Live and Learn

Last night—as I sat skimming through an assortment of CreateTV programs—it occurred to me that I should spend less time being “entertained” by television. Instead, I should spend more time watching educational programs and learning about topics that capture my interests. During my time skimming the channel, I learned a bit about Western Australian pearl diving and I watched as an enormous oyster was harvested and its prized “meat” carved into tasty morsels, flavored with fresh lime juice. And I listened to an interview with Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur who says he values empathy more than money. I heard Richard Bangs discuss the appeal of the Matterhorn and Zermatt, Switzerland. I viewed a brief promo piece for Ask This Old House, a program that once was one of my favorite ways to while away the hours in front of the television when harsh weather made venturing out a chore.

Public television is an extraordinary resource that I used to use with a passion. Lately, I seem to have abandoned PBS in favor of injections of entertainment from Netflix and Amazon Prime. While I enjoy being force-fed entertainment, those channels require nothing more from me than sitting in front of a television while having my mind manipulated by entertainment professionals. CreateTV, though staffed with paid professionals as well, requires more of me. It insists on engaging my senses and piquing my curiosity. It scratches at the scab that threatens to bury the itch to learn, to know more, to uncover aspects of my personality that, without prompts from curiosity factories like CreateTV, I might simply allow to wither.

I watched CreateTV last night in between reading and responding to inquiries about my offer  to sell my electrically-powered leather recliner. My late wife and I bought the recliner around the time of my lung cancer surgery in November 2018, assuming I would find a recliner more comfortable than a couch in the aftermath of surgery and chemo and radiation treatments. Our assumptions were correct; I am glad we bought the recliner. But it has always been too big for the space available for it. It has always crowded out other furniture. Now, more than ever, it is a comfortable annoyance. So I’m trying to sell it. And I’m trying to sell the big 8-drawer chest-of-drawers; I use only 2 drawers regularly and one more as a storage locker for old winter clothes that never fit well and are growing increasingly unflattering to my physique.  There’s lots more to dispose of. Would that I had the discipline and the wherewithal now to discard everything but necessities. Life could be so much simpler if I would prohibit “things” from commanding so much of my energy and attention.


Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

~ Mahatma Gandhi ~


My niece and her husband left yesterday morning around 10. I wish they could have stayed longer, but Ignacio has to work today, so a brief trip was all the time they could afford. We will see them again before long, I hope. They are engaging, intelligent, fun people with whom to spend time.

After they left, we scurried to our computers to catch the morning service of our church via Zoom. Inasmuch as yesterday was Easter Sunday, our minister decided to offer what I consider to be an odd sort of “communion.” Though his message was interesting and powerful, I remain uncommitted to religious tradition—even progressive adaptations of tradition. I look forward to hearing others, who were actually present for the event, talk about their perceptions of the service.  Certain rituals and traditions seems right and proper to me, while others seem stilted and forced. It’s hard to articulate the differences between those with which I am comfortable and those that do not appeal to me. I should explore my thoughts on these matters; I might find I better understand myself if I do.


Today, after my recliner sells (I hope), a friend has generously agreed to come over with her truck to move some furniture. The more we can do early this week, the better the house will look to prospective buyers. I hope. Somewhere along the line, I need to do a lot of cleaning and straightening. I’m not in the mood for it. I’d rather be in the garage, puttering with things that intrigue me. But the benefits of cleaning and straightening outweigh the benefits of puttering. So, my choice is made.


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

~ Barack Obama ~


I will get more done today if I begin now than if I wait until I feel like doing what must be done. I am now ready to force myself to behave like an adult, despite the fact that I have never felt like one.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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