I like to look back on my year every December to see where I can make changes to be a more productive human being for the coming year. I figure that at my age, I'd better make things count because I likely only have another 10 years where I can make contributions to our society and community. And that assumes that my good health holds up. After that, my body definitely will have deteriorated and I may be more of a liability than an asset to people and organizations. Even today, some question whether I'm of sound mind and body.
I have been in semi-retirement since 1989 so my income is somewhat limited, and thus, I am very careful on what causes I contribute to. I am still lucky enough to be able to give more than twice what the current Vice-President of the United States gives to charities. For that, I am grateful. The more the government takes from me, the less I will have left to give. The children are out of the house and my dog passed away in 2009 so I don't have people or animals to take care of. Thus, I've also been able to contribute more of my time, talent and ideas to selected causes. This blog will also be a year old in a few days.
Soldier protecting his country
Making the most of my time means that I may need to make choices based upon circumstances that come with aging. Having good bowel movements would be a concern every morning, I suppose. So would not laughing so hard that one's dentures fell out. All concerns that would await me in the future, I'm sure.
I have always made it a habit to help others in ways that are inexpensive by opening up my network of friends to each other. If someone is unemployed and another friend has a business that needs someone with his skills, I go out of my way to introduce them to each other. I do these things even in my daily activities.
For instance, I make an effort buy goods from K-Mart/Sears when I can. Sears has a policy of making up the difference in salaries for employees who are in the reserves and are activated for our war effort so I want to show my appreciation to the corporation. I buy from the local supermarket rather than Costco or military exchanges because I want to make sure the local supermarket doesn't go bankrupt and pull out of my community. Anyone can do these things. And, it makes a difference in the community that you live in.
You may be wondering where I'm going with all this besides boasting about myself.
I've consistently argued that in order for our society to become whole again, we must contribute our time, talent and resources to make things better. The more government gets involved, the more expensive it gets and the job doesn't get done.
I may not have the talent or ability to do certain things. But, I know others who do. So I refer things to them and offer my expertise for projects they may be working on in exchange. Too often, people don't refer projects or business to friends because they fear that if something bad happens, it'll reflect upon them.
Well, the only way to have things run perfectly is if one does nothing. No matter what you do, you'll make mistakes. So will your friends. Pick yourself up and make things right. Then, you will have a collection of completed projects that you can be proud of. When a friend asks for help, do what you can. The friend asked you because he trusts you. Help could simply be an introduction to someone who can help solve your friend's problem.
This blog has chronicled my observations for almost a year now. I've tried to write at least an article a week. I've had to scrap a few features on people from time to time because I've been asked by the subjects to change a few things and I refused to compromise the integrity of the blog. If I allowed others to edit my observations, then it would no longer be my observations. It would be a P.R. piece for others.
I will continue to make observations, particularly those affecting our kupunas, but the articles may be reduced to twice or once a month. This leaves more time for my volunteering activities.
My entertainment schedule is taxing, not only because I do between 150 to 200 dates a year volunteering, but because my audiences are mostly people I entertain weekly. Thus, I need to have multiple shows and songs to present because they get bored, hearing the same songs and jokes every week. I need to concentrate on developing better shows and also do more performances with other musicians/dancers/singers.
This past year, I've cut back on providing music for funerals. In the past, I've volunteered my time and talents because I've believed that my music is part of the healing process for families and loved ones of the deceaseds. I still did 3 funerals this past year, but they had to call and request my services, which I gladly did so voluntarily.
Finally, I've cut back considerably on paid jobs. I will not do piano bars and will do private parties only if the gig intrigues me. And I can cull jobs by quoting higher fees. And, to support my fellow musicians, I will continue my policy of not performing for free on commercial projects. If the gig is a fundraiser for a legitimate cause, I will donate all or most of my fee back to the cause.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.