Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Road Ahead (#IWSG) and #BOTB results


      Do you ever wonder where the hell you're going?    I've never liked traveling without a map--or these days my GPS--and yet I often forge ahead through life with few or no long range plans.  Seems crazy I suppose, but then again I avoid the disappointment of plans that get screwed up.  


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog




In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?

         This question ties in with the question asked in my previous post, What Does Retirement Look Like For You?   Since I am retired now, any thoughts of a future writing career are certainly tied into my life in retirement as it is. 

          Then there is a question of will I be around in five years?  I live with the intent of going strong for many years to come, but then I look at my father who suddenly left his life before he even actually retired from his job.  I don't think he was planning on such a quick earthly departure, but it happened to him just as it can unpredictably happen to me, you, or anyone. 

        Do I have a writing career ahead of me?  Will I even still be blogging if I reach that five years in question?  My life strategy has been to not have much of a strategy.  I live, I learn, I forget, and tomorrow comes before I realize that today has passed and yesterdays are distant memories that are more like pages from a book than any actual life I've lived.  

        I've lived a life worth living and continue onward as though it will never end.  There are few plans for me other than I plan to have fish for dinner tonight, have company coming over for dinner on Saturday, and in a couple of weeks my kids and grandkids are coming to visit for Christmas.  But that latter plan seems like a long time right now.  Five years is forever, but it is also like a blink of an eye.

        Perspectively speaking, I'm lousy at writing as a business.  And sadly in a way, I don't particularly have much concern about it.  Happily, I have a contentment with life and an optimism for the good things ahead, if not in this world, in the infinite eternity of God's grace.  

         I'll write as the spirit moves me and if writing success is somewhere in the years ahead then that is exactly what was meant to be.  For now though, the spirit is moving me to clean the kitchen and straighten up my office.   Then after a good night's sleep tonight, I'll look forward to another great day of being alive.  

Battle of the Bands Results




      In some ways my previous Battle using the song "Scandinavian Shuffle" provided a somewhat unexpected outcome. But then maybe it should not have been any real surprise.  I think both versions that I used are extremely good.  My dilemma of choosing a favorite is so difficult that I'm tempted to forego making the choice at all.  And either way I choose would be of no consequence to the outcome of this highly lopsided contest.   Therefore I'm going to go with the big winner which was the vocal ensemble Real Group.  

       I'm usually partial to violin music, but I do enjoy a good a cappella group.   So did most of the voters in this Battle...

Final Vote Tally

Real Group         18 votes

Mads Tolling         4 votes

Next Battle on Thursday December 15th

       In my next Battle I'll be staying within the Christmas spirit without resorting to actual Christmas songs.  You'll probably be familiar with the song I'll be using which may or may not be derived from another musical piece with which you may not be familiar.  However before we get to that Battle I'll be continuing with a couple more posts in my President Trump Acclimation Series--yes, I'm continuing with this as long as I keep seeing silliness online, on television, and elsewhere.  Wow, that could be a long, long time.   Then again I might just get fed up and move into the wilderness, off the grid, and surviving off the land.   Probably not, but you never know.

        What do you foresee in your life five years from now?  Are you a careful planner or do you just live relatively randomly?    Are you optimistic about the coming year?

       

52 comments:

  1. Super post, Arlee and so refreshing. I love how you are enjoying life and have a great outlook. Sometimes, we do get bogged down with too many ambitions and life quests, and miss out on the actual enjoyment of living. Wishing you a super December! In the words of Spock: Live long and prosper!! All the best.

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    1. Nicola, looking to prosper more so I can live longer in greater comfort.

      Thanks for your kind comment.

      Lee

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  2. You know I really like your summation "Happily, I have a contentment with life and an optimism for the good things ahead, if not in this world, in the infinite eternity of God's grace."
    Because that is really what it is all about. Finding the contentment whether the glass is overflowing or just full. To know that I am content and experiencing the infinite grace of God.
    I love your post.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Pat, I love your comment! Thanks for the encouragement.

