I Am Free To Be Me....
At 73

There I was going from writing a couple essays to teaching online for a couple hours, which I do all the time and love doing so.  However, I happened to notice that I got an email, which was from my son-in-law, Jason.  Jason is Jack and Owen's father.  Since he has that elevated position in life of being the father of the greatest two children in the world, I stopped what I was doing and read his email.  He sent me a link to an article in Rolling Stone about Graham Nash.  Jason saw parallels between Nash and me.   He noted about Nash that, "His pilot light in life seems to have diminished, maybe extinguished, but he has sparked it again. Like you it seems he is more alive than ever, at 74. You're not alone out there...."

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Graham Nash

So, I sat back and read the article while listening to Nash's new song, Myself at Last.

"Myself At Last"

Light is slowly fading
And the night comes on so fast
I'm drowning in my dreams
It's so hard to fight the past
When all is said and done
It's so hard to count the cost

When I'm rolling down
This lonesome road
To lose myself at last

And the day that breaks before me
May never be surpassed
And the question haunting me
Is my future just my past?
So I'm screaming at the universe
Just enough to make her laugh

And I'm rolling down
This lonesome road
To lose myself at last

And with everything I've ever done
Well, I've tried to be my best
But everyone I've ever known
Has been some kind of test
When everything is said and done
It's so hard to find what's lost

I'm rolling down
This lonesome road
To lose myself at last

My dreams are only memories
But they've all gone by so fast
I was drifting on an ocean blue
Like a ship without a mast
And then you came and rescued me
And you saved my soul at last

From rolling down
This lonesome road
To find myself at last
I'm rolling down
This lonesome road
And I've found myself at last
I've found myself at last

Then I reread Jason's email, reread the article while listening again to Myself at Last.  Jason said that the article was a short read.  Well, it is short if you read it once, not several times while listening to the song again and again.

Forcing myself to control my ADHD, I replied to Jason's email.


I read the article about Nash.  Actually, I'm listening to the song now.  Thanks.  Sometime, we need to have a drink, and I can explain my new life, which is on steroids.  I was driven back in the 60s with the civil rights movement, Bobby Kennedy, etc.  Man, that pales in comparison to today.  My two dances with death and Myanmar have changed me. 

We touched on this the last time we saw each other with my comment about your job and Confucius' comment, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."  Additionally, life changes when you get old due to doing the dance.  Three of my mentors have me focused: Randy Pausch, Don Quixote, and Teddy Roosevelt.  I am free to be me...at 73. 

I told you about talking with my congressman about him sending an email to the American ambassador in Yangon and having him forward it to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady.  Done.  I am now emailing directly with her office.  I'm planning to be in Myanmar soon.  I have talked with the tour company here, etc.  Moh Moh and Ti Ti know all about it.  After I put together a video on my webpage regarding the Lady, I'll send it to her office and hopefully discuss the interview and my return. 

Jason, wired doesn't fully describe me.

Now, I need your help with my video camera.  The interview(s) with the Lady, several 88 Generation leaders, and Moh Moh and her family will be videotaped.  I need to download the means to my laptop, etc.  Then I need a tutorial from you about transferring videos to Dropbox, etc. prior to leaving for Myanmar. 

Hey, this is longer than the Nash article!


After sending Jason my email, I just sat there still thinking.  Then I reread my letter and paused over this single sentence, "I am free to be me...at 73."  My first thought was that if I could write the lyrics of a song entitled I Am Free to Be Me, I would have a musical description of where I am in my life. 

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I mentioned in my letter that doing the dance with death and my month in Myanmar changed me.  I am free.  I am free for a slew of reasons.  Central to my freedom is knowing that I am not immortal.  Unless you have done the dance, you think you know that you are not immortal, but, in reality, you don't.  If you did really knew that, you would have radically changed your life.  When I put the pieces of the puzzle of my life together, I got the most profound insight.  Dancing with death caused me to live.  That statement seems to be a logical contradiction.  Nonetheless, death forced me to see life.  Once I saw it, I became truly alive. 

This is where Myanmar enters the picture.  I have since graduated from graduate school, I have traveled throughout parts of most of the world.  I have been to most all Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent, Indochina, China, Tibet, and several Pacific islands.  However, of the nearly four dozen countries that I visited, Myanmar was the best trip of my entire lifetime. 

Why? The people.

One of the persons that I wanted to meet and sit down to interview was Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady.  It has been nearly three years since I went to Myanmar hoping to obtain an interview.  However, I failed.  In spite of failing, I am free to be me, and I tried again.  This time I hope to spend time talking with her.  Additionally, I have some ideas that might allow me to help the people of Myanmar. 

Finally, doing the dance with death allows me to be free...truly free.  If Nash and I are free, the haunting question is whether you are free.   

Burma flag

Burmese independence flag

Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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My Hauntings

My Hauntings

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Music I Love

Music I Love and Why

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