Take Me Back

I’m not sure why the past keeps beckoning.

2017-02-11-09-31-38But beckon it does. A song from a few nights ago by Andrae Crouch… “Take me back”. It really took me back and it seems like my every waking moment is living in some corridor of a past memory. Something in the present hooks back to something in the past. Something I’m dealing with today is made sweeter because I see the connection back to how I dealt with it, or even learned by example from someone else who was showing me the ropes.

There are many who have poor memories of their past. Either because it was a troubled time, or they have chosen to walk away from people, places and times, forgetting with each lengthening step.

The other day I took a challenge to learn a new programming language, not that I need to have another language in my toolbox. But. It was a free course. Online. And it reminded me of the 30 some odd languages of my past programming life and how I learned them… Essentially, any classroom time only fine tuned my prior knowledge gained on my own with a coding pad, keypunch machine, or computer terminal. I would buy a book (COBOL, Fortran, RPG II, etc.) and follow the examples in the book and create programs, data flows, and end results. Normally a report. Green Bar… Then, in college I would turn in all the work the first day of the class and set about helping other students learn. While learning another language on the side.

Of course, being able to do this easily required that I be around computers. Mainframes. And I was. All the time! From 18 years old and forward, my focus of career revolved around computing power. What we take for granted that we use from our fingertips, mainframes required power, cooling, lots of square footage, and a huge staff to get results from all the data presented. Big dollars. Smart people. And a business need to have one… Banking, Oil & Gas, Education… I’ve worked around big computers for decades.

Through the years I picked up language after language and put them to work, setting them down as needs changed and a new opportunities were presented.

In light of modern learning styles, opportunities and challenges, I wonder what I would be doing if I could reclaim my youth and start a new career all over today?

While chatting with my mom about retirement options (sometime in the unforeseeable future), I wondered how I could still stay active as long into the future as possible, getting paid for the work I would like to do and not relying only on retirement income to exist, but having flexibility to do other things I find enjoyable – family, travel, hobbies, and downtime. There are numerous options. Narrowing down the focus is something I do remarkably well, but I sure hate snipping off the branches of “what if”.

This is part and parcel why my past keeps showing up. Analytics requires data, both of the present, the past and the uncertain future. 

As a youngster I loved assembling models. Cars. Planes. Ships. It was painstaking. Getting it wrong. Making it right. Painting. Decals. Moving parts. Spare parts. So. I went to a hobby store over Christmas thinking this may be a fun part time activity (again, I have so much on my plate it’s not like I need something to do). A model that easily snaps together and requires little work averaged around $30… What? No kid can afford this today! We would save our pennies and head for Kmart, or the historical version of the dollar store, get what we wanted for under a buck.

This is probably why I enjoyed RC (radio control) airplanes so much. As a kid, I remember older kids bringing their control line airplanes to Champion Paper Company Employee Park (what a great place to enjoy for 6 years!). They would set them up, fire up the motors and then spin in circles flying their planes at the end of wire lines. Loops, one way and then another, the smell of the fuel, exhaust and the sound of those high pitched engines… I loved building and flying the upgraded version (Radio Control) back in the 80’s when we lived in Alaska.

My son gave me one a few years ago to build, but the cost of upgrading the radios and all the material needed to assemble, well, that’s a future downtime hobby to reconnect with!

I wish I could find the article, but in my early morning time spent reconnecting with my world after a night of rest, an article popped up. A man who did not have a childhood due to many barriers, adopted 5 boys and is focused on giving them a good childhood. Maybe this is a way to give back. Give to others so they have a good memory in their future!

During the past several weeks we have dealt with death, memorial, hospitals, addictions, happiness, sadness… I suppose the list is too long. But the one thing that keeps popping up. Remember the good times. Make memories that will fondly be recalled. Plant seeds of the future in the soil of today.

If I could have words of wisdom to anyone today.

  1. Make memories. They are the one thing that will not cost you anything in the future. It is pleasant to wander down lanes, trails, and waterways of memories gone by. Names, faces and places. Vacations, weekend trips and day trips. Songs. Laughter. Fun times.
  2. Do not be happy only with memories of the past. Make memories today. Do not settle down with a good book or TV show, get out and experience the world. Make friends. Stay busy. Do not become a couch potato.
  3. Help someone enjoy a memory with you and how you taught them something. I keep going back to teachers and elders of my younger years and wishing I could thank them today for their investment yesterday.  We pass in and out of so many lives. Take advantage to make the moment special. (Mr Owens, Mr Fowler, Bobby and Connie, Steve and Cheryl)
  4. Plan for memory opportunities in the future. Take a trip that is more than just sitting on a beach, but has many possibilities of learning and doing while traveling.
  5. Make time for memories as they arise. Reconnect with the past as it reveals itself. Hope for the future as long as possible. Help make it possible for the next generation. Not every memory needs to be shared, but there are great memories I have from those generations before me.

“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”
~Bob Dylan