      Lee

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  3. I share your attitude about a writing future. I'm not too concerned. Besides, I didn't plan the last five years. Why start planning now?

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    1. Alex, if you don't plan then everything that comes is like a surprise. Christmas all year long!

      Lee

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  4. I'm much the same as you. I write because I like to write. I'm in no hurry and have no worries of deadlines. It's something I do because it's fun for me. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    1. Elsie, I'm feeling like I'm in better company than I thought! All of us aimless wanderers just having fun in our travels and travails of life.

      Lee

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  5. Just enjoying life and take it as it comes is a good way to be. You never know how it will go, taking things in each day let's you enjoy it more than getting overwhelmed by one goal, thing, etc. Staying whelmed is far more fun.

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    1. Pat, whelmed works for me. Even underwhelmed cuts down on a lot of stress.

      Lee

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  6. Five years from now back to being independent and working from home once again and not for someone else. And I also write because I like to write. It's who I am.

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    1. Stephen, stay true to thyself and working for thyself can help in that.

      Lee

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  7. After reading a few books about government shenanigans, moving off the grid doesn't sound like a bad idea. I'd like to find more readers. That's my goal.

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    1. Tamara, finding more readers probably requires staying on the grid to some extent. I don't think I'm cut out for survivalist prepperism. Getting too old for those shenanigans.

      Lee

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  8. It's interesting that you mentioned blogging, because at the end of my next five years, I don't think I will still be blogging. Three years from now, I know my blogging will be less. I may only be doing IWSG, if the monthly blog hop is still strong, and I hope it will be. :)

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    1. Chrys, if my current ambivalence toward blogging continues in the trend that it has been going of late, I might not be blogging either. Then again, I might be blogging more than ever before. Hope your blogging cutback will be due to your great writing success.

      Lee

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  9. Everything is in God's hands anyway! You made a great point:)

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    1. Jennifer, so true--we don't necessarily know what tomorrow will bring and even when we are reasonably sure there is always a strong chance that our plans can be changed without notice.

      Lee

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  10. That's why they call today the Present, right?

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    1. Loni, that's why we need the presence of mind to understand the precocious nature of time and tide.

      Lee

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  11. Writing as a business isn't for everyone. Besides, the business part can suck all joy out of it.

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    1. L.Diane, I'm retired. Why should I want business? And who needs money?

      Lee

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  12. Interesting that while many are contemplating not blogging in five years, I am trying to focus on more consistent blogging, hoping that I can eventually use the platform to generate some additional income. I have been doing transcription from home for the last 16 years (!) and while that "business" is slowly dwindling due to many factors (shipping it overseas or DIY dictation software being two big culprits), the thought of having to go out in the "real world" and get a job makes me nauseous. I've always wanted to be a writer and blogging seems to be a good way for me to practice that. Thanks, Arlee for another great post! PS., When you are done cleaning your kitchen, you can come and do mine :)

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    1. Janet, my kitchen cleaning never seems to end so I guess mine is about all I can handle. Maybe if my wife and I stopped eating at home? After so many years not working at a "real job" I don't know that I'd be able to conform to one now. Maybe there's a place for me somewhere as a social rebel.

      Lee

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  13. There are cultures that don't have a future tense in their language. They believe that predicting the future is a sign of madness. I think I should look into that culture. As I grow older, they're starting to make a lot of sense.

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    1. C.Lee, especially in our age where changes come so quickly and crazily.

      Lee

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  14. I have gotten by many a sad day by dreaming about getting out of the chaos. I guess that makes me a planner of sorts, however, organization is something I have to force. I am good at gumption though. I have lots of fire to move and I think moving is my favorite part in planning. I do like your outlook. I do like how much you live in each day.

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    1. Erika, when I think about my father and other loved ones who've passed on, I see that certain futility of always bypassing what is in front of us today as we look towards a future that doesn't come. Still some planning is necessary.

