|Tejuino playing at Foster Botanical Gardens in 2009|
Julie, Ken, Royce, Larry, Ron, Brian
It’s been quite a while since I posted on my map4story blog, but on my neighborhood walk this morning I decided it was time. But not a post about maps. A post about music, travel, work and the meaning of life. Let me explain.
Earlier this month my wife’s good friend from high school lost her husband of more than 50 years. Last week my wife flew to California to be with her friend and to help with the service, so it’s just been me and the dog here at home.
PHOTOS and MEMORIES
It seemed like a good time to work on a task I’ve been putting off for too long – organizing the multitudes of photos I have on various devices. Some are from active computers (and tablets and phones), others are from old computers when I made a copy of everything onto a portable drive before getting rid of the computer.
I do love to organize and catalog things, but given the huge number of photos, it was a daunting task. It’s a task, that for me anyway, requires blocks of uninterrupted time. So now seemed like a good time.
On the day my wife left for California, I put on some music (Alexa, play songs by the Rolling Stones) and stayed up until 3 am working on it. The next day I started in again spending more than 12 hours on it. And the day after. I reached a point where all the photos were in categories. Now I could start comparing and getting rid of duplicates. And I did that for the rest of that day. And the day after. It felt good to finally be working on this task and looking at the photos brought back lots of good memories.
I completed my first pass through all the photos and felt quite a sense of accomplishment. Time for a li hing margarita and watch some YouTube music videos. The first video it offered me was one of my favorites, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the 2004 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Tom Petty, Prince, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others, in a tribute to George Harrison. George Harrison’s son was also on stage playing guitar. It’s a great recording with amazing guitar work by Prince. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link.
Part way through the song, I remembered that Tom Petty died last year, and Prince the year before that. Then I thought about my wife’s friend’s husband. And then I burst into tears, not something I usually do. I tried to figure out why and decided I was feeling mortal myself. Life is so short. Make music while you can.
That was last night. I finished my drink, took the dog for a walk, and went to bed. I woke up this morning and went out for my neighborhood walk. I started thinking again about life and what it might mean. I thought about all the beautiful places I’ve visited on this earth (I’d been looking at all the photos) and thought about the places I still haven’t visited.
I thought about my grandmother, my mom’s mother, who died many years ago and who always wanted to visit Hawaii, but never did. I wish I had done more to help her make the trip. She would have had that memory for the rest of her life, however long that might have been. And of course, if I had helped make her trip possible, I would have had my memories (and photos) of her once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii. Life is so short. Travel while you can.
I retired from full time work in 2016. I still do some consulting work (if it’s an interesting project and if I have the skills to help) and I still teach a GIS class at the local community college. I don’t miss driving in to the office every day, but I do I miss the opportunity I had to share my knowledge and help people find success with maps and GIS. For my retirement, my colleagues in Redlands made a video that touched me deeply. Yes, that’s my mom at the end of the video. If you’d like to see the video, here’s the link.
My colleagues in Hawaii threw a wonderful retirement party for me that was lots of fun, great to see everyone, mostly for the last time. I made a scrapbook for them (and for me) of some of my memories of working with them – the people who’ve inspired me and the projects we’ve worked on. If you’d like to see the scrapbook, here’s the link. Life is so short. Choose interesting work with great people.
Music, travel and work are meaningful things in my life. What is meaningful in life for me may not be what is meaningful for others, but everyone does things that are meaningful for them and has memories of those things they have done. That’s why we each do them – because those things are meaningful to us at that time and we enjoy the memories. Think about what’s meaningful for you – and do those things. Life is so short. Create enjoyable memories for yourself and others.
But not all memories are enjoyable. Things happen in life, there are troubles, there is pain, there is heartache. Those memories are not enjoyable but are a part of everyone’s life. Family, friends, church, clubs, even work – people we know, can help soothe the pain and can sometimes help us find a solution to the trouble.
Other things happen in life, there are triumphs, there is joy, there is love. Those memories are also part of everyone’s life. Family, friends, church, clubs, even work – people we know, can help celebrate the joy and can sometimes help us bring about the triumph.
Life is transitory. Our memories are transitory, they die with us. So why do we do these things if our memory of them is transitory? Because that is the meaning of life, each of us doing things that are meaningful to us and enjoying our memories of them as long as we each shall live. Life is so short. Don’t wait, live life now.