* "All my life I said I wanted to be someone......
            I can see now that I should have been more specific".

 As with most people - when I was young I looked for entertainment
 from the "spectacular" - and missed many worthwhile events and
 people along the way.  Though I notice much more now, I am filled
 with regret that my youth was so costly to me and those my lack
 of appreciation may have touched.

 I think in hindsight that youth is more than the onset of adulthood
  and and they plus childhood memories readily return because of the 
  pure joy they mostly were. Nothing beats surprise and discovery so
  nothing can beat the joy of our early years, with few exceptions.

 What I have now is all I have left and probably more than I ever had....
 .....despite what I used to fool myself I had in some instances.

 Isn't it strange how kids hate to be different and adults crave it.
       Maybe that's a part of what the "generation gap" is.

 Maybe that's the truth for  all of us  and the difference  between
 the exuberance of youth and the reality of experience.  One is
 what the mind chooses to deal with and the other is what the mind 
 knows it must deal with.   What's ideal and whats real.....and who 
 would argue that what's real is sometimes not ideal.

 I seem to dwell in a twilight world starkly different to that of
 my youth - where illusions of self grandeur have given way to the
 humility of real self worth and accepted capability.  Though 
 strangely  calming and peaceful, the only frustrations I feel are 
 my evident diminishing physical limitations and ageing features 
 that must be regrettably accepted and  adjusted to as I head toward 
 the serenity that awaits us all.

 Long term planning is a thing of the past and no longer the option
 that it once was.

 Time passes and the moment is gone that "once was".  How quickly
 today can turn into tomorrow, many friends into few and life's joys
 into pain .

 Now I ask myself - "was my youth a dream or am I dreaming now?"  
  ("Am I a kid deaming I'm a man or a man dreaming I'm a kid?") 
 Isn't reality only that which the mind accepts best?  Sure there's
 reasoning - but when all else fails there's reality - but even
 reality  can be many things  to different people.....and maybe the 
 secret ingredient as to what makes "man" (and woman) appear so 
 complex and different is neither.

 Its strange how we seem to see things a lot more clearly as we
 get older and we ponder things as we never did before, even though
 our sight and minds may not be considered what they once were.

 Maybe when we start to realise there are more days behind us than in
 front of us, we can then ponder things a little more clearly than
 when we had "all the time in the world".......... and when we were 
"invincible" into the bargain!

 Its absolutely clear to me now how I spent most of my life lamenting
 what I wasn't, rather than being thankful for what I really was.

 I never thought I was an unlucky person either... even if my getting
 onto an aeroplane had caused others to get off, I wouldn't have connected
 the dots or felt anything but confident and lucky. My life then was all 
 I knew - and I knew "everything" there was to know! 

 Youth generally has a different set of priorities .....and when I was
 "there", my priorities and those of my peers demanded only that you
 be handsome, a hero, a world champion street fighter, irresistible
 to girls.....and regarded as a Mr. Cool.    Oh... and worshipped and
 adored by all and sundry ..... and recognised as a fountain of
 wisdom by those "dumb oldies". What would those silly old duffers have
 known anyway.

 Of course, I now see what a selfish arrogant little disrespectful and
 shallow little shit I really was. I and most of my "peers" really were
  in that mould, but you would only have incited me (and them) against 
 you had you been the bearer of stark reality then....and it wouldn't 
 have had any effect on me for the better, because we didn't  listen

 "Set in your ways" is not just an affliction for the old and when you
 consider oldies have had so much more to pick from that sets their
 ways,  it doesn't take rocket science to work out who's ways are
 mostly the best choices.

 My youth demanded that who I wanted to be was more important than
 who I really was.....and I was not put off by the personal pains
 and suffering I experienced along the way from my attempts to
 maintain that front and not listen to advice that could have made
 my youth far less painful and more productive into my more important
 later years.

 I dont really know for sure, but that period was probably where my
 more positive attitude sprang from that served me so well later in
 life.....but left me such a poor judge of character as well.

 And when I finally realised that I never was.....and never will be
 more than what I am.....I was stricken by my perceived limitations
 and came back to earth with a thud.