      Lee

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  15. That battle of the bands results left no doubt as to who the winner was among voters. I didn't know when I turned 18 that before I became thirty that I would have early onset artritis. Life can change in a blink of an eye and at 32 I just don't feel like grabbing a five year plan. But back in 2009 I took on the crazy Oprah challenge of writing a letter of goals to myself to be opened in 2019. I kind of dread that letter now. Less than 3 years to go. Which is why I somehow keep 'losing it' among my stuff until it falls out a book or something. I'm just focusing on 2017. That's enough. Looking forward to your next Trump post Arlee.

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    1. Sheena-kay, a letter to future self could be a bummer, but it could also be a surprise. Arthritis at any age is unpleasant, but all the more so for someone still young.

      Lee

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  16. Enjoying life is what it's all about. "I'll write as the spirit moves me and if writing success is somewhere in the years ahead then that is exactly what was meant to be." My philosophy, as well. ☺ Looks like your battle was also a blowout. Oh well! Win some, lose some.

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    1. Debbie D, I've enjoyed my life and have always felt blessed even in the worst times--life is never all bad. Que sera, sera.

      Definitely a lopsided battle, but still a good one. That crazy song has been looping in my head for days.

      Lee

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  17. LEE ~
    This outcome didn't surprise me any. Both recordings were excellent, but I think that in general the BOTB audience is more geared toward vocals than instrumentals. Just as it essentially leans more toward Rock and guitar-centric songs than other types of music.

    But I always go ahead and assemble Battles that I personally find interesting, even if I suspect some of them are likely to end in blowouts. It's really only the dreaded "shutout" that I try hard to avoid.

    A blowout in a Battle that I conceptually like does not bother me. In fact, I prefer it to a tie. A shutout, however, is not something I EVER want to experience. There's just no way of spinning THAT to make it more palatable.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. STMcC, I concur completely. There were some other instrumentals of the song that were even better I thought, but they weren't live performances and I like to put the Battles on an equal playing field. I might use this song again someday.

      Lee

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  18. Hi Arlee, enjoyed your post thanks - 5 years from now? Who knows. If I think back 5 years, I wouldn't have known that we'd downsize (3 years ago). I wouldn't have known that our current president and his cronies would be looting the store, nor would I have known that the opposition parties are making strong inroads into halting corruption - or that our past president (Nelson Mandela) would die - 3 years ago.
    So, 5 years from now ... can retirement be seen as reFirement? Why not ...

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    1. Susan S.--things can change drastically in a month, a week, or even a day. A lot can happen in five years.

      Lee

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  19. I'm more of a planner, but I like your sense of adventure. It's no doubt how/why you've seen and done and learned so much ;-)

    I'm highly optimistic about the coming year, which is a very welcome change. I suppose it's part of aging that makes me want to slow things down a bit; to bask in the warmth of contentment, rather than weathering so many storms. Not so much giving up, but letting go - of things that aren't going to matter in five years anyway. I think we think the same on that ;-)

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    1. Diedre, it's better to be optimistic about the future--not only for mental health, but for physical health. We should always be willing to consider the adventures and opportunities that are offered to us, but keep them in perspective as well.

      Lee

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  20. The unbalanced outcome of this BOTB would have been difficult for me to have predicted beforehand, though I am not surprised at which contestant won.

    Like you, I have been very introspective lately. Looking back over the years has hammered home how quickly time has passed and how life has led me in surprising directions, mostly good ones, over the last 30 years. Wow... 30 years.

    I think that your blogging and writing will be determined by what you want to get out of it. I spent most of my life in careers that involve some element of getting paid for writing. It was never easy to make money doing it, but these days it is almost impossible to earn an income through writing. By far the easiest (if you can find a job) is to find some other business that needs a writer and get hired. Trying to go it alone and earn an income is wildly difficult. The Internet has changed many things - some for the better - but one of those is that people want sumpin' for nuttin' in almost every department. There is so much out there for free, why pay for anything?

