Sunday, September 20, 2015

No Regrets

My ship is coming in - soon


As I approach my 74th birthday in a few months, I look back on my life and ask myself "Do I have any regrets?"

Of course I do.  Many small ones, too numerous to mention and not significantly life changing.

My biggest regret was financial that took place nine years ago.  I've already written about it in previous blog posts so I won't go into the painful detail in this post.  Basically I could have sold our house in Pennsylvania five days after I had it on the market for $640,000 but I laughed at the offer because I had it on the market for $700,000.  I sold our house eleven months later for $500,000.  We almost went down the tubes on that one folks.  That was the closest call I've ever had in my life of total financial ruin.  This on top of losing almost a quarter of a million dollars (yep, $250,000) in the Great Financial Market Meltdown of 2000.  Still here folks, a survivor.

I've had a long life.  I've been at many crossroads where I had to make a choice of what direction to take my life.  Most of the time I took the right choice, several times I took the wrong road but by luck and survival skills (I have great survivor skills), I managed to right the course of the Tipton Life Tall Ship.


Me, Philadelphia (and 145 lbs) - 1969


Over my bed, I have a magnificent picture of a tall ship that Bill gave to me on our first anniversary. I've always viewed that image of that tall ship as my life.  Beautiful, graceful and (sometimes) subject to stormy seas.  But in the end still sailing in magnificent waters.  One day my ship will come to shore.  That day will be here sooner than later, that is for sure.  And that is why these days I sometimes reflect on any regrets that I have in my life.

Looking back perhaps the one thing I would do was to pay more attention in English class.  I love writing and the English language.  But the school I attended spent way too much time on Shakespeare, split infinitives (never did get that), and reading assignments like "Mill on the Floss" (was there ever a more boring book)?  In spite of my poor education I managed to overcome my lack of expertise in the English language and write.  I started with pen pals, journals, and now blogging. 


Me, on left arms folded with my two younger brothers, my Aunt Mabel and our Mom - 1951

Another regret I have is that I never learned to play the piano.  Oh I know I would been good.  Oh I learned to play a musical instrument, the Sousaphone which some people misidentify as a tuba (which it is definitely not).  I envied my classmates that complained about taking piano lessons.  Oh how I wish my parents would have provided piano lessons for me.  However, it was not to be.  My father was more concerned with having his three sons weed his fields of corn.


Me "playing" drums in high school - sure - just posing for a high school  year book picture

Other than those regrets, I don't have too many others that I can even remember.  I don't even regret the failed love affairs I was in because I learned from them and God knows I loved which is always worth it.  I would rather have had a life of loving and lost than not having love at all.  Isn't there a quote somewhere to that effect?

Here are some things I DON'T regret.  I don't regret having met Bill when I was 22 years old and spending the next fifty-one years with him.  Has it always been a bowl of cherries with Bill?  Of course not but through it all, we always knew we had each other's enduring love. We're still here and my only wish now is that whichever one of us goes first, the other will be right there bedside to hold his hand.  


My brother Isaac, me and Bill - 2013

Me and Bill - Philadelphia 1979 (those plaid pants are LONG gone)

I don't regret coming out at 21 years old.  One of the best decisions I ever made in my life.  I knew at that time I wasn't going live my life as a lie, hiding from people my true self, permitting people to control my life.  In the ensuing years I've seen so many of my fellow gay peers having lived those lives, sometimes with disastrous results.  Oh no, not for me.  Of course I lost half my friends (so called) when I came out, have lost two good jobs because I was openly gay and even to this day am estranged from my family because I dared to get married and have it publicized.  But do I have regrets?  No way.  Anyone who has a problem with me being gay, it's THEIR problem be they Mike Huckabee or my brother's pastor.  THEIR PROBLEM.  


One day I will be in the horizon - that I know

I joined the Army when I was 18 years old.  Another great decision.  Never regretted it.  


That's me on the left (unrecognizable) - 1960


The jobs I've had, all great even the ones where I lost them because I was gay.  They were good while they lasted. 