 Judging by the pain I still feel, this happened just yesterday and
 I guess the lesson learned is we must all learn to dance with the
 shoes nature gave us and the circumstances we inherit... however 
 different they may be. 

 Though now I'm no stranger to disappointment or frustration......
 especially when I reflect on some personal experiences in my  life 
 or look at my fellow man in general.............. I cant help
 weighing up in my mind what might have been.       Would any of my
 actual or desired paths in life on this planet have made any real
 difference whatsoever in the bigger scheme of things. Did I really
 count at all?

 And I'm still wondering....what IS the scheme of things?  

 I think maybe the second saddest thing a person can feel in their
 last moments is that they didn't count for anything - and that no one
 loved or respected them.

 Even worse .... they would not be remembered or missed!

 The number one saddest thing?

 I'm not on my last legs as I write this, but I have accumulated so
 many experiences and sensations to go with them during my past life,
 that reliving them would take more time than I have left - yet the
 pains of loss and regret haunt me more than the many happy moments
 I had. 

 There are those who can put their sadness behind them and  "get on
 with life"...  but my personal "hindsight" has given me tears on 
 many occasions. I may be seen as weak, but I bow to sensitivity.
 There are moments that mark your life in such an indelible way
 that they become bookmarks you cant forget.   Your life will be
 remembered in your recall of these bookmarks and other events
 that happened before or after them. 

 There are many more happy moments in my life than painful ones, yet
 its the painful ones that are remembered most and affect me still.

 Even though I know I am not to blame for these sad events in my
 life, I feel guilt that perhaps I should have known more and been
 able to engineer a better outcome.  Overseeing the past is like
 looking at a movie you have just made and wishing you could 
 redirect and reshoot many of the scenes.

 My youthful bold expectations of myself and actual experiences 
 seem to live on within me and may possibly never leave me in peace.

  Would I live it over again!    With better hindsight -YES.


This is serious........ think about it.....

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends.
Life is tough and it takes up a lot of your time.
What do you get at the end?  A  stone cold death!
What sort of bonus is that to look forward to?
The life cycle would be looked forward to much
better if it went backwards.

You should be dead first - get it out of the way.
You are born into a retirement home.
You get kicked out when you're too young,
You get a gold watch and then you go to work.
You work forty years until you're young
    enough to enjoy your retirement.
You smoke, drink and party with gusto.
You get ready and go to high school.
You then go to primary school.
You become a kid and you play happily
  and have no responsibilities.
You become a little baby.
You go back into the womb.
You spend your last nine months floating.
You become an orgasm..................

    Perfect ..........


 It's sad reading of our past, frustrated by some experiences of the
 present.......... and disappointed knowing the future may benefit
 little by either.

 Small wonder then how some older people find the company of even
 their pets far more comforting and genuine than some people.

 I haven't fully reached this stage as yet but I do see my pet as the
 nearest thing to my family and I feel for him.

 What made some sad, emotionally barren and badly injured soul write
 "Never cry over something that cant cry over you", I'll never know.

 I really liked company and tried to please, I consider I was genuine
 and I stood by my friends.

 (Its not true that my mum used to pay other kids to play with me!)

 Problem was I really didn't know that this accounted for nothing
 without the accepted "bullshit factor"....where in most cases you
 must tell it the way people want to hear it ....and not always the
 way it really is.

 I could never understand this most basic of all socially demanded
 behaviour by man and I was always uncomfortable in the company of
 anyone who was pleasant past the point of essential
 other words - an obvious slime (slash bull artist!)

   (To some people, only Coca Cola really is  the "real thing".)

 Some don't mind the truth - as long as its about someone else - but
 not someone they like (and 999 out of 1000 really like themselves
 much more than anyone else)  so being blunt to the point of honesty 
 with anyone can be fatal to a relationship of any kind.

 Man's ideal friend is mostly someone who makes him feel good rather
 than someone who IS good.     In short, the truth is sometimes as
 offensive as an insult to most.