    The theory that if you build up traffic on your site you can gain income from click-thru ads has always seemed far-fetched. You'd have to get a "YUGE" amount of traffic... and are those companies paying for the ads getting anything out of it? I doubt it. I've NEVER clicked on one of those intentionally.

    Were I blogging, my goal would not be to earn money but to say things that I thought people needed to hear that they could not hear somewhere else. And I am not a blogger primarily because I DON'T think that I have anything to say that others are not writing, or that readers would find interesting. That, and my curmudgeonly opinion that most people are nincompoops and not only would they not understand, they would pitch me crap about whatever I wrote. So... no nuggets of wisdom from me other than the occasional pearls found in your or McCarthy's comment sections!

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    1. SBB6, always happy to have your wisdom shared at my site.

      Though my original intent of blogging was to earn some sort of income, I found out quickly that this goal would not suit me or what I was writing. For now I'm going to just express myself and maybe add something to the world conversation that might make sense to someone somewhere. Though getting paid for some writing would be a nice thing to have happen. Like you say, the paid writing part is probably not going to happen to any great extent by what I do on the internet.

      Lee

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  21. It's funny how some people have all these goals and know where they want to be five years from now. I used to be driven like that. Now that I'm getting close to fifty, I just don't operate like that. I keep learning and creating, but I'm just taking it day by day and seeing where the road goes.

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    1. Sherry, I won't say I don't have some dreams stashed in my mind because I don't want to jinx them by announcing them. But dreams are airy things and never etched in stone.

      Lee

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  22. My generation doesn't really have things like retirement plans (that are in any way feasible) so I've just accepted that I'll work until I die. So for the next five years, my plan is this - enjoy my youth!

    Sorry to have missed your battle. Not that our vote would have made much difference either way, but we'll be back for the next one.

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    1. Beer, gather your rosebuds while ye may then work your ass off when you're old and gray.


      Lee

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  23. Lee, Your battle outcome was like mine - terribly lopsided.

    What do you foresee in your life five years from now? I'm not sure where I see my life in five years. I hope to have something figured out regarding earning money from home but like you said if it's meant to be then it will happen.

    Are you a careful planner or do you just live relatively randomly? I'm random kind of gal with limited planning.

    Are you optimistic about the coming year? Oh, yes I'm very optimistic. Trump winning the election feels me with a sense of better things to come. I know he won't get every thing accomplished but he's sure making a great start even before he's taken office.

    Have a good weekend, my friend!

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  24. Cathy, sometimes randomness in our approach to life leaves us more open to new opportunities that come our way that we might not otherwise notice if we were focused on specific goals. Most good things in my life came to me unexpectedly.

    Lee

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  25. I'm not good at planning. I can't even think 5 years ahead. I'm a day by day kind of gal. I just hope that my decisions I make today will benefit me in the future.

    Re: your battle: I'm not surprised the a capella version won over the instrumental. Both were good though...

    Have a good weekend!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, life planning I haven't been so good at, but for something like planning a trip I am an expert. Like you, I'm better at day by day planning than thinking in terms of years.

      Lee

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  26. Your post could have been written by me, Lee. Every time I make solid plans, something happens to mess them up, so now that I'm in my 70s I've learned to go with the flow. My dad died at age 61 but my mom is still alive at 97 -- anything can happen.

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    1. Patricia, books can be planned, but lives don't necessarily adhere to the outline we may have drawn out ahead of time.

      Lee

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  27. I'm not a planner or well-organized at all, which probably surprises some folks, since I'm over half German. It's a very German trait to be super-organized. I prefer to go with the flow, with some general idea of what I want the future to be like. Once upon a time, I sincerely believed I'd be married and have a bunch of kids by this age, but life had other plans in store for me.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, I think the ability to be flexible and improvise when necessary is an important survival trait. Rigid plans are easily blown and if that's what we've counted on in life then it can have a devastating impact on us. Go with the flow is the way I tend to go.
      Lee

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee