An Irving Berlin song in Holiday Inn (1942) is definitely a favorite self-defining song in my life. There is much that I look back on now that “stood me in good stead’ (as Glen Kirkland used to say) over the long years.
-an outstanding mother who worked very hard to keep our homelife together and to protect and support me
– a true soulmate-spouse who’s stuck with and supported me from 1967 on
-an outstanding pair of kids who are two of the most unique, caring, hard-working, entertaining people I know
-the lucky break of getting into senior-high English teaching for 30 years teaching what I loved about language, literature, literacy, books, and ideas
-the fluke of becoming one of Canada’s most prolific and successful senior-high authors and editors from 1980 to 2007, having my 50 texts and guides used in all provinces
-the privilege of sharing with several thousand ELA teachers across Canada from 1980 to 2010, giving workshops and presentations
-the equal privilege of heading several bands and musical groups publicly performing hundreds of times in a wide variety of settings from 1968 to 2016
-the chance to create two totally unique blog-websites: one on my journey of personal consciousness, the other (totally unique) a vlog on Can Lit books prior to this millennium
-the ability, since retirement, to freely follow my bliss to collect rare and ltd. ed. books, movies, audio recordings (including spoken word), coins, and stamps
-the good fortune of growing up relatively free in childhood, my teen, university years, followed by an early retirement at 52, now in my 16th year of freedom from bosses and limiting work situations
-the opportunity so far to remain relatively alive and healthy despite various ongoing health problems in treatment
-living out the dream of going to New England twice in the ’80s to explore its many famous writers -meeting the right kind of influential people and role models in my formative years -meeting as many famous people as I have through reading, by correspondence and in person (the latter ranging from Janis Ian to Jimmie (“Honeycomb”) Rodgers -being able to get close to natural beauty as much as I have -performing on the Edmonton poetry scene since the ’80s
It’s been a wonderful, happy, successful life thus far. ‘As they say’, I have no regrets and no unfinished business. Each day always has numerous possibilities with built-in leisure and doing many things I still enjoy doing. And I have more focus than I ever had before to make the choices which are fun, interesting, as well as useful to others.
It’s funny. You hear so many complain about their lives and all their various regrets and missing pieces, but I can’t subscribe to that thinking anymore. Eventually I did all the main things I wanted to do in life and I still have opportunities to continue doing what I like and have prioritized. I fully accept that the world is in other hands (and that includes the U.S., Canadian, and Edmonton problems). I’ve now been where I wanted to be and strived to be so many years ago. I know myself and have filled my life up with what resonates and signifies.
When you get down to it, one’s life is one’s life. You have to live it your way as much as possible, make your various marks, and then be free to explore life beyond work and jobs. Life is much better and best when you can make your own free choices and live life the way you always wanted to on your own terms. When you get to this stage, life just becomes the daily ongoing focusing and everything else takes care of itself. But yes, freedom of choice is the key to wonderland and following your bliss.