Blogging is an interesting process. It involves some research and a lot of writing. It involves remembering events and decisions that might prove useful or helpful to others. It also involves exposing details of one's life that usually are kept private, especially on an Internet platform. A blogger must open up enough with readers so a virtual connection is made.
Regular readers of Satisfying Retirement know a fair amount about me, my wife, Betty, and our retirement lifestyle. But, something I read on another blog recently got me to think about some other parts of my life that may give the BRITW a clearer glimpse into some of my motivations and personality. Without getting too personal here are some parts of my life that have made me who I am today. Maybe you can see some similarities.
I quit my first job as a camp counselor in training. The reason says a lot about the strength of my ties to family (and something about my maturity level at the time). I quit because I was homesick. At age 14 that might strike you as a little weird. I had been to summer camp as an attendee for several 2-3 week stints and did just fine. But, suddenly being in charge of 11 younger boys for 8 weeks was more than I was ready to tackle. After a week I called my parents to come and get me. To their eternal credit they did not discuss my "failure" but simply took me home.
As these things sometimes happen, being home that summer meant I was able, a few months later, to find a small local radio station that would hire me as a part time janitor, opening the door to my eventual 35 year career in broadcasting. That "failure" ended up being a life changer for me.
My college degree had absolutely nothing to do with my career path. By the time I was ready for college I knew what my career would be. I was fully committed to radio. I was accepted at Syracuse University and started attending in the fall of 1967. I applied because Syracuse had one of the top broadcasting programs in the country. But, after attending a few of the classes and seeing their facilities it became quite apparent that area of study was going to be bad choice. The techniques I was being taught were old-fashioned and not practical, like how to produce radio dramas. The campus radio station was set up like stations in the 1940's, teaching skills that no longer existed in the real world.
So, I ending up switching majors to International Relations. Syracuse had a strong reputation for training diplomats and those in government service who worked overseas. When I told my fellow students I wanted to play records on the radio they wondered about my sanity. But as it turns out, that college major was an excellent choice. I studied political science, political geography, history, social sciences, research and public relations, art history, plus a smattering of debate techniques . I wanted a well rounded liberal arts education and got it. The fact that it had absolutely nothing to do with my job was a plus.
I started to smoke for an incredibly dumb reason. Both my parents were smokers during the period when virtually every adult did. But, they both quit sometime in late 1950's. I never learned why but they showed me it could be done. Later I would use that strength to help me.
I began smoking at age 20 for the dumbest reason in the world: so I would not cough when I was handed a joint at a party. I took up a habit that is dirty, dangerous, costly, and makes you smell like an ashtray so I could smoke an illegal drug with friends. My only excuse was this was the 1960's: joints and college students were good friends. Couple that with my job playing rock records and partying with rock artists and smoking a "J" was almost a requirement.
A few years later the joints disappeared from my life when I grasped how stupid it was. But, by now I was hooked on cigarettes. My constant travel, being alone in airplanes and hotels for days at a time keep me puffing away for years. Finally, a combination of events and a desire to not have my growing children aware that daddy smoked lead me to quit cold turkey. It was miserable but necessary. That was close to 30 years ago and I haven't been tempted since. Looking back, the reason I started to smoke seems so ridiculous. But, at the time it was a completely logical choice!
Not quite as interesting but still part of the story I came from a family of librarian's which may explain my love of books and reading. I am a ham radio operator which allows me to still "be on the radio" but in a very different way. I am a dog person and believe that cats are not mentioned in the Bible for a reason. OK, that last sentence is a bit snarky. Cats have their place, just not in my house.
So, there you have it: a bit more about the the person who fills this blog space. What do you think? Are you now a little worried about me? Do you fear I may be a bad influence? Or, can we all agree growing up involves a fair number of wrong choices? By the way, Betty and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary two weeks ago. None of this is new information to her!
Anything you'd like to share? Feel free to make up a fake name or use the anonymous choice if you'd feel more comfortable!