 Both parties can be aware of any "buttering up" going on, but seem 
 to  accept it as the lesser of two evils and certainly as the least
 unpleasant.  And I wonder how either can sleep at night with this
 lack of honesty labelled as "diplomacy" or unconditional friendship.

 The following poem aptly describes any feelings of grandeur we get.
 (also in the Other People's Poetry page)


          Sometime when you're feeling important
          Anytime that your ego's in bloom
          Sometime when you take it for granted
          You're the best qualified in the room

          Sometime when you feel that your going
          Would leave an unfillable hole
          Just follow this simple direction
          And see how it humbles your soul

          Take a bucket and fill it with water
          Put your hand in it up to your wrist
          Pull it out and the hole that's remaining
          Is the measure of how you'll be missed

          You may splash all you please as you enter
          You can stir up the water galore
          But stop and you'll find in a minute
          That it looks quite the same as before

          The moral of this quaint example
          Is just do the best that you can
          Be proud of yourself but remember
          There's no indispensable man

                               by Saxon White Kessinger

                                  (so very true)                                                             


          (I only came to make absolutely certain I was here!)

 Knowing the true value that a person can be to others disturbs me
 with my past experience and desperation for friendship, but at least 
 I am not naive  about it anymore.  I actually feel more relaxed and
 surer of myself now. 

 If you grew up thinking genuine people were in the majority.....and
 your belief that good will win in the end is now waning..... you will
 be sharing my feelings. (welcome to reality)

 As you get old enough too, you may even look back to happier days
 and kid yourself that when you were young,  money went further,
 politicians were fair dinkum and children respected their elders more.

             "Kids today - they never listen and you cant tell them
               anything  because they  think they already know it.
               They're spoilt by their parents and show no respect for
               their elders.
               They've no interest in anything except having a good time
               and they have no thought of the worry they cause, or who
               pays for their mistakes.
               There's little hope for mankind then".
                                       (Cicero - around 500 BC!)

 My observation over the years is that "do badders" rest just as well
 as "do gooders" - so when you look at it objectively,  "do badders"
 cant lose.  If they dont get caught....then they benefit for little
 or no effort, unlike the rest of us.   If they do get caught then
 they could get away with a slap on the wrist - or at worst will
 have a usually short, all expenses paid the expense
 of the very people they robbed in the first place!

 Now that's a great incentive for being a "goodie" isn't it?

 Its actually the honest people who pay every time.

 And as the truly philosophical, expensively trained at little cost
 to himself university graduate might say..."Oh well... that's life"
 (Its not only criminals and loafers who drag on our resources!)

 Maybe I am not going to get off this planet a moment too soon for
 my own good......then you'll be on your own mate!

 Maybe I am getting off this planet not soon enough for the planet,
 in which case I and approximately 7 billion others SHOULD lose
 plenty of sleep.


 Speaking of serene endings ...... my father told me that his father
 (my grandfather) died peacefully in his sleep.....but the same could
 not be said for the 3 passengers in his car.


The Tragedy of Old Age

The tragedy of old age is not the limitations it brings, the creaking
bones, the failing sight and hearing, the lack of strength and energy
you (faintly) remember you once had.  Nor is it so much the realisation 
or fact that your time is running out... although I must say I know
quite a few people who are pre-occupied with death and I KNOW they will 
go "kicking and screaming - to no avail.

The tragedy is knowing you wont get a second chance..... not just to do
it all again, but a second chance to right the wrongs that hindsight has
drawn to your attention ......and retirement has allowed us to reflect on
with such intensity.  Those many mistakes we made when we were younger
that youth in its exuberance allowed to pass without notice or thought
of guilt.

The times we demanded so much from our parents without consideration of
their feelings (or that they had "a life" even), the promises we make
that we didn't keep, the lying and cheating in our lives in childhood 
(and into adulthood for many), our cruelty to others  (whether mental or

Our pledges and heartfelt sincere feelings toward those we loved yet
unknowingly caused them great anxiety ..... and more we could have great
difficulty relating, or even admitting to ourselves.

The loved ones we lose that regretfully we can never say sorry to and
never have the chance to say to them that we love them.

