the constant noise of so much ill-will cannot be deemed normal. It just isn't!

That's the way it is on this day, the 13th day of September, 2015.

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Lonesome Billionaire

A man who is a billionaire has complained that in spite of the many friends and people in general who surround him, he feels isolated and loney. How can this be? If such a person wants to simply talk at any time, there will be someone of his choosing available to talk. If he wants someone to love him, there will surely be any number of people of his choosing who will be available to put their heart and soul into convincing him that he is loved.

Through the use of the pre-nuptial agreement he can even wed and raise a family while safeguarding his fortune. So, what could possibly be the problem?

I don't have the definitive answer to that question, but I do have some thoughts: Firstly, I believe that the gentleman in question has a lot of company across all social lines. This calls into question the dynamics of how attraction works between partners. From a man's viewpoint we are driven by the visual. We are told over and over again not to judge a book by its cover, but we see a woman who has the type of cover that turns us on, and right away we have to have her. Mistakes are made, sometimes lasting for life. I believe that women place a little more criteria on their sense of choice, but mistakes are also made, some of which turn out to be deadly. (Thirty-six women have been killed by their partners this year in Spain.)

Through my own experience with a wealthy woman I have an idea of the kind of problem money imposes on choosing and maintaining a mate.  We like to think that our partner's interest in us is based soley on our personality, but having said that we do tend to draw attention to our finer points.

The woman who dresses to reveal her best charms, such as the deep cut blouse, and/or the short shorts draws attention to those parts of her, and the man who wants to meet her because he likes what he sees, will want to get his hands on her. The man who deliberately shows off his wealth can be sure that the woman who is attracted by it will want to get her hands on it.

In my own case, many years ago I met a woman who seemed perfectly ordinary, and over a period of time, through the exchange of ideas and opinions I came to really adore her. I had no idea at all that she was wealthy because she lived in America and I lived in Bermuda. The time came when, evidently she decided that I needed to know something of her background, and so she told me what I needed to know.

Apparently, this had been a long standing problem for her because when she did this the guy would instantly realise that he was in love with her. In my case it was a complete turnoff. I read many years ago that if a man falls in love with a woman for her money, he will be made to earn every penny, every day. As I drew away from her she practically lost her mind, making me all sorts of offers to develop a relationship. They were wonderful offers, but the sad truth was that in every case she held the purse strings. For the sake of my own ego and sense of dignity I went my own way, doubting my sanity as I went.

What she needed was a relationship with someone from her own financial strata. It probably would not be something genuine, but such is the price of living in those lofty heights. Ironically, the social level where relationships are likely to be formed most honestly is at the bottom layer. The man will still be attracted by what he sees, but the woman might be short or tall, thin or stocky, beautiful or homey; but to her he will be just himself, as he will not have anything of a material nature as a distraction. If this couple are lucky they might build up some assets and have a nice life together.

At least their foundation will be built on honesty and solid ground. No-one of great wealth can be sure of that, so I think it's wonderful that we who have not much have a reason to feel better than the super rich.

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael