I’m Not Dead Yet

angry blogging
Marmalade is singing Reflections of My Life, there is a gardener using a leaf blower and my phone won’t stop buzzing and beeping because I didn’t turn off the notifications the way I normally do because today I must be aware of every call, text message, email and Facebook status update.

There is a tiny spot of blood on my right arm, a reminder that I took time out of my day to have some bloodwork done.

The tech told me I have good veins, I smiled and said it comes from years of working out and made a fist, wondering if the resulting bloodwork would show the same thing as the blood pressure test and height/weight measurement.

“Mr. Steiner, you’re blood pressure is really high. Would you like to relax and take it again?”

“It depends, do you need a urine sample today?”

“No, would you like to pee?”

“Yes, and I guarantee my blood pressure will drop a dozen points.”

“You were wrong Mr. Steiner, it dropped by 28.”

“Good, I am not dead…yet.”

An Empty Place At The Table

The 4th of July party served as another reminder about how time never stops moving.

It started when my son asked if he could skip it because he said it would be boring. “I’ll be the oldest kid and I’ll be bored.

I told him it was important to go spend time with family and cousins and he rolled his eyes and made some sarcastic remark that I pretended not to hear.

Truth was I didn’t want to go to this party this year either, but there wasn’t any good reason not to go so we went.

It didn’t take look long to see the empty place at the table wasn’t limited to my side but included the other as well. I really shouldn’t have been surprised to realize that the old people are all gone and new ones have taken their places.

My grandparents generation is done and their time with us is over. They have moved from being active participants to memories and the rest of us have climbed up and assumed new positions on the ladder.


It got me thinking about my grandfathers and the conversations we never had because I hadn’t lived or experienced enough to approach them about certain things and ask for their thoughts.

Or conversations that didn’t happen because it never occurred to me to ask or I didn’t see the connections.

They weren’twriters but they were master storytellers and had I the chance I would have spoken with them about

Writing Should Scare You and What Happens When No One Reads Your Best Work?

They had things to teach me and I could have learned more from them.

500 pushups.

Sometimes the things you lose are things you can get back and sometimes they aren’t.

A few years back I wrote about recovering my ability to do 500 pushups a day. Wrote about my desire to own my own castle, moat and all and a bunch of other stuff too.

Sat in the chair today, left arm locked in the blood pressure cuff, eyes focused upon the numbers flashing and the realization that I need to push myself again to get in better shape.

Thought about my kids and wondered how much longer I can run and wrestle with them and asked myself what life will be like in 20 years.

What kind of physical shape will I be in then and will I be able to run with my grandchildren.

Might not have any then, but it is not out of the question. My oldest will be mid thirties and youngest will also have said goodbye to her twenties.

There is no timeline here for them to get married and have kids. I want them to do that on their schedule and not mine, but it doesn’t mean I won’t mull over possibilities.

Doesn’t mean I won’t wonder if twenty years from now I will have moved up the ladder again and taken my place among the elders.

I hope not.

But it is possible.

I still expect to be 130 when I die, but I want to be a healthy 130.

How Do You Make That Happen?

It’s not just our physical health that is important, our mental/emotional counts too.

It is part of why I have tunnel vision about making certain changes in my life. It is why I refuse to bend or break about some things because I know in my gut that if I don’t make those changes the impact will be painful.

Sometimes people talk about being on a seesaw or a wheel and make offhand remarks about how those things impact their lives.

Well, my focus is a bit different.

I intend to break the wheel and destroy the seesaw. I intend to tear down or go through the walls while I am still capable of doing so and then I’ll set about rebuilding them.

Don’t ask me to tell you how I am going to do it or if those 500 pushups will be a part of it. Just read the words of my friend Mr. Twain and enjoy your day.

You can’t reach old age by another man’s road. My habits protect my life but they would assassinate you.- 70th birthday speech, 1905, Mark Twain
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  1. Larry July 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    What’s peeing have to do with blood pressure?
    Those family events bring home losses like no other. I thought a good deal about my aunt this year at our family event on the 4th. Really missing her. When I’m home, it’s easy to convince myself she is home doing her thing. Of course, I know she isn’t but in a strange way it’s comforting to think she could be.
    Ahh – maybe, I’m nuts.

  2. Danny Brown July 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Excellent post and insightful thoughts, mate.

    It reminds me of the Christmas dinners my wife and I go to. When I first arrived in Canada in 2006, these dinners would be full on both sides of the table.

    As the years have passed, the dynamics have changed. Couples have split, people have passed, and new faces replace those no longer with us.

    We always think, “Missing something just once will make little difference.”
    Truth is, the difference is only little if you don’t notice it. These annual dinners have shown how noticeable that difference really is.

    Cheers, mate.

    • Jack Steiner July 11, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Hey Danny,

      That is a great way of expressing it. Ideally we all live the kind of life that makes people sit up and notice when we don’t show up at the places they expect to see us.

      Time passes much faster than we realize. When I read your comment it took a moment to realize 2006 isn’t just a couple of years ago anymore.

      • Danny Brown July 15, 2015 at 5:15 am

        Our son finished his first year of school this summer. Seems like only yesterday I was handing him to my wife in the delivery room…

  3. Gary Mathews July 10, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I wish I had a grandpa to lean on in my youth, although I wouldn’t trade my great grandma for anything in the world. Hope the doc gave you a clean bill of health!

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