Everyone has instances in their past that they are not happy with.

I was so full of confidence in myself that I thought I could always
protect those I loved and solve any problems in doing so, yet how wrong
I was, for there are just some things in life that mere mortals cannot
cannot fix.

I prided myself too in always keeping my promises and promoted my word
as my bond".   Sadly, on reflection, this was not always the case for 
many whose word meant nothing to them and cost me so much along life's 

That "rendezvous" not kept (with someone who trusted me), that tall tale
told (to raise my profile with my peers), that money I found and didn't
hand in, that double delivery of a book I didn't send back, that thought
even of how I could cheat at my school exams, the promises I made, the
times I wasn't where I was needed and didn't attach any importance to
anything but my own feelings or needs.  The lack of thought so many
times displayed. I adit and regret these instances deeply.

I am satisfied my life has had an overwhelming positive affect on the
lives of others, but this wasn't always the case and the realisation I 
will never be able to go back and do something more positive than I did 
in earlier times gnaws at me deeply. Even though I have never hurt or 
been knowingly dishonest at the time - and even though no one probably
knew.... I know now .

That's the worst part of growing old ............


 When the end comes for me, my wishes are probably the same as anyone
 else's. I would like to pass away in my sleep peacefully, without
 having to first suffer illness, pain or indignity beforehand.

      (And I don't want to be there when it happens!)

 I have my own thoughts on the subject of death. They don't include
 delusions of my life in the next.   Dreaming is necessary for man
 to compete and achieve, but this can only be done in the world one
 occupies.  The great majority of people that dream long and hard
 of the "next world" put very little back into the one they actually
 exist in and usually make a nuisance of themselves by trying to make 
 the  rest of us listen and commit to their beliefs.

 They sort of say "Hop on my train - or get off the tracks"

 I don't believe in anything I cant see, feel, taste or logically
 conceive...... with few exceptions (?). 

 Necessity being the mother of invention, the human animal NEEDS
 to believe there is more than just knowing he comes and goes with
 the passing of time. The uncertainty of death's supreme unknown
 frightens him and various beliefs become his crutch.

 Man needs to know where he came from, who put him here and most
 importantly to get more.   Man solves all this in his various
 frames of mind by accepting varied and often conflicting beliefs,
 including gods who suit his own particular needs and ideals and he
 tends to go with the most suitable or "right" package on offer for
 his life in the hereafter. 

 And it would seem there are many "boutique" style religious cults
 out there willing to cater for everyone's needs as well.

 One man's cup of tea can be another man's poison in this pursuit,
 so different are the perceptions of "needy" man.

 For thousands of years man has  embarked on a course of pleasing his
 chosen god, in return expecting immortality.  And as any thinking
 person would know - a smart "god" would see such expectant people
 for what they really are - selfish - and reject the lot of them.

 Just a few of these various beliefs are:
 Brahminism          Buddhism
 Christianity        Hebraism
 Hinduism            Hsuan Chiao
 Islamism            Jainism
 Judaism             Mazdaism
 Mithraism           Mohammedanism
 Muslimism           Paganism
 Rastafarianism      Shintoism
 Taoism              Zoroastrianism
  etc. etc. etc ad infinitum..........

 Man has gone into many wars in an attempt to impose his god upon all
 others.    Any success in these seemingly never ending battles has
 always been seen as justification of the victors beliefs,  a ticket
 into his god's kingdom, the everlasting life he so desperately seeks
 and self justification of his efforts and zeal.

 What "god" would want to live with man anyway. A bunch of people who
 are never happy with what they've got and would pretty soon want
 equality with him - and then challenge for leadership...... as is
 mans nature to do.

 I'm sure the "Garden of Eden" itself would recoil at the thought
 of 7 billion people tramping around it.

 If there is a god (as man sees and demands there be) then its little
 wonder he doesn't speak to us too often (or at all!)......let alone
 socialise with us.

