I just finished reading the book “Killing Kennedy” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.It wasn’t as informative as I had anticipated but it was still a good read. What was running through my thoughts while reading this book (while bayside down here in Puerto Vallarta) is just how much we baby boomers have experienced in our short years on this planet.
I remember being huddled in my parent’s bedroom the day that Kennedy’s funeral procession was taking place.
It was the first and last time I witnessed a tear in my dad’s eye.
When President Kennedy was shot, I learned it from my gym coach. I was a ninth grader at Lewis Jr. High in Allied Gardens near San Diego State College. I remember my coach standing on a bench and letting everyone know what had happened. It was a beautiful November day.
In those days I used to hitchhike to school to save the quarter I would normally use for the bus.
I’d buy lunch with the quarter because all I ever had in my lunch sack was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an orange.
Hitchhiking was innocent back then and a quarter was a lot of money. My parents were far from rich. It seemed even then life was such a struggle.
Oddly enough on that beautiful November morning my dad ended up picking me up. It was a little embarrassing as I had never let my parents know I would hitchhike. But, oddly enough that morning is stuck forever in my head. My dad just smiled and said get in.
When we crested the newly opened Navajo Road, which became the short cut to State College from San Carlos, we could see the ocean on the horizon. The view was so beautiful.
On the radio I remember the news announcers making fun of the Beatles. Without asking, my dad switched to my favorite station. I clearly remember a popular song by the Four Tops. It’s funny how things just stick in our brains forever.
My dad passed when he was only 71. I’ll be 64 this year and therefore I will be the age my dad was when he passed in seven short years. Seven years ago my now ex-wife met and fell in love with someone else on an airplane. 2006 seems so long ago yet so close. Time is just so darn fleeting. Seven years will pass in the blink of an eye.
When I was 60 I did some serious reflecting on life. I had experienced “making my millions” three times only to watch it evaporate like steam from a kettle.
So, I had a choice…I could work until I dropped dead and try to get that wealth back again or I could be more like the old man that bought a Pacific Island to retire to.
This old man was born and raised on a Pacific Island. His goal was to get off the island and “be someone.” This boy escaped paradise and joined the competitive world.
He experienced a great deal of struggles and success throughout his life but he never really found peace. He made gobs and gobs of money only to use it in his old age to buy an island in order to find that peace. This boy went full circle.
There aren’t too many baby boomers that have the money to buy an island, but should have enough sense to know there are no U-Hauls attached to hearses.
I brought my children up learning how to be independent and self-sufficient. Working my ass off for what might be only another seven years just so I can buy a bigger house or a fancier car is certainly not what my kids want from me. What they want from me now is to continue to be their dad but to live in peace and enjoy the life I was given. They are getting to that age that they are dreading the day they will stand over their parent’s graves.
We baby boomers, at least some of us, might live to be 100 or more with scientific breakthroughs but you know what? God only gives us one day.
We will never know when that day comes. John F. Kennedy chose his wife Jacqueline’s pink dress ensemble and hat on that fateful Nov. 22, 1963. He wanted the people of Texas to love his wife and think better of him.
What are you doing with your life? It’s time to think about our mortality and to use some of the age old clichés: “You can’t take it with you,” “Live your life today as if it is your last,” and most importantly: “It’s time to store up your treasures for heaven, not here on Earth.”
It’s time to live life in peace however you can find it. Don’t let your dreams go into a box with your used up earthly vessel. Learn to love and respect the spirit that lives in everyone. Don’t be afraid to give of yourself and to respect your neighbor. Those are the treasures that last for eternity.
Enjoy the rest of today and, thank God each morning when you wake up because in His grace He is giving you one more day to fulfill your search for peace.