I'm A Stranger Here Myself

I am getting old. This is not a complaint but a matter of fact. I am not yet collecting social security or receiving a pension but I am old nonetheless. In a way, it is the worst kind of old. Mentally, I think I am still capable of physical prowess that I haven't been able to do in 10, (alright 20), years. I can still name all of the characters of my favorite TV shows and cartoons from 40 years ago but have difficulty remembering if I ate lunch today. And the worst thing of all is that I am surprised every time I look in the mirror to find my father looking back at me.

When I answer a questionnaire, my age is either in the last or next to the last block. When they ask sex, I think back with great fondness and when I have to check the income block I wonder if I should deduct tuition, loans to the business, friends and family members and all of the other reasons that my "net" income has become "gross". My parents have passed on, all of my uncles have gone and I have one aunt left somewhere in Florida. I am beginning to feel like an endangered species. The dodo bird, the duckbilled platypus and me. Wow!

But I still go on. I have to! To paraphrase Winston Churchill, (and use a bit of poetic license doing so), "Never have so few owed so much to so many". But my creditors are patient, my suppliers are trusting and business is getting better every day. As they say, "you get to see everything if you live long enough". And I have. Competitors are partnering, sworn enemies are working together and "co-op-atition" is once again the buzz word in business. Independents aren't independent, Stand Alones are standing with others and the Lone Wolf is a thing of the past. United We Stand has never meant more than it does today.

The business model has changed in every industry. What once worked wonderfully in the past is destined for failure today. As a famous philosopher, (my brother Steve), once said, "used to be doesn't live here anymore". Change is the only constant and it is happening at the speed of light. Every morning when you turn on the lights you can bet that something is going to change at great speed!

One of the dumbest quotes I have ever heard is "there is nothing new under the sun". Of course there is! There are new thoughts, new ideas, new products, new projects, new ideals, new goals and new opportunities. Even an old codger like me will occasionally feel new and invigorated by the challenges and possibilities all of this newness brings. There are blue skies, golden rainbows, and great rewards waiting for those with the strength of resolve to go after it. And to all of you cynics, I am not having a 60's flashback while I'm writing this article: I am a sober, lucid, conservative grandfather.

Yes, I am a stranger in this new millennia with neither a map nor guidebook but I'm determined to take advantage of all of the changes that are here now and are yet to come. It makes me feel younger and more "in touch" just writing about it. Now, if only my old suits would come back in style….

Gary Wiesner is co-owner of Pro-Auto Recyclers, Williamstown, New Jersey

Visit their website at proautorecyclers.com


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