Mass school shootings in the U.S. have left 169 students dead since April 1999 when two Columbine students killed 12 of their peers and one teacher at the school in Littleton, Colorado, and injured many others before killing themselves. Chants of “thoughts and prayers” abounded then and today over the horrible killing of nineteen fourth grade children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
There are many proposals to stop the carnage, with many focused-on-gun policies such as requiring background checks, regulating the sale of guns at gun shows, and passing “red flag laws” that allow police agencies, family members and others to petition that a gun to be taken from someone they believe has become dangerous. Proposals to reform gun policies are neither new nor few. There are currently over 110 gun bills on the desks of members of Congress.
America is a 245-year-old experiment in democratic governance that is in grave danger of vanishing from the globe. Oh, you say, why are you so pessimistic? It never, ever occurred to me that I would see in my lifetime so much ill-will and downright ignorance embraced by millions of Americans. And then, as I began to ponder why so many Americans had reached this point, an “aha” moment struck me. Perhaps the stars had aligned to cast such a dark shadow.
Let’s begin with our fading civic culture, the social glue of trust that is essential for living with one another, add (More…)
Yogi Berra, the greatest philosopher and sage of our time, put it this way: “The future ain’t what it used to be!” No, it’s not … it’s what we imagine it to be. How do I imagine the future? At almost age 80, I imagine a future that is not far off. Indeed, nearly five years ago I imagined a future that would put us in our forever house. Oh, how wrong I was. Why? Because I learned that it is near impossible to imagine a future that is different from the present. Let me clarify. (More…)
Sometimes I’m so consciously aware of how bored I am. The immediate realization is how often I wander to the refrigerator. There I stand in front of the open door pondering what on earth I could eat that would feed the void I’m feeling.
Nothing on Netflix, HBO, or the Hallmark Channel grabs my attention. I feel like I’m wasting time, killing brain cells, or missing opportunities to do something, even though I don’t know what that something is. It is times like this that I think about learning how to knit or crochet.
Now don’t think I have nothing to do. I fill the days of the month with plenty of activities – volunteering, OLLI-USF classes, committees, and board of director meetings, places to go, people to see, and things to do. So what is it that makes me feel so unproductive and bored? (More..)
Wow! What a question. Where to start? Okay, let’s start easy—eat, drink, and be merry! I like the “be merry” part but can’t say much positive about the “eat, drink” choices. What a dumpster life, if you thought the meaning of life was total self-pleasure.
Okay, let’s try another easy one—enjoy yourself while you’re young, because there’s no going back. Maybe so but … the fountain of youth could turn up somewhere. Who knows?
Let’s assume for the moment that you can go back. What age would you want to be? (More …)
Socrates is alleged to have said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Was he talking to the elite of ancient Greece? Or are his words still applicable to us, even though we are separated by thousands of years?
Bruce Feiler, in his most recent book, Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age, would appear to agree wholeheartedly with Socrates’ idea that we benefit from examining our own lives. After interviewing 225 people who had experienced horrific and some more common life-altering events in their lives, Mr. Feiler states: “Life is the story you tell yourself.”
Feiler says that our life transitions, which he calls “life disrupters,” and for the very largest of these events, “lifequakes,” require us to rewrite our life story. I had one of these “lifequakes” myself; it was my heart attack on the eve of my 49th birthday. To compound the difficulty of this medical event, it also led to the subsequent loss of my first career. (More…)
We’ve recently received two posts that explored the question : “Which is more important? The way you deal with Life or the way Life deals with you?” Neither writer was aware of the other’s work. Rather than publish them in separate issues of OLLI Connects, we decided to run both of them at once. Enjoy!
Do you consider yourself an (un)lucky person? Are you a poker player? I used to be but decided that with my luck I may as well stay home. Oh, how about skill? Doesn’t poker require some skill like being able to count and remember the cards that have been played. Sure it does! But it didn’t matter in my case; I always lost—was unlucky, you might say. I suppose another way of putting this is to say that my “fate” was always—to lose (at poker). Neither luck nor skill mattered.
So how do you think about luck, skill, and fate in life? Are you a “what will be will be” person? Or do you believe that through skill and some luck, the future is yours to determine? I hope your answer is (More…)