Finishing Volume 43 and reflecting on 2017

Finishing Volume 43 and reflecting on 2017

As the current year’s final hours tick by, I wax nostalgic about the binder full of daily entries I have compiled since January 1st.  The December 31st entry will bear the cataloged number of 43-365 and will mark the end of my 43rd volume of daily records, a personal activity which I began in the middle of my sophomore year of high school on January 1st, 1975.  This dedication to what is viewed mostly as a constructive personal discipline may impress a few but for the most part the feedback I have received is wrought with indifference.  This is likely due to the boring life that I tend to lead, a fact that I readily concede.  I mean just how interesting can one describe a middle aged divorced male stuck in a career rut that gets repeated over and over?  That said,  I am deeply immersed in the times in which I live.  I have a core group of eclectic and like-minded friends and most of us are heavily involved in making our community a better place.  Moreover, it is hard to live in this particular day and age without noticing all the interesting things that are happening around us.  From state of the art technological advancements to evolving social mores to changing viewpoints on long held community values all of which revolve around my own acute awareness that we will not be here forever.

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to inherent intelligence that I am about as average as average comes.  The one thing keeping a journal has proven to me over time is that you don’t have to command a world class intellect in order to keep a record of daily events and happenings of things going on in the World that directly effect your life.  These things range from executive decisions by our elected leaders of government, business decisions by employers and clients who may depend on us or for whom we provide services, our own friends and family members dealing with the same aforementioned dynamics and even total strangers and how we may relate to them.  Sure, many other things matter like the weather be it good or bad, economic issues and even our own health.  Overall though, this common experience known as life is ultimately about relationships and how well we tend to them.  How one interprets reality matters and detailing in writing how you experienced it can come in handy years later when memories begin to fade.  According to an old close friend with whom I shared many common experiences which I duly recorded in an early journal volume, in terms of “who was doing what with whom and where,” my record is very credible.  Expounding upon rudimentary thought processes so many years after a series of significant memories were jotted down is perhaps a bridge too far just as it was for my old friend.  In spite of years after the fact hindsight analysis of in-the-moment teenage motivation, that old handwritten journal volume does make for wonderful documented book of memories on which to base an intriguing coming of age novel that could warm even the coldest of hearts.  The idea of that project is very viable as this record of my early life contains much material from which to draw intriguing story lines.

1977 Personal Journal

True, there wasn’t a lot that I wrote in those early volumes, the first four of which were kept in spiral notebooks.  The good news is that as life became more sophisticated the manner of my daily writings about that life kept pace.  From “Nothing Books” to a green Navy log book to nicely bound legal sized ledgers, all my daily entries were hand written in pen and ink up until 1996.

 

 

With the advent of user friendly software and the integration of a PC and/or laptop into my life, from 1996 to present my daily routine has involved typing my journal entry into a Word file.  One file per month after which a hard copy is printed and placed into a three-ring binder.  Scanning technology has helped preserve all the old longhand volumes.

1995 Personal Daily Journal

When the most notable events of 2017 are written up by those doctorate level history scholars, the most important thing about them will be how the disenfranchised majority has responded.  For all the problems, pitfalls and self-inflicted damage the Democratic Party has withstood, their future looks very optimistic and organized better than they have been in several years. Overall there has been very little those out of power could do but watch in horror and disgust as the first year of the *Trump era progressed from one disgrace to another or from one avoidable tragedy to the next.  Deconstructing American democracy has been the order of the day.  Of course this destructive approach to (non) governing has not upset everyone but certainly it has piqued the concern of enough people to matter.  The true colors of the current Oval Office occupant have come shining through brightly and that is enough to mobilize his opposition to mount a credible challenge to every legislative seat in the nation.

Locally along this most conservative segment of Old Route 66, Oklahoma’s Republican governor had to call the GOP-controlled Oklahoma Legislature back for a special session TWICE  just to muster a bare bones budget to pay for the state’s basic core services!  I wouldn’t mind so much that Oklahoma’s Republicans are showing to the World that governing a U.S. State is not their strong suit if I didn’t have to suffer so many of the consequences of their mismanagement.  It would be nice to have access to a competitive health insurance market, infrastructure that at least has a bare minimum of maintenance and a public education system that is not a national laughingstock amongst other things, but we can all still dream.  Hard work and determination have helped Oklahoma Democrats pick up a few special election seats but it remains to be seen if that success can keep moving forward.  It is comforting to know that there will be no lack of enthusiasm in fueling the interest to repair our broken state government in the next election cycle.

