Start-Up, Wind-Up, & Start Again

For most of my life I had a penchant for traveling, but now, in my early old-age years, I find myself having no interest in traveling – or, if I do travel anywhere, it has to be for a stay over that lasts preferably for two months, or longer, minimum. I am unlike numerous other elderly citizens who see their early final third of life as a time when they can leisurely see more of the world still with relatively good health intact.

I cannot afford to travel about freely with the comforts I insist upon having, but I can fantasize about it.

Perhaps if I could travel by private jet it would be a different story. I recently received a very interesting and extraordinarily well marketed booklet/brochure on guided tours and other travel experiences that are hosted by the Smithsonian. Several were world-circling tours of fascinating places over a period of 20 days on a private jet with impressive tour experts. Cost: 70 to 80 thousand dollars. I think I could do that.

An around-the-world tour is obviously out of the question, although I suppose I could do it on my own cheaply enough if I really put my heart and mind toward such an adventure.

Starting, Leaving, Returning and Leaving Again
Instead I am currently living in a very nice suburban area anticipating one final move to another very nice suburban area that could more possibly be more in tune with my inner visions for the rest of my life.  In effect, I am living where I started, then left for about 20 years, and then returned for 20 more years. Now I am preparing for one last move to hopefully my last residence. If I am lucky it will be for another 20 years.

I had once tallied all the residences I spent time living in and it was more than 30 – none of which were very elaborate, although several in Hawaii were the most exotic and pleasing.

The fact that I even lived in Hawaii at one time during my mid-twenties for a little over two years is, I think, unique, considering where I grew up, in a place called Iron Island on the east side of Buffalo, NY. Everything I experienced growing up on Iron Island was likely very similar in comparison to most other blue-collar, city neighborhood experiences during the 1960s and 70s.

For starters, I had lots of freedom as early as 7th grade to pretty much roam the entire Island, about three square miles in size, nestled in the center of the surrounding railroad tracks.

Having a place to call home gave me the wherewithal to roam on the Island as well as off it. Just knowing there was a place where I always had refuge with my family gave me the power to take traveling risks. I could always go back to my roots with a roof and a comfy bed to sleep in.  I left and returned numerous time before leaving for a 20-year extended period of time.

One of the most educational experiences I had during my adolescent years on Iron Island was owning a paper route that encompassed one primary street with 88 customers. I learned more about human beings from delivering papers than anything learned over the course of my K-12 Catholic school experiences. I also learned an awful lot about dealing with people from simply hanging out along the center street and local park of Iron Island. When I was old enough, I tended bar at the local Italian restaurant, which was another extremely beneficial learning experience related to understanding human beings. I also learned a lot from paying way too much time in the local gin mills starting at the ripe old age of 16, with fake ID in tow. Legal drinking in those days was only 18.

The vast majority of human beings I dealt with up until I permanently left at the age of 23 were white, poor to middle class, non-college-degree blue collar workers – most of whom today more than likely voted for Donald Trump. That’s probably one of the reasons why I stay away from the Island, only visiting on rare occasion while enjoying life in the suburbs. I am sure there are many others from the neighborhood that would definitely be of the “never Trump” variety as well. I can only guess whether or not the never Trump segment is in the minority. All I do know is that I have heard Islanders speak very profanely and vehemently about the Obama administration.

Iron Island is now, unfortunately, a shell of itself. It was really a great place to grow up. People were and still are – most have left a long time ago – good, respectful individuals who care about each other. Kids these days don’t get this kind of upbringing anymore, the kind of upbringing in which you had to develop your wits to handle the enormous amount of bullying and mental/physical challenges you faced from your neighborhood cohorts. You were also forced into learning how to get along with your neighbors of all ages, whom you interacted with on a much more frequent basis than most kids do today from where they live.

Growing up struggling with the notion of becoming an alpha-media-inspired male during this time was pretty much all about how tough you could be, how you could hold up against the bullies, but it was also a time of great and memorable interactions with your cohort – the other people your age who were also free to roam. The strongest, most fearless (or seemingly most fearless) to fight dudes were the ones who tried to govern by fear. You had to learn how to deal with them or be eaten up by them. The others were your good friends whom you shared good times with on numerous occasions while growing up. I try to recall the good times more than anything else.

Of course, everything is about memories now, unless you decide to continue pushing yourself forward into new living, learning and working experiences. So, I am in a start-up-all-over again stage that gives me energy to go on.

I could stay in my current comfort-zone place, or I could seek new pastures. I chose the latter and continue to peer with squinty eyes into the bright horizon.

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