Fifty-Five in the Dark 12/16/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Trust me, this isn’t about my age.  I’m well past fifty-five.  Maybe not FAR past it, but still, past it.  No, I thought I’d take a moment to share something with you that I noticed as I was out running errands and spending money foolishly. 

Yesterday, it was cold.  It was in the low ‘20’s, not a terribly cold temperature following a bitter sub-zero streak, but since we’ve had a very mild winter so far with only a few days even cold enough to freeze water, this felt very cold.  But it didn’t last long.  Today, as I left the house, the temperature was in the lower to mid-fifties.

My errands included some fun activities.  I had a little business at my gun club, so I ran there and popped off about a hundred rounds of ammo at a zombie target.  They seemed to be out of the zombie target that I enjoy the most, though, where the zombie has a blonde-haired female hostage, but since the hostage resembled my ex-wife, I think they were disturbed that I kept shooting at the wrong one.  Be that as it may, after spending a bit of time at my club, I went to get mail from my mailbox service on the other side of town, then to the grocery store to finish my shopping for my Christmas and New Year’s meals, and to the pet store to see if they had anything to soothe my cat’s skin as she seems to be uncomfortable lately (could it be fleas?). 

I left late.  It was already well into the fifties, and honestly, I forgot my jacket.  But it was so sunny and warm that I didn’t need it.  The temperature got up to fifty-five and I was very comfortable, probably because it was so cold yesterday (by the way, this is about a week out, so if you’re wondering why this doesn’t sound familiar that could be the reason).  In my last stop, late in the day, I stopped for some Chinese food.  By the time I headed back out to the car, it was dark, and cold.  I truly missed having a jacket with me and scolded myself.  I started up the car, and checked the temperature and it was still fifty-five.

Mid fifties in the beautiful sun is very comfortable and feels quite warm, so it struck me as odd that the exact same temperature in the dark felt so very cold.  How much of this is because we get warmth from the sun, and how much is purely psychosomatic?  Then I realized that this is an allegory.

It seems as of the way we view events in our life is also very much dependent on our own personal weather.  If we’re having a bad day and somebody pulls in front of us on the road, they’re cutting us off.  If we’re happy, they merged.  Okay, there are some ways of merging that are just idiotic (pulling over too close to you without blinking is an example), but I think you are catching on to my meaning.

Somehow, it feels liberating to realize that something that is so terrible in one period of life is not so bad in another.  I have a friend who was retiring for several years.  At one point, he reached a point where he had saved enough money to quit and retire any time he wanted to, but he didn’t.  He enjoyed what he was doing, but absolutely hated his bosses.  The administration where he worked had been a thorn in his side for a very long time, but somehow, once he could retire, he didn’t seem to mind them so much.  They hadn’t changed, and I don’t believe they realized that he had reached that point in his retirement savings.  Instead, just knowing that he could walk away any time he wanted made their terrible actions and horrible decisions just seem comical.  Knowing that he could walk away any time he wanted was enough for him to stay, with his secret safe in his heart and those with whom he chose to share it.

Maybe, when something upsets us, it would be good practice to stop and consider why it bothers us as much as it does.  Is it really that person, or that bad luck, or that thing or is it just how we are viewing it?  Is our view skewed because of other unrelated things we’re going through?  Don’t get me wrong; sometimes it’s healthy to blow off some steam like yelling at that idiot that just cut you off.  It’s not like the driver and hear you, so if you need to blow off some steam, scream to your heart’s content.  Just don’t drive like an idiot to “show them”.  They’ll never know why you’re upset, or often even that you are upset, but for the most part, it’s not them anyway.  It’s the day.

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