Episode #784

February 10, 2024

When I was a young man, my given name, Ricki, was mocked by my fellow 5th graders.
5th graders are cruel.



I shortened Ricki to Rick. As I grew older my best friends used Ricki as a term of endearment. Yet, for 60 years I have worn the name Rick, not having learned from my friends’ kindness. Now, 60 years older, I have embraced my name and introduce myself as Ricki. I like my name, I always have. In the tradition of great prose, my end is my beginning. I was Ricki then and am Ricki now.

Because I learned this I have done that.
The older I get the wiser I feel.

With age comes responsibility, the responsibility to meld tradition, repeated mistakes and lessons learned into an example for those to come. Curating culture makes the lives of future generations better.

I have spent my life refining my critical thinking. I learned that practicing a skill is more about analysis than training. Experience teaches the approach to a project, not its execution. Living is in the journey, not the conclusions.

While noble, long term goals are generational. Like a well crafted speech, a project builds on each of its parts. Think of Elon Musk’s goal to colonize Mars. He funded Tesla with the PayPal startup. He financed SpaceX with the profits from cars, batteries and solar panels. SpaceX figured out how to make an affordable, reusable rocket and sell its services. This funded the R&D for Starship. Neuralink, Starlink and Artificial Intelligence will provide a communications and knowledge network for the Mars colony. AI robots will prepare the planet for colonists. Musk will be an old man when he hands off the colonization of Mars to the next generation. The ground work will be Musk’s legacy. The colony will be its own legacy for the future.

To grow old with grace requires pain and joy. There is a retrospective danger in aging. It is easy to get stuck in the past and just as easy to ignore it. I have learned from pain, cultivated joy and set a pace and outlook that has not used me up. Hurrying back to the past steals from the future.

As my body wears down there is temptation to take it easy. The aches and pains are just little warnings. Mostly, I ignore them.
Use it or lose it. Move to keep moving. 
Emotions can physically harm the aging body. I moderate them by relishing them. They prove I am alive.

My goals have contracted as I have aged. The future is shorter, but memory is longer. To help with short term memory I have begun to use aids, like counting to three before I leave the house: ID, phone, keys.

Age can also close in around us. Our friends are fewer, but more intimate. Our focus shortens to the moment.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow spoke of the danger of isolation when growing old:

The Meeting

After so long an absence
  At last we meet again:
Does the meeting give us pleasure,
  Or does it give us pain? 

The tree of life has been shaken,
  And but few of us linger now,
Like the Prophet’s two or three berries
  In the top of the uppermost bough. 

We cordially greet each other
  In the old, familiar tone;
And we think, though we do not say it,
  How old and gray he is grown! 

We speak of a Merry Christmas
  And many a Happy New Year
But each in his heart is thinking
  Of those that are not here. 

We speak of friends and their fortunes,
  And of what they did and said,
Till the dead alone seem living,
  And the living alone seem dead. 

And at last we hardly distinguish
  Between the ghosts and the guests;
And a mist and shadow of sadness
  Steals over our merriest jests.

—  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have not let the trap of “The Meeting” be the legacy of my old age.

To use Longfellow’s metaphor: 
I now commune with my fellow berries and savor their company. 
Those who are gone are with me still. 
Those who are alive are illuminated by those who have died. 
Every day is not a fog of sadness, but a dawn of joy.

“Hello, my name is Ricki. Happy to know you.”


“Skydivers Know Why Birds Sing” by Ricki T Thues is now available on Amazon.
It is a Love story of Rick and Paula Thues and their 35 years of Skydiving.

Click HERE to buy the paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon.

Follow Ricki T Thues on Amazon HERE.

“Technically Human” by Ricki T Thues, the iMentor, is available on Amazon.
It is a compilation of selected episodes from this bLog which tell the story of Humanity through the eyes of the iMentor.

Click HERE to buy the paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon.
The ebook version of “Technically Human” is also available on Kobo. Click HERE.
For you Barnes and Noble Nook readers it is available for Nook. Click HERE.
The “Technically Human” ebook is also available on Apple Books . Click HERE.



One Response

  1. Vic February 9, 2024

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