From the time I was twelve years old I had a goal in mind.  To have my own home and to live in that home with a person whom I loved and who loved me.  I achieved that goal. 

So as I wait for the curtain to come up on the final act of my life, I reflect, do I have any regrets?  No, not really (except for that house sale, that still nags at me). 
Me in picture booth (1956) - I still LOVE to have my picture taken even though I'm falling apart these days
But I have lived and I have loved and been loved.  What more could I ever ask from life? 

No friends, I have no regrets.

20 comments:

  1. Don't let the house deal get to you. If you sold it for more than you bought it for(or paid to have it built)you came out ahead.
    No regrets!

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    1. Denise,
      I paid $125,000 for the house (1980) and sold it for $500,000. The person who brought it couldn't keep up the payments and the house was foreclosed on. It sat abandoned for two years until someone bought it at a Sheriff's sale for $302,000. So I guess I came out ahead, especially when some advised I "hold on to it" (this was in 2006) until the price rose again. But still, I could probably have sold it for $640,000. My bad.
      Ron

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  2. "To have my own home and to live in that home with a person whom I loved and who loved me." Well Ron, that sums it up for me too. Norma and I bought our own home in 1972 --a kinder economy then, even though we didn't think so at the time (payments were cheaper than renting!)-- and have moved only once, 33 years ago. But the point is, we have a home with love and respect in it --and your post has nailed it. That's the important part, the point at which we can dig our heels into the ground, look the future in the eye and be brave. You're a good man, Ron.

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    1. Geo.,
      I have everything I've ever dreamed of my whole life. I saw my goal and reached it. And never for one day, do I take my good fortune for granted. I'm working on "gravy time" now.
      Ron

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  3. Ron - I've always thought you have great command of the english language and very obvious great writing skills. You are an engaging story teller, information provider, entertainer, philosopher. That's why we all read you. Love the tune. Thanks for another terrific post.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      You are generous in so many ways. I am truly fortunate to have found you as a friend, confident, travel buddy and Scrabble player.
      Ron

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  4. great post Ron. Happy Birthday! Who knows you may still have 25 years to go.

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    1. Larry,
      The clock is ticking (on my life) but I an so thankful that I am making the most of whatever time I have left.
      Ron

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  5. A fantastic post Ron, and a life rich in memories with many attributes to be proud of.
    I will forfeit my usual verbose comments and let your eloquent words speak for themselves.

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    1. Jon,
      Thank you for your very generous comment. Coming from a such a talented writer as you are yourself, means a lot to me. I am glad we're friends.
      Ron

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  6. "I did it... my way!" Have a great birthday, Ron!

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    1. I sure did Walt, sometimes to the consternation of Bill and others but I have done it my way and will continue to do so until my last breath.
      Ron

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  7. Lots of info, Ron - yes, some of which we knew before, but not all of it. Your postings sometimes (for me) get a bit too close to comfort in sounding like a farewell. If I do find the thought a bit scary I hope it's needlessly. As Laurent says above (or near enough), it's entirely possible that you'll reach a century - though perhaps you wouldn't like that. I'm not sure that I would.
    Well, that's my own personal reaction. Others may read differently.

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    1. Ray,
      In some of my blog posts I am saying "farewell." There will come a day when I will be no more. Just a memory. And that time is closer now than it was twenty, thirty or forty years ago. Each day I get out of bed, I know I have one less day on this earth. Would I like to reach the century mark? Only if I have someone to share my life with. If I have no one, then I don't have a reason to go on living. Fortunately for me I have two men in my life now who I care for very much and who care for me. After them? I probably will have nothing and thats when I end.
      Ron

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    2. That wasn't quite the reassuring response I'd been hoping for, Ron, though I can easily see what you say from your entirely realistic point of view - and I respect it.

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    3. Ray,
      I keep all my options open.
      Ron

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  8. Good post, I can't change the past, but I can change what I do today based on what I did in the past.

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    1. David,
      Again, excellent advice. I'm going to steal your "quote." (smile)
      Ron

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  9. oh this is a lovely post!

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    1. Thank you Dr. Spo. I was exhausted (my brain matter) after I finished it.

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