Dale Says

October 7, 2008

On my birthday 2004

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 11:54 am

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 2004 …

April 24, 2004

On my birthday I’m 53 years old.

The past year has been a mix of good and bad, but overall it’s been one of the best for me.

On the positive side, I have the chance for a new beginning and an opportunity to pursue my dreams because after 22 years at Visa I took early retirement last September. This change allows me to spend more time with my family and friends, to travel, and to pursue a second career as a writer.

On the negative side, over the past year I watched my father and father-in-law get older and frailer and we lost more relatives and friends. I am also discouraged by the fact that the U.S. has engaged in another war, and I’m saddened that during my lifetime I won’t get to live in a world that settles its differences through peaceful means.

The past year was going along like most through August. Patty and I had taken several wonderful trips (including a summer journey to Portugal, Spain, and France; a family reunion in the Black Hills; my birthday in Oregon; time with friends in the Bahamas (Abaco) and at Lake Shasta and Drakesbad; ski trips to Lake Tahoe and Utah; biking in Portugal and the Waves to Wine; and family visits to Nebraska in September, December, and April and Oklahoma in July, September, November, December and February).

Then in September my job was eliminated and I was pushed out the door with 48 hours to clear out my office. It was an abrupt ending to what had been a great career.

I was determined to do nothing for three months except join a gym, work out regularly, and spend time with Patty and our families.

In January, I took on a big volunteer role with SCIP, leading the team that organizes their annual conference and writing a column for their magazine. I’ve also signed up for a writing class and made two documentary videos on Operation Deep Freeze and our trip to Abaco.

This transition has been wonderful so far, and about the only things I miss about Visa are the people and the paychecks. By now I feel like I’m well started on this second phase of my life.

In the news, the U.S. invaded Iraq last April and overthrew the government. A coalition of countries joined the U.S. and U.K. in this effort, but most of the world wanted the U.N. to deal with Iraq and many of them are now upset at the U.S. for usurping the U.N. The U.S.-led effort overwhelmed Iraq, occupied the country, and tracked down or killed the people that had been in power. Hussein hid out for weeks and was eventually found in a pit behind a farmhouse.

Now, months after the invasion, insurgents from Iraq and surrounding countries are fighting the U.S.-led troops, and casualties continue without much progress toward establishing order and local control. No weapons of mass destruction have been found, and President Bush is fighting to maintain credibility.

Presidential elections will be held this fall, and the primaries have begun. John Kerry is the likely Democratic nominee, after he beat our Howard Dean and several others. Kerry is likely to be a liberal and controversail candidate, and the presidential election this fall will probably be a costly mess.

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