Of Toilets, a Mug of Coffee, and no Wifi: Ruminations of an Old Man

Typical day in my favorite coffee shop.

Typical day in my favorite coffee shop.

“We’re sorry Sir, but we don’t have a wifi connection since this morning,” said the barista when I ordered my regular brewed coffee.

Around 1:30 pm every afternoon, I am in my favorite coffee shop. It is my anti-stress therapy., I go to my favorite coffee shop. It’s my anti-stress therapy.

It is also my way of getting away from the boredom of home, and to do part of my writing time.I do it for two reasons: First, to get away from the boredom of home, and, Second, to do my writing.

Not that my home is lifeless and non-exciting. My helper sees to it that I have a load of both. She never does anything unless told, and she always changes every instruction given her.

Thanks to her, my home is a place of constant stress. She makes the anti-hypertension pill I take every morning practically useless.

Well, nobody’s perfect…

Surprisingly all I said was, “Aw shucks, I will be spending an entire afternoon doing nothing. No writing, no surfing, no nothing.”

I would have bitched and fumed and complained to High Heavens for denying me my little pleasures in such circumstances. It was a catastrophe. But all I did was shrug my shoulders.

As a writer, like all writers, I have become a wifi junkie. It is my umbilical cord to the outside world. I can’t imagine life without it. Without a connection I would wilt and die, like a plant denied of water for so long.

But aging carries with it some bits of wisdom, and wisdom dictates that there is no sense in fretting over things I have no control of, and to improvise when things are not as expected, like today.

So I ordered my coffee and found me a place to get settled and started ruminating.


Where’s the Toilet:

The first thing that came to mind was how to get to the nearest toilet as fast as possible.

Four days ago, I ate something that gave me a bum stomach. Since then I have been having a slight pain in my gut, and off-schedule bowel movements.

It’s unlike regular diarrhea that comes in torrents. Mine was squirts of soft stool that beckons me to the toilet more often than usual.

So while slowly enjoying my coffee, my mind was busy monitoring the slightest tremor – like a volcanologist keeping close watch of an active volcano – of my stomach.

I carefully put up a toilet strategy for a quiet but fast exit, just in case. Dirtying my pants in the middle of a crowded coffee shop is totally unacceptable even for an elderly like me.

I am sure you know how it feels. It’s kind of sitting on smoldering coal. You have little beads of perspiration on your forehead, fervently hoping that you will have sufficient time to make a clean getaway before eruption starts.

With my strategy safely tucked in place, the next concern is making use of the rest of the afternoon.

With no wifi to do Internet things, I had to improvise.


Old Age – an Age of Revelations:

I went back up to my laptop which, without a connection, was as useful as an Apple2e, my first desktop.

But it can still give my thoughts some form and substance.

As I stared into the blank screen, a lot of age-related revelations started pouring in.

For example, aside from my lower back pains, and my knee pains, I now know that my stomach could no longer tolerate an avocado smoothie left in the ref for more than three days.

I also realized that my days are getting scarcer while I still have a lot of things to do.

I don’t want to bow out feeling sorry for not having done the things I have always wanted to do.


Born to be better:

You and I are born to be better, to live beyond our self-imposed expectations.

No, you don’t have to run the Boston marathon, or a champion in an age-based weightlifting competition (though nothing is stopping you from doing them).

But you can do a lot better on things you passionately care about. You can do a lot better if you are not so scared of getting out of your comfort zone, of your self-doubt.

You are too scared to fail, afraid to be ridiculed. You think you are not good looking enough, not masculine enough, not rich enough, or intelligent enough.

Maybe you are right. Maybe you are the ugliest dumb ass in the neighborhood. But should you accept that for the rest of your life? To mope and sulk until you are buried six feet beneath the ground?

For what it’s worth, nobody ever succeeded by talking a walk in the park. Nobody ever achieved happiness by wishing to be happy.

You have to work for it. You have to have a sweat in your brows to achieve a fulfilling life.

Nobody succeeded because he was born rich, strong, good looking, or intelligent.

Every endeavor of man is littered with people who think they are born to succeed; that they have a birthright to fame.

No. Success is only bestowed on people who believed in themselves; people who surmounted all the difficulties they encountered along the way. People who, despite having fallen so many times, got back up and continued with the race; people who never gave up.

I want to be recognized as a good writer. I don’t know how long it will take to get there, but I must get there.

I want to see places I have never been to before. I don’t know if I can cover them all, but I must set foot on those that are on top of my bucket list.

I don’t want to go remorseful of not having seen the places I am curious about. Before I go, I want to give a good shot at things I’ve always wanted to do.

You may think these as too ambitious. Maybe yes, maybe no. But it is definitely a lot better than gluing my butt on my sofa, watching inane soap operas.

In closing, let me pose this question to you.

When the time comes for people to toss dirt to cover you, would you want them to simplay say,

“He That he was a good man, a good father, and a good husband?”


