This post was written on February 1, 2008 and first appeared at my main site....
When you get close to sixty years old, you start wondering what might have happened if you taken some different forks in the road.
I am a lot like my mother in that respect, I have never gotten overly invested in what might have happened. I have always tried to focus on the present.
Not long ago a colleague and I were talking about the notification that I had received that a local publication was ceasing because the two partners wanted to go their individual ways.
We both agreed that partnerships rarely work. It was interesting to
see how we responded differently to failed partnerships. We talked
about one of mine, and my colleague responded that I should have taken
the guy to cleaners. It was something that I clearly could have done.
I responded that my style was a little different, and I would rather live with the knowledge that I treated someone fairly than with any extra money I could have gotten out a situation because a partner refused to live up to the terms of an agreement.
I have seen too many people eaten up with anger or guilt at failed partnerships. Something like that can consume you, I would rather just move on with life. That does not mean that I am not keeping score. It just means that I want to focus my life on the future not the past.
Last year we made the decision to come down to the Carolina coast. We did it for a lot of reasons, but one of the main goals was to get away from Roanoke's freezing rain.
When I looked at the weather this first morning in February and saw that we are over thirty degrees warmer here on the coast, it occurred to me that at least in this brief instant, I can be happy with the decision to head to the Carolina coast.
While no location is ever perfect, I will take thirty degrees of extra warmth on February 1 any day.
As much as I love the mountains, I hate freezing rain. It is a pain. Freezing rain makes it hard to get around and is so dangerous that I would rather avoid it.
Freezing rain is especially bad when you live on a mountain like we do in Roanoke. Two years ago, my wife broke her ankle on ice. She was going to feed a neighbor's cat. She still has a plate and a number of screws in her ankle.
The first winter we lived in Roanoke, there were very few of us living on our hill. We had an especially bad mix of ice and sleet which resulted in close to one inch of ice on our hill.
It was also before the road had been turned over to the state so we were on our own.
Somehow the neighborhood got together and managed to chisel one tire track down the hill. I found some chains for all four wheels of our Little Limo, and we had a way up and down the hill. People still remember Little Limo ferrying them up and down the hill.
At least my decision to live at the coast this winter looks better than any partnership that I have ever had.
Speaking of living in places, as much as I love living at the beach, it is even better because we are living in the United States.
In spite of its warts and challenges, and at less than 250 years on the world's stage, it is still a great place to live with more freedom than any every dreamed would survive the years and bad governments.
I enjoyed reading America's Riveting Democracy by Roger Cohen in yesterday's NY Times. It is nice to have some positive print on what makes our country special. Maybe you only really appreciate America if you have lived some place other than America, but for whatever reason, I really enjoy this special place.
As messy and perhaps even as broken as our political process is, ours is still head and shoulders better than what any other country has found.
I do not buy into the theory that America is in a downhill decline. I think the best is yet to come, but I believe it will take new leaders and new ideas to get us there.