“Hey Tom, I’m going to play Life’s Game with some “IF” questions followed up by the “WHY”. And I would like you to comment on my answers. Are you up for it?”
“Bring it on, Dave, I’ll try to be objective.”
“Great, here’s the first question:
If I could change some things about my childhood, what would they be and why?”
We both pondered the question for a minute.
“I’ll answer first and then you can comment, Tom.
Two things I would change:
First—I wish I didn’t have to contend with the affliction of clubfeet, which pain aside, affected my personality. Because of early stays in the hospital I developed the attitude of the world being hostile. Plus I couldn’t play sports as well as other kids because my feet and ankles were weak.
Second—I wish my Dad didn’t die when I was 15 and we bonded. My Dad had night work and I hardly saw him so we didn’t do much together. I believe the relationship between father and son has a big impact on what kind of man a boy develops into. A father’s influence is very important when a boy hits puberty, it’s the foundation of the boy’s development. A boy wants to look to his father for clues as to how to act as an adult. When there is no Dad there is a big VOID.
What do you think, Tom?”
“Well Dave, as far as your affliction goes, I think on the plus side, it could be something that could make you a stronger person ready to meet the challenges that life poses.
As to number two, I lost my Dad also as a child. I agree with everything you’ve said, father-son bonding is incredibly important to a boy’s development, I missed that bonding also.”
“Good comments, Tom. Here’s the second question:
If I could have stopped aging at any point in my life up to the present, how old would I remain and why?
I believe there are two ages at which I would want to remain:
First—When I meet my first wife and our courting year. I was 26 and at a low point, I was lonely even though I was living with my mother. Then, out of the blue, I met my first wife on a blind date. We hit it off immediately. We talked and talked, we had wonderful communication. We went everywhere together, movies, museums, restaurants, and walking in parks. I was so happy I actually felt that the world wasn’t hostile anymore!
The second age I would want to remain would be when I met my second wife. I was 61 and had been living alone for four years after my first wife died of cancer. I needed to have a sounding board again and the support of another partner. We met through a dating agency and we got along right away. I didn’t think I could be happy again but it happened and I was floating on air when we held hands.
“Dave, I too have a tale of two wives and happiness. Everyone should have a healthy, loving relationship with the right person by your side.
You need to have a supportive partner. In a good relationship you and your partner will support each other and treat each other as equals. That feeling of happiness is wonderful.”
“Thanks for that, Tom. Here’s the third question:
If I could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would it be and why?
Even though I have dabbled in writing, I would like to be an extraordinary writer like Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Why? Because I would live on through my classic books. Writing helps heal the wounds of life and clears them out.
Writing also hones your powers of observation, giving you a fuller experience of life.
“Well Dave, I too dabble in the arts, my interest is dramatics, acting. I love to do plays. I also believe this talent gives you a better experience of life. I enjoy your books and blogs.”
“Thanks, Tom. I would love to see one of your plays.
Here’s the fourth question:
If I was instantly able to play one musical instrument perfectly, what would it be and why?
It would be the piano, because my Dad played classical piano. He was forced to study piano as a child for 7 years even though he wanted to go out and play with his mates. My regret is that he didn’t teach me to play, but like I said, we rarely saw each other. I think playing music would be fun. I still might try to learn the keyboard!”
“Yes, there are many benefits to playing a musical instrument.
It even makes you smarter! Do you believe it? It stimulates your brain and improves memory and reasoning skills. It also relieves stress. But, importantly, playing music is FUN! It makes you feel happy and occupied.”
“Here’s the fifth question:
If I was rich and younger what would be the one thing I would do and why?
I would travel the world. Even though I have seen quite a few states in America plus Canada, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy and France, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I would like to see the whole world!
BUT, now at 80, I don’t have the energy, not to mention the money, to travel.
Why, the whole world? Because, as they say, it’s THERE!
I feel traveling provides new experiences and memories, it breaks the routine and allows you to meet people from all cultures.”
“I, too, wish I had traveled more when I had the energy. But we always had to make a living and that took up a lot of time. You also appreciate family and home more when you’ve been away. When you travel to distant places it seems it’s easier to chat to strangers and make new friends. Different social interactions make us happier and we learn a lot too.”
TO ALL THOSE READING THIS BLOG—TRY THE QUESTIONS, YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED!
“We will have to do this more often, Tom, it clears the cobwebs when you’re old. Plus it is an excellent medium for revealing some of the truth about yourself.
Tom and Dave walked out under the blue sky feeling that the “IF” questions and their answers had left them feeling good.
Also published on Medium.
As I look back on my life, and it has been full of tragic moments, I see it as more of a comedy than a tragedy. One of those comedies, in which while you are laughing your guts out, you feel your heart breaking.
The man who takes life too seriously is doomed!
My Mother played piano and also taught piano. When I was young she asked me if I wanted to learn piano and I said “no”. So she never taught me. I used to take music out of the piano bench (where sheet music was kept) and pick out the notes on the piano. I wonder why my Mother never saw that I was interested in it.
The fifth question, my answer would be the same as yours.
It’s amazing how very close our lives match.
Also I was sick as a young person. In and out of hospitals and missing school. It did not keep me from enjoying sports and such.
I’m happy to be 80. I never thought I would live this long.