Looking Forward and Hoping
In life, we set goals for ourselves. Some we reach, some we do not, and some are draws. I have seen much of the world over the past 72-years and enjoyed all the various places that I have been and people with whom I met throughout the world. I have written thousands of articles addressing political issues. In addition, I have taught various college classes to students as they prepare for their futures. I have also loved my three children and my three grandchildren. All of those things have provided a great deal of personal satisfaction to me over the years.
In spite of that, there are still some goals not yet obtained. This is a short synopsis of some of my goals for the future: interview Aung San Suu Kyi, returning to Myanmar with Joan Baez, see Myanmar develop into an emerging democracy, visit Ukraine, see Scotland a free and independent nation, and help make America a better place for all to live.
On a personal side, I want to see my three children to continue to prosper and be happy. In addition, I want the same for my three grandchildren. Ayanna is a sophomore in college and is doing well going down her yellow brick road. However, Jack is 4½ and Owen is 2½. I want to see them mature and enter adulthood both happy and enjoying their journey.
Okay. Those political and personal goals might seem a long and time-consuming list for me at 72-years of age. Not to worry. As grandiose as my goals might seem, I have the time. To be precise, I have 28-years and 49-days to accomplish the above-mentioned goals plus one final one. That final goal is to outlive George Burns. Outliving him will enable me to accomplish many of my political and personal goals that I have described.
What is it that ties George Burns and me together? We were both born on January 20. I take quite seriously making it at least one day beyond his record, which was living 48-days beyond his 100th birthday. I kid you not....
You are probably wondering about my chances of running the tables for the next 28-years and 49-days. To be honest with you, I have some longevity obstacles to overcome. My mother died at 53 after being sick for years. My father died at 68 after being ill for almost as long.
Genetically, my family history is not on my side. Nevertheless, I have already lived two decades longer than my mother had and a handful of years longer than my father did. In addition, I have danced with death twice in the past seven years. Therefore, with all the genetic blockers lined up against me and dancing with death, how will I achieve this Herculean effort of surpassing George Burns?
I recall something that George Burns said about life. "Look to the future, because that is where you'll spend the rest of your life." Therefore, as I make plans for the next 28-years and 49-days, I have things to do. Now, if you are impressed with my plans over the next couple of decades, you could certainly help me. I am serious, and this is now.
One of my goals is to interview Aung San Suu Kyi, often called the Lady in Myanmar. I went to Myanmar to see that country but also to interview her. I had written to many people requesting them to forward my emails to her. I was unsuccessful. Nonetheless, my trip to Myanmar was transformative. Min Ko Naing invited me to a protest rally at Sule Pagoda in Yangon on their Independence Day. That rally changed me along with the month of traveling all over Myanmar. If you have any access to anyone who might have a means to contact the Lady, please let me know or attach this article to that person.
While at the protest rally at Sule Pagoda, I walked around, watched, and listened. It took me back to America in the 60s during the civil rights movement. I kept flipping back and forth from the present protest to protests a half century ago. In the background, I heard speeches in Burmese, but I also heard, from the recesses of my memory, Joan Baez singing We Shall Overcome. Those couple of hours in downtown Yangon changed me...radically.
Along with interviewing the Lady, I want to return to Sule Pagoda with Joan Baez where she would sing We Shall Overcome to the people of Myanmar. I have written to Joan Baez at her website. I have also emailed and called many times all the contacts listed on that website but to no avail. If I had a five-minute telephone conversation with her, I guarantee that we would soon be flying to Yangon. If any of you can get her personal email address for me or send her this article, I would be forever indebted to you...along with the people of Myanmar.
In addition, Ukraine and Scotland are in varying places as they both work for greater autonomy. I spent an academic year nearly 50-years ago in Edinburgh, Scotland at the University of Edinburgh and returned two years ago for a month to research their independence movement. They lost the most recent vote, but independence is not dead. I also want to go to Ukraine...one of the places that I have never been. However, I have the time.
As for the political issues in America, while I have a little more than a quarter century to live, I think that it will take more time and effort than I have to resolve our problems. Conserving the beliefs of the past is not any way to advance into the future especially when those conservative beliefs were wrong years ago and are still wrong.
As I work on the above issues, I am very serious about enlisting any help that you could provide especially getting me in contact with Aung San Suu Kyi and Joan Baez. Over the next couple of decades, I will work at addressing all those goals. However, I also need to book a show at the Palladium in London.
Playing the Palladium was George Burns' goal on his 100th birthday on January 20, 1996. On January 20, 2043, it is my goal also. I could tell my favorite joke about Charlie. In reality, it is the only joke that I know. Therefore, I will need to add something to the length of my show while entertaining at the Palladium. While I am not a comedian like George Burns, I am good at teaching. I could teach a crash course in art history, which is my favorite class to teach since my days at Muskingum College.
One other thing that I would like to do is to skydive, which is something that I have never done. When I reach 100, my heart will be strong enough to jump with a professional skydiver.
In closing, regardless of your age, George Burns reminds us all about getting older versus getting old. "You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old."
Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Scottish Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Ukraine page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.