If, by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling, 1895

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

When I’m down and feeling sorry for myself, “If” is one of the poems I return to for inspiration. Here are YouTube links to great readings of this poem, the first  by Holly Musgrove, the second by Sir Michael Caine-

Insert video link  to Holly Musgrove 

Insert video link to Sir Michael Caine

Life is a gift and a responsibility. Let’s make the most of it!

Tio Stib

 

a blind writer’s path to happiness – Fauntleroy friends reunion

Blindness kept me from seeing their faces but the voices I recognized. These were the same voices I’d heard fifty years ago, laughing and yelling as we ran wildly through our young lives. My mind saw their youthful smiles from back when we had all our hair and could walk without canes.

We’d grown up in the same neighborhood of Fauntleroy, a small community on the edge of Puget Sound in West Seattle. Little did we know then just how blessed we were. There was Lincoln Park with its beach, Colman Pool, tennis courts, and a grass field that turned to mud in autumn and became the site of countless epic football games. There was Fauntleroy Elementary School, now over one hundred years old, where we all met and then proceeded on to Denny Junior High and then Chief Sealth High School and first loves, embarrassed dates, first cars, and strange teachers. And, there was the Fauntleroy Y.M.C.A. and the Leaders’ Club, our home away from home, where we learned the value of service and the joy of teamwork. It was a world where we felt safe, where neighbors talked and helped each other, where we ran about at all hours without the slightest hesitation.

It was a world that has passed by.

But, for an afternoon, I was back in that magical place with friends I’d not connected with in fifty years but with whom I was closer with than people I’ve known for the past thirty.

I’ve been wondering what “happiness” was lately, but now, days after that reunion, I realize I spent that entire time smiling. I was with friends again, guys I’d loved, trusted, and shared life’s adventures with. Somehow, with the sad exception of one, we’d all survived our own life journeys to meet up again, now grown men watching our own families grow up.

I’m still smiling!

Leaders' Club Reunion at Nichols' July 2017.JPG

tio stib

August 2017

You might also enjoy: Flavors of Friends, A Friend Passes

 

Growing Up or Why I Became a Writer

“Why do I need to grow up?” asked my nephew, in one of those rare moments when youth values age.

“Why do you ask?” I replied.

“Because adults are always telling me I need to grow up,” he answered earnestly.

Feeling his inquisitive eyes staring at me, I knew a simple answer would not suffice, especially since I’ve struggled with the same question for over fifty years.

I’ve tried to grow up, built boats and houses played architect,, took my shot at saving the world as a social worker, never quite made enough money as an entrepreneur, collected a surprising array of failed relationships but did manage to win a gold medal in speed diapering. I’ve learned I’m an inept ballroom dancer, that I like to eat good cooking but don’t have the patience to create it,that the wonders of Nature are an infinite source of inspiration, that death happens, and that the true riches of my life are the friends I’ve made and worked to keep along the way.

Although I treasure time with my family and friends, I’m quite introspective and often introverted. To borrow a line from Steve McQueen, “I’d rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.: I must admit that after all the other “adult” careers I’ve tried, writing seems to suit me best. Writing is also a better fit for a blind guy than being a fly fishing guide. I’m not good at it yet, but I believe that by working at telling stories with solutions, sharing ideas that build a better world, I’ll perhaps make a positive difference with the life I’m blessed to live.

Writing is also wonderful as it gives me an acceptable adult excuse not to grow up. What else could I do where I can hang out in my imagination all day and people will just nod almost approvingly, and mutter, “don’t mind him, he’s a writer.”

“Tio!”

The voice snapped my attention back to the young boy waiting for the definitive answer to why he should grow up. There was a long pause.

“Growing up is not all it’s made out to be,” I finally replied, “I suggest you take as long as possible before getting seriously involved with adulthood.”

“I like it!” he said laughing and walked away.

My wife tells me I should be careful of what I say to children, they might believe me. She also pushes us to get out and enjoy life, to travel, go adventuring, and drink more wine with friends.

My wife is very smart and fun to live with, My kind of adult.

Be curious!

Tio Stib Signature

You might also enjoy: Why I Write Poetry, The Story