On a personal level, I have felt the effects of Father Time on my aging body in 2017 but all the aches and pains aside I am grateful to still enjoy a modicum of wellness.  I remain gainfully employed and am pulling my own weight.  I still have a healthy respect for life and, with some help from my friends, a zest for living.

Looking back on the year, 2017 for me has delivered its fair share of disappointments.  The cold hard truth came home to roost as it became ever more apparent that my community is but a microcosm of a deeply polarized nation.  This could best be seen at my 40th high school reunion.  I had been heavily involved in the organizing of both the 20th and 30th reunions but as the 40th approached I could feel my level of enthusiasm waning by the day.  I did attend three of the four reunion events but I must admit so much forced politeness really wore me out.  Of the few silver linings of this year the one that made everything worth it was meeting the fabulous Lori in late April.  We’ve been an item since May and our union is very promising.  Plan on hearing more about her and us in future posts.  The first of two great concerts of the year was Kansas and their Leftoverture tour stop at the Brady in March.  There is nothing like rocking out to the sounds of your youth in the same venue where you attended your first concert 40 years before to the very evening.

The other great concert was Roger Waters playing the music of Pink Floyd at the BOK in early June.

Seeing an old shipmate who drove all the way from Houston with his wife to see that show made that one extra special.  Friends, good music in great venues and great food in nice establishments really made this stretch of Old Route 66 habitable in 2017.

It has been an unexpectedly great year for the Oklahoma Sooners as they are entering the post-season ranked #2 and are playing the #3 Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl in the first round of the college football playoff.  I am intent of keeping my OU Football season tickets for the foreseeable future.  OU Quarterback Baker Mayfield winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy was the icing on the cake in a regular season where I watched OU beaten on their home field by Iowa State for the first time since 1990.  This OU team has proven there is redemption in victory.

The Grim Reaper exacted a few entertainers and celebrities in 2017 who will be sorely missed.  Tom Petty, Fats Domino, Hugh Hefner, Glenn Campbell, Jerry Lewis, David Cassidy and Gregg Allman to name a few who have left us a litany of memories.  For every person who leaves us it drives home the point that life is about relationships and living is chocked full of loss.  This has been a year full of work for me and, for better or worse, that is likely how I will remember it.  In terms of the big picture, it is the existential challenge of our life and times to remember not how cataclysmic events or personal life crises made our lives difficult but how well we rebounded, regrouped and rose to meet the challenge these things imposed upon us.  We are still here and we are not going away, yet anyway, so lets remember the good times we had in 2017 and celebrate good friends and all that define us as the people we aspire to be.  I may not be able to wave a magic wand and cure all the maladies that plague mankind but I can sure take due note of who does what with which and to whom.  Tomorrow night I will hereby finish Volume 43 and bid 2017 farewell.  Thank you all for following.  Peace, out!

 

7 Comments

  1. Kenny Nipp
    Jan 2, 2018

    In all seriousness. You’re missing out on just how important your early writing really is. It is a time capsule to the past and should be preserved for all time.
    In all seriousness, please scan your library into digital, make several hard CD copies and store a copy on the cloud. Give several people copies so if anything happens to one, the others are preserved.
    A hundred years from now, your work will be priceless.

  2. Lori Holyfied
    Dec 31, 2017

    Here’s to wishing us all good health and a happy happy New Year

  3. Lori Holyfied
    Dec 31, 2017

    Thanks for including me sweetie

  4. Route66Kid
    Dec 31, 2017

    Thank you, Kendel. It was wonderful to finally catch up with you, too.

  5. Route66Kid
    Dec 31, 2017

    Cliff, thank you Shipmate! I also see a future with Lori and I. Thanks again!

  6. Cliff Jenke
    Dec 31, 2017

    Stan, your words and how you express them never cease
    to amaze me. You make me wish I would have keeped a journal
    during my service in the U.S. Navy. Thanks to you, you had refreshed my memories with your journals. I’m proud to have served with you shipmate. Please say hello to Lori. I found her to
    be nice and very personalable. I see a future for you and her.

  7. Kendel Hall
    Dec 30, 2017

    Stan, your words always give me focus and hope! I can easily get caught up in negativity and hopelessness, but I will also remember that it is how we respond and what we learn and how we grow strong in the face of life’s challenges. Growing up is a lot harder than I thought, and reminding myself that each person’s point of view deserves respect gets more difficult than it had once been. It was great to see you at the reunion. I do wish you and Lori the best in 2018!

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