Posted by: jhvn | 01/18/2013

The Geezer’s Vacation

As you might have noticed, this Geezer took a vacation around the holidays. As most of life  in geezerhood goes, it was not a well-planned vacation with travel, reservations, shows, all kinds of great fun, etc. This was a vacation that just happened; and I let it happen (that’s true geezer behavior); and no posts got written for a couple of weeks. I’m sure we all survived.

Oh I did plan one thing. For the first time I hosted an open house all by myself. For the first time in my life I had no parent, no wife, no child – nobody I needed to clear plans with (or could get help from). When to have it, whom to invite, what to eat, how to fix up the house (including Christmas decorations) – all these decisions were mine alone to make. Wow!

Energized and terrified at the same time, I remembered that back in the ‘60s we used to ask, What if they threw a war and nobody came? Well from the dark recesses of my mind a voice kept chiding me, What if you throw this party and nobody comes? and, You can’t possibly do this with no help! etc. etc. Well in my geezerhood I’m starting to pay attention to these messages that well up inside myself, because they sometimes express vital stuff that “I” missed. But I’m also beginning to recognize the fear lurking in my heart; and the fear was erupting in that voice.

Practicing discernment – recognizing the difference between the voice of wisdom and the voice of fear – is a new geezerhood skill that I”m learning. This time fear was calling. I had no doubt, so I plowed ahead – making all the executive decisions, planning some innovative food (which I did try out first), and sending out email invitations. About 30 people showed up. Most said they enjoyed it; and I had a blast, especially in the deep discussion that continued for nearly an hour past “closing time.”

I was also exhausted. I got a 2-week cold in the nose & throat just when Christmas gifts were crying out for attention. That fearful voice persisted: You’ll never get it all done in time. Also by myself for the first time in my life, I decided on, bought, wrapped, and delivered all gifts to my family. Again I felt both elated and stressed. I enjoyed my accomplishment – on time and on budget – another part of the geezer’s vacation.

There’s still more. My three marvellous sons had invited me to celebrate the holidays with them and their children at various times. I had a fabulous time! But it was also AFLO (another freaking learning opportunity). I got lots of honor, felt well taken care of, and had no responsibility. But I’m not used to that. As the father and grandfather, I used to be ‘in charge’ (along with my wife, Pat) of most family gatherings. This time I felt like an honored supernumerary. Once I was blown away when I realized that about half the people in the room – adults and teens – had their noses buried in their electronic gadgets, all the while carrying on spirited conversations in the room (something I could never do). Lots of gourmet meals, snacks, and gifts also forced their way beyond my good judgement into my mouth and strained the limits of my stomach. (I still struggle to button my pants.)

Life has taken a huge new turn since I’ve been aware that I’m well into my geezerhood. Learning new facets of life consumes huge amounts of energy. Again I had a great time; but I was exhausted. So I’ve needed more sleep to rest up from my vacation. When I am awake, I’m enjoying the freedom to let it happen, rather than feeling pressed to make it happen. More attention now is available to focus on the riches of relationships, rather than being diverted to the fear that will always inhabit the darker reaches of my soul. But aha; I now recognize fear for what is and have no need to obey its commands. I’m enjoying myself more than ever, and I’ll take geezerhood over adulthood or childhood any day. (What choice do I have?)


  1. John, heartfelt. As I read, I thought how well your profession serves your writing because you bring out how you feel and write directly to it. And you do so in a light hearted way, and although not lightly, you bring much light, but maybe I repeated myself. Long live geezerhood, may it consume us all ever earlier.

  2. John, I loved this! Thank you for so eloquently and humorously putting into words the feelings of fear and anxiety that I experience when contemplating planning a large social function or tackling something new. I will share this with many. It’s comforting to know that I am not alone, that these challenges will continue into Geezerhood, and that it will be quite alright!

  3. This rang so many bells! Thank you- looking at all of it with humor makes it all so much better!

  4. Hi John! I identified with how fear blocks hearing our healthy inner voice (you know I call that voice the Holy Spirit!). Ever since I left Stony Crest last March, I have been in a perpetual state of motion- visiting and couch surfing, taking up temporary residence in hotels, a van, a camper, an apartment. So many personalities, familial issues, social settings and stressors have truly built character and faith within me. I am now in Atlanta, GA staying with my best girlfriend and her family. With a home base which is more like a day spa providing beautiful natural views, healthy gormond meals, my own floor in a 3 story home all to myself, complete with dinette, full bath, living room, rec room and back porch- I have as long as I need to put down roots and set up a home elsewhere. I keep pinching myself, just like I did my first month in the cottage! I even have the companionship of a golden retriever named Charity who has taken quite a liking to me! Two teens make things lively. I spend my days, when recreating, making flower arrangements, walking Charity, drawing, playing the piano and guitar and reading and writing. In this place of respite I am surrounded by healthy, productive people. I am not dealing with active addiction and godlessness as in some of my other temporary living accomodations. My childhood girlfriend of 42 years and I are striving to learn and understand one another’s “language” and perceptions, successfully side stepping taking offense and avoiding misunderstandings. All this takes a bit of a toll over time. I must tread softly when in others’ homes. Now you know God has opened a door for me to fly elsewhere. I do hope Atlanta will be where I can make a nest! All this migrating has given me a bit of a migraine!…John, when you use a word like “supernumerary”, please provide the corresponding definition for us less articulate readers! I love new words so I cannot just pass over it. Now I cannot rest till I look up the definition! I can only hope it is of “remunerative” value to me as a budding writer!

    • Hi Robyn,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m pleased that you have apparently touched down in a place fit for some healing and growth. I trust the Spirit will lead you through that growth. Please keep in touch.

      Blessings and Peace, John

  5. Dad, I am always honored and impressed with your continued commitment to learning and growth. You continue to be an inspiration. Thank you for your wisdom.
    As a reminder from an earlier post – the comment about the challenge of buttoning the pants may have more to do with finger dexterity. 🙂

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