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An Older Gentleman’s Musings


An Older Gentleman’s Musings

 

BY RICHARD ANTHONY, SR.

Was a time when my daily emails and voicemails were brimming over.  Except for my parents, most of my friends and relatives were alive and electronically enabled.  Same for my friends and acquaintances. Back then, I was “doing business” and was credited with having superior powers as a networker (You gotta call Rick Anthony), so there was a steady stream of invitations to meet for breakfast or lunch or a drink after five (I’d like to pick you brain). And I was generally accessible, for two reasons. First, I felt I was giving back for the many times I reached out for a helping hand. Second, I met some fascinating people and had an early peak at some impressive ideas that went on to become successful ventures. I even had my table at the restaurant where all the big dealers huddled to do big deals.  My table wasn’t reserved, but because I was a regular, the hostess usually saved “my table” until 7:30 AM which was my start time.

“The best part was I met really fascinating people.  Each with an equally fascinating story about what could be.”

olderFrankly, I felt my reputation as a great networker and connector was exaggerated.  Some of my detractors agreed.  No matter. There was enough demand for help, advice, listening, truth-telling, mentoring, and an encouraging word to keep the emails and phone calls coming. As a result, I advanced from a 44 to a 46 suit.

I should mention that at the height of my alleged prowess as a connector (Rick knows everybody), I presided over a venue I created called “The Entrepreneurs Network” (It should have an apostrophe s, but it looked better without it.)  After a while, people just referred to it as the “TEN.” For 17 years, TEN was a safe environment for first-time and serial entrepreneurs alike to meet with people who could be of help to them. I don’t know how many ventures went on to get funded. I’m sure there were more than a few over the years.  The best part was I met really fascinating people.  Each with an equally fascinating story about what could be.

One morning, sitting at my table, waiting to hear the story behind the headline I’d gotten over the phone, I caught a glimpse of a tall, blond Germanic –looking man in a white turtleneck and blue blazer entering the room (he struck me as U-boat captain) headed towards me.  “Rick? I’m Uli.”  He was an affable man, the kind you feel at ease with right away, who had an amazing solution to the world’s growing need for potable water. No small problem, as evidenced by the conflicts between countries and states over water rights.  His venture was certainly worthwhile and seemed to have legs, but, despite its humanitarian aspirations, it proved to be no match for the greed and corruption in parts of the world with the greatest need.  The epilogue to the encounter was that 10 years later, we reconnected on another venture. But that’s a story for another time.

“Losing a parent or other close family member is horrible, and painful. Losing a spouse is devastating, and inconsolable. “

That was then. This is now. I am now in what someone dubbed the fifth stage of my life.  I looked it up. I don’t like the definition.  The problem is that younger people make up these definitions and theories about the last few laps of life.

My beloved wife of almost 65 years was called home last year. That changed everything.  Losing her after a long illness has created an abyss that can barely be described even when you’re in its depths.   Losing a parent or other close family member is horrible, and painful. Losing a spouse is devastating, and inconsolable.

I’ll never be “doing business” again. However, I’m beginning to put some purposeful activities back on my calendar.  I’ve resumed producing/hosting some local television programs.  I’m doing a 12-part series on unpaid family caregiving. The sequel will be a six-part series on grieving and bereavement, topics on which I’m now well versed.  I teach in a high school one morning a week. I’d like to do more of that.

Our five children, and their 15 children, and their eight children, so far, are all loving and caring. And that helps a great deal. I’m blessed.

“We are becoming an uncanny reprise of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” which should be required reading in whatever is left of our education system.”

These days, the majority of the phone calls are robos.  Most emails are hawking miracle cures or offering secrets guaranteed to avoid the next market crash.  The mail has stopped being interesting. What there is of it are mostly pleas for money, a leftover from my wife’s unbridled generosity. And TV regurgitates recycled news, invents new ways to surveil viewers, and infuses obscenities into live and recorded programming with impunity. Society is offensively coarser and is trending toward higher levels of self-destruction, especially among our youth. We are becoming an uncanny reprise of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” which should be required reading in whatever is left of our education system.  In my day, society grappled with the fallout from cybernetics. Today, it’s the promise and threat of Artificial Intelligence.

I’m available for breakfast, lunch, or a drink after five.

 

 

richard Anthony

About the author

Richard (Rick) Anthony, Sr., is a retired management consultant who now spends his time teaching part-time and hosting a local TV show.
Richard J. Anthony, Sr.
Managing Partner
The Anthony Group, Inc.
Host-CaregiverAssistTV
Host-30 MinutesTV
Host-TheEntrepreneursNetwork
Author- Organizations, People & Effective Communication

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