Introduction to my Autobiography
Here, I am, in the autumn of my life, a man past eighty years. During my life, I have had many plans – and so does every man – which, unfortunately, I have put off until the inevitable ravages of time on my body make many of these plans impossible. I don’t suppose I will ever go scuba diving off the coast of Costa Rica, or skydive over the hills of North Dakota, or climb the Himalayan Mountains. However, I have done many things. Although I have never accomplished many of the more thrilling and dangerous activities, my life has been exciting. It has been a thrilling roller coaster ride full of hills and bumps. How does one best write an autobiography? As I have pondered this question, I realize that my life is much more than a series of events, which can be set down as cold, hard facts. My life has been one of philosophy, learning, deep thoughts and insights, passion, love, religious fervor, and respect for God’s creation. It has also been a life of joy, happiness, and wonder; but also despair, sadness, and bitter regrets. The journey through life presents many paths, many choices, and those choices can bring good or evil. All men sin, and I am no exception. This biography is not one of confession. I may tell of some mistakes, but some sins are between man and God, and as God has promised that if we repent, he will forget and forgive. Thus, there are things in my life that I will not include – and perhaps should not include – in this my autobiography.
It is said that one of the advantages of age is that the events of one’s youth become bolder and brighter with each telling. To paraphrase Tolkien: “Deed becomes legend and legend becomes myth.” I hope that the telling of my tale will be more deed than legend or myth. One of my many faults is procrastination. I know that I should have been keeping a journal, but this is one of the many “I’ll get around to it” scenarios in my life. Fortunately, I am a collector of documents – articles, certificates, awards, school papers, etc. By taking information from these documents, combined with memories and the input of family members, I hope to do a passable job of telling my tale.
All people have some things in common and some things are unique to the individual. All mankind constantly learns and makes decisions based on observation and evaluation. This begins at birth and continues to the end of life.
- Daily life is composed of a series of events or tasks. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, or if you are rich or poor.
- In reviewing my life, I realized that there was a continuity that I never really realized until I started this project. For instance:
- In the first six years of my life, my routine was dictated by parental supervision. Each day I observed and learned. I ate, slept and played. Eventually, I was given simple chores like taking out the trash, cleaning my room, making my bed, etc.
- During my school years, from Grade 1 all the way through college, daily life consisted of eating, sleeping, chores, classroom Learning, home learning (homework & study), extracurricular activities, community service, and free time. If married, marital duties for wife and children.
- During my working years (including the military), my daily life consisted of eating, sleeping, chores, work, learning, community service, recreation, free time, If married, marital duties for wife and children.
- During my retirement years, my daily life consists of easting, sleeping, chores, learning, community service, recreation, free time, If married, marital duties for wife and children.
- Through all periods of life interaction with family, both immediate and extended, Interaction with the community through religion, charitable service, membership in organizations or political position all affect our daily life.
Military is work also. Military personnel are paid to do a job. But there is a great difference between civilian and military jobs.
In a civilian job, you can quit at will. Of course this can lead to unemployment and poverty, but the option exists. In a civilian job, if you don’t meet your employers expectations you can be fired or laid off, demoted or in cases be sued.
In planning this memoir, I was faced with the problem of how to go about the organization. It would seem logical to write a chronology, but many events or practices in one’s life span many years. For instance, while in school or working, I may also have been involved in community service or attending church. Thus my history is written with chapters covering the period from my birth to the present, and several topical chapters. If there is redundancy. I hope the reader will forgive me when repetition occurs.