 A seriously good argument for god not to create man.   And as for
 admitting man was "made in His own image" (?).......... they may say 
 it over and over - but no "God" has ever come forth and confirmed it,

 I dont class myself as a heathen in the sense that I refuse to
 believe. Nor am I a blind believer of the calibre a Christian deems
 I should be, so I can do all the "ascending" they want me to.

 I just figure I dont want to join forces with one of the many groups
 around who think you are inferior or their enemy if you dont believe
 exactly as they do.

 The same people can be observed everyday around the world, blowing
 themselves and others up in the name of their adopted gods - 
 insisting we all come to heal. Different ways over thousands of years
 but with the same weapon predominantly.... fear.

 As a measure of these peoples credentials, they can already tell you
 what life will be like after death - without experiencing it or
 having documented proof from those they were close to who have "gone

 I dont want to be coerced by others into their way of thinking
 simply because of someone's insistence or fanaticism.  I neither
 believe or disbelieve and if I ever arrive at a conclusion, at
 least it wont be one borne of fear or convenience, or forced upon
 me by others.

 Work it out....should I have to state to others I am of their faith
 order to be good in their eyes, when the very book they claim to
 unreservedly believe in, states that I answer ultimately to their
 God and not to them.  Dont they now think they are equal to God in
 demanding I state my position.  Would an all knowing being require
 I make such a statement when He knows all anyway? Isn't it better I
 make honest statements - and wouldn't this be more acceptable to a
 God who hands down 12 commandments that require an honesty none of
 us can deliver anyway?      Do people refute His son was the only
 perfect person to have walked the earth and further, dont they put
 themselves up as an equal to His son with their demands of others?

 I sincerely see myself as an agnostic.

 Sure I've speculated - and who hasn't.  Its a trait of mankind to
 give thought to any proposal or theory.  I guess its because I am
 more a logical person than a dreamer,   that I concentrate only on
 what I know.  I see this as no justification for my being labelled
 by self declared superiors who profess to believe that only they
 have "the answer" and will pass the final judgement of their
 chosen God.... as they interpret it.

 In these circumstances the same people would have to think God is
 dumb or that they are smarter than their god.

 Another good reason why I dont want to be like them.

 And even though I profess to be an agnostic, I pray I don't ever
 pass on to a place filled with fanatical religious people....for
 then I'll know there really is a hell!

 Why shouldn't people embrace their death in old age the same way
 animals usually do.  Most people move their "home" many times during
 their lifetime, so isn't dying generally referred to as "moving
 on", just another move .....albeit the last from this world!

 Like the law of our universe......everything is changing and on its
 way to somewhere else......we have to move on too.

 Moving on is either required or impulse action in life.  So too is
 dying.  The undertaker is just another "removalist", the hearse is
 his "truck" and your destination preordained and in the true context
 of ignominious, you have no choice or knowledge of where you go next.
 For the first time since your birth you dont have to do anything and
 no matter your last outfit, coffin or where your place happens to be,
 you will have no complaint or uncomfortable feelings again. 

 Sounds pretty relaxing to me!  See - I do have faith!

 But no matter when the time arrives, it will always be too soon I
 suppose.  There will always be something more that I feel I should
 do before I leave.     (Even some genuine reasons as well!)

 I know it sounds pretty corny and old fashioned  stuff,   but I
 always wanted to leave behind something of myself - something to
 indicate later that I had been here. It doesn't even matter that my
 name is attached to it, as long as someone in the future can look
 upon it as a worthwhile and useful thing. I see no reason for my
 ever being alive without this.....(what WAS the point of my being?).

 Although I cant see me having done something to this effect so far,
 or even being able to later.......who knows.....I may have already
 done something without knowing....and I cant see it right now.

 I certainly hope so.......I'd feel happier knowing.

 I always wanted people to say how fortunate my wife was to have me
 as a husband and how lucky my children were to have me as their
 father.   I would  also have liked  to hear people  tell me I
 must be so happy to have such a wife or how proud I must be of my
 children........and I truly was. I told many people this fact, but
 I sorely missed my family and others saying something of me.....
 which proves I also like being told what I want to hear.

 I guess nothing is certain in this world so you'd think I'd  know
 that by now.....but it doesn't decrease disappointment when your
 hard work and success isn't noticed.