“He lived a full life, always on the go, always trying to do more, discover new things, and be of value to others?”

Maybe it doesn’t matter to you. But it does matter to those you left behind.


The Secret Why the Love Life of Old Men Sucks

“How’s your love life?” our Far East Director (from the job I retired from), loved to ask to throw us off guard or get into our nerves.

With embarrassment, we sheepishly answered, “It’s good,” until we found an antidote. After answering him, we shoot back in hushed voices – “Better than yours.”

That was the time when love was exciting, it was magical, and it was life-giving. But if someone asks me now how my love life is, my answer would be “Dead as a fish on pond.”

It’s not that I am incapable of loving. In fact two years I go I fell in love with a 37-yr-old woman. It was as wonderful as a shooting star streaking across the dark evening sky – and lasted just as long.

These days I have closeted love in the backburner of my heart and mind since my wife died more than 8 yrs ago.

I just want to have a respite from this “love” thing. Or maybe I don’t want to assume the responsibilities that come with loving someone, or fulfilling its obligations.

About a year after my wife died, my daughter asked me to marry again. Flatly I said, “No!” Not only have I any reason to marry again, but it is next to impossible to sleep with another woman in the same bed I and my wife slept in for more than 33 years.

I don’t want to go through another period of adjustments; of asking permission to go out with the boys, or making alibis each time I come home late or a little tipsy.

With my children on their own and I am technically a bachelor, I don’t want to surrender my freedom to another woman.

It does get a little lonely sometimes. But with the proliferation of online dating sites that make having a relationship or an affair a little easier and faster, love is no longer as crucial an ingredient for a satisfying and joyful life.

Surprisingly, my attitude towards love is shared by other old men. A lot of them also find it difficult, or refuse outright, to love or fall in love.

What about you? Are you one of them? Do you find it difficult to love or fall in love?

Does your love life also suck?

An article in Mail Online, by Ms. Liz Hodgkinson where she expressed her frustration for not having met a man who is “love” quality. She does not have high regards for men she met, and stopped short of saying that they suck when it comes to “love.”

Here are some reasons to back her observation. Check them out if any or some matches your own hang-ups about love:


Why men’s love life sucks:
o  After having several failed relationships, some male seniors become discontented and disoriented not knowing where they have gone wrong, or could they ever put things right again. They agonize whether they will ever find happiness in an intimate relationship again;

o  Older men are often incapable of opening up to women, as if they have forgotten, or never knew, how to love, or to fall in love properly;

o  Because of their upbringing during their adolescent years, they are often incapable of showing affection in their latter years;

o  Older men have outdated and chauvinistic views and attitudes about love and relationships which turns off lot of modern-day women;

o  With their children grown up and on their own, they find it needless to fall in love again;

o They love to hark back to the good old days when men and women have specific roles in society. Modern-day women would not want to fall into that mold again, and it scares a lot of men;

o  Older men are afraid to engage women in an open, often personal exchange, because their feelings have been buried deep inside over the years and are unwilling to bring them out to someone they just met.

You can wallow in self-pity over these or raise your hands in protest, but rest easy because none of these are cast in stone. Even if they were, incessant drops of water will leave its mark even on the hardest granite.


How to bring the spark of love into your loveless life:
It is unthinkable to live the rest of your life without having a special someone to talk to, to confide with, go out to dinner, or on a picnic.

Somewhere out there is a woman just for you. You will meet her in due time.

Just live with the flow. Don’t fight it. That is very stressful and, in the long haul, will leave you loveless and healthless.

Keep an open mind and never turn away an opportunity to strike up a friendly and intelligent conversation with women of the same wavelength as yours. Live and enjoy the moment. Don’t speculate or let your fantasies rule over good judgment.

Love is not planned, like a trip. It is something that just happens. It is not a
dollar bill you accidentally find on the street but something you have to work on. It takes time and patience. But it is definitely worth your while.

The saying “love at first sight,” was good when you were young and didn’t know the difference between love and infatuation. Now you know better after having had so many relationships and dalliances with women over the years, (and bungled several times).

The irony is that now you are stuck at home, lonely and miserable, yet afraid to fall in love again for fear of history repeating itself.

At your age, you have nothing to lose except a bruised ego. Go out and take a risk, embark on another adventure, seek the thrill of your life, fall in love again and see where it leads to. Who knows, you may hit the jackpot this time.

How’s your love life? Please let us know and we will tell you ours.

Image: www.martinerobertson.com.au


7 Tested and Inexpensive Ways of Living a Fulfilling Life

Life with son and daughter

Life with son and daughter

“Wow, you look good!” is one of the flattering comments I hear each time I meet former associates or friends I have not seen for a long time. If not, it is “I heard you’re your children are doing well,” or “Life is good to you.”

True or not, it feels nice to hear these compliments. What bloke would not feel good to hear such praises even there is a trace of flattery in them?

Besides, I believe that I am at 8 in a scale of 1 to 10 in life fulfillment.

Read more