 I'd settle to know someone would notice my passing and even just
 say "he was a good bloke" as I leave here ........ and at the same 
 time know there is someone on the other side saying with great joy,
 "here he comes".....genuinely.  See, the dreamer in me comes out.

 But I probably hope for too much. (Probably?????????)

 Death comes to us all eventually .....and facing it will be the
 ultimate test of character for each of us.  I sincerely hope I dont
 disappoint myself or anyone else when my turn comes.

 Meanwhile, I figure death will come with an incompleteness much
 like sitting in a room reading a book ...... and having finished
 reading the introduction only!


I saved the following offerings for those who had the patience to 
read this far.......



                         AND THEN IT IS WINTER

You know. . . time has a way of moving quickly and catching you 
unaware of the passing years.   It seems just yesterday that I 
was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate.  
Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the 
years went.   I know that I lived them all.   I have glimpses of 
how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.   

But, here it is... the winter of my life and it catches me by 
surprise...How did I get here so fast?   Where did the years go 
and where did my youth go?   I remember well seeing older people 
through the years and thinking that those older people were years 
away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not 
fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.   

But, here it friends are retired and getting grey...they 
move slower and I see an older person now.   Some are in better 
and some worse shape than me...but, I see the great change...Not 
like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant...but, 
like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those 
older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be.   
Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target 
for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore... it's 
mandatory!   Cause if I don't on my own free will... I just fall 
asleep where I sit!   

And I enter into this new season of my life unprepared 
for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability 
to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!!  But, 
at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not 
sure how long it will last... when it's over on this earth... 
its over.    Will a new adventure begin? Some seem sure... hope 
is eternal!   

Yes, I have regrets.  There are things I wish I hadn't done...
things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm 
happy to have done.   It's all in a lifetime.  Many of our 
expectations of others are too high, so remember, if your 
definition of a friend is someone who would die for you, 
then you probably don't have any friends. 

So, if you're not in your winter yet...let me remind you, that it 
will be here faster than you think.  So, whatever you would like 
to accomplish in your life .... do it quickly!  Don't put things 
off too long!!  Life goes by quickly.  So, do what you can today, 
as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You 
have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life...
so, live for today and say all the things that you want your 
loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love 
you for all the things that you have done for them in all the 
years past!!    

"Life" is the gift you live.   The way you live your life is 
your gift to those who come after.   Make it count..... 


Live A Life That Matters............
                        What Will Matter

                   Ready or not, someday it will all 
                   come to an end.
                   There will be no more sunrises, 
                   no minutes, hours or days.

                   All the things you collected, 
                   whether treasured or forgotten, 
                   will pass to someone else.

                   Your wealth, fame and temporal power 
                   will shrivel to irrelevance.

                   It will not matter what you owned 
                   or what you were owed.

                   Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, 
                   and jealousies will finally disappear.

                   So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, 
                   and to-do lists will expire.

                   The wins and losses that once seemed so
                   important will fade away.

                   It won't matter where you came from, 
                   or on what side of the tracks you lived, 
                   at the end.

                   It won't matter whether you were beautiful 
                   or brilliant.

                   Even your gender and skin color will be 

               So what will matter? 
               How will the value of your days be measured?

                   What will matter is not what you bought, 
                        but what you built; 
                   not what you got, 
                        but what you gave?

                   What will matter is not your success, 
                   but your significance.

                   What will matter is not what you learned, 
                   but what you taught.

                   What will matter is every act of integrity, 
                   compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, 
                   empowered or encouraged others to emulate your 

                   What will matter is not your competence,
                   but your character.

                   What will matter is not how many people you 
                   knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss 
                   when you're gone.

                   What will matter is not your memories,
                   but the memories that live in those who
                   loved you.

                   What will matter is how long you will be 
                   remembered, by whom and for what.

                   Living a life that matters doesn't happen by 
                   accident. It's not a matter of circumstance 
                   but of choice.

               Choose to live a life that matters.......

                                                    (author unknown) 



©Ted Middleton 2013.

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