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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Stages of Life (From Caring Deeply about Everything) to not giving a Sh..

I was reading one of my magazines and the story was about the number of women that choose not to have children these days and the amount of pressure placed on them by society. My mind tends to jump all over the place so I soaked it in when the interviewer ask her how she feels about it at 50 that she never had a child.  She said well it used to get kind of oppressive but quite frankly now days I don’t give a shit.

 So my mind jumped into many different paths of thinking with my first thought being,  I wonder how and who was the first person to say …Frankly my dear I don’t give a shit!  I know what it means but how did it start.  I am going to have to do some research on that some day. 

But then my second thought was is it because she is a woman that she does not give a shit or is it just stages of life that we all go through.  In thinking about it, I think stages have a lot to do with it.  For those that can still remember being young you can remember the passion you felt about everything.   There was no room in your mind for I don’t know or I am not certain as you were one hundred percent sure whatever you felt or thought was the right way and no one could tell you any different.  In fact you would spend long hours discussing what you felt was the proper path as you felt it was your obligation to educate the rest of world on the proper path. You are the new generation and you plan to change the world.  This stage has different time spans due to different life experiences but generally I would call it the 18-29 time period of life. 

 I heard Steve Harvey on television say something the other day that really nailed this time period.  One of his guests asks Steve:   I just turned 30, what can expect for myself in my 30’s.  Steve said that is a real easy question to answer as you are going to spend your next decade trying to straighten up what you have messed up in your twenty’s.

The thirties are that time that it starts to soak in that you may have to conform a little. You absolutely hate it but you have grown tired of banging your head against the wall and getting nowhere.  It helps a lot if some of your friends have already conformed and doing much better then you.  So maybe I am going to have to cut this hair and dress and talk more like “the man”.   You start justifying this by saying maybe I can change the world by becoming part of the majority and at least I will eat better.  You most likely have a few kids by now and figuring out that they don’t always respond real well to your new way of parenting that don’t leave a child with “issues”.  So maybe my parents were smarter than I thought?  No way, can’t be.  As you grow you find out there many paths lead to the same designation.  Each stage is very important as without them you would not be ready for the next.  So you are working, working and more working trying to keep up with the Jones and provide a better life for your children. Now right here is a critical point that we often mess up with as we too often think a better life means more things but that is most likely better left to another story.

So then one day you wake up and find yourself 40. That is like concrete block upside the head time.  All the young guns start calling you the old man. Your kids are in or finishing high school and you are not ready to be thought of as the old man yet!  You start thinking; I wonder if I can still do the stuff I did in my early years?  You can still remember it so you don’t want the 20 year old life style full time but a little more fun and less work does sound good. But there are bills to be paid, looking back you have actually done quite well but at the time you feel like a failure as you really didn’t get to where you wanted to be and you are 40, not much time left old boy.  You need to be thinking about doubling down on getting ahead and retirement cause you only got a thousand in the bank.  But you also remember what it was like being the new kid on the block growing up as an Air Force Brat and your kids tell you that you would absolutely ruin their life if you moved them during high school.  So you suck it up and wait.

Then your fifties come and you are starting to get your game together as the kids say.  You start thinking no I am not 20 and I can’t do what the 20 year old can but I have something just a little more important and it is called knowledge. Knowledge can be a lot of fun if you handle it right. I found out from raising kids that sometimes, well most of the time you can’t just tell a young one that the fire is hot they got to touch it themselves to make sure. We as the older group seem to forget that sometimes and become to judgmental when we see folks trying their own way.  We need to go back and re-read our 20 time period again from time to time. 

So what you can’t physically do everything you could do earlier in life, sit back chill and enjoy the game of life.  I was up at the Lakeview Country Club one night for a little Karaoke and went up to the bar to get a beer.  There were a few young bucks up at the bar and one was quite drunk.  I made the mistake of looking at him while I was waiting on the waitress.  He lifts his head and says what is the matter old man?  His two buddies mean while trying to calm him down.  I say nothing, nothing at all just getting a beer.  So he stumbles and gets up and says what about I just kick your ass.  The waitress and bartender move down the bar, his friends are holding him and the waitress hands me a beer.  I said look man I don’t want to fight you just want to have a few beers and sing some Karaoke.   I told him there would not be any fun in it and if it last longer than 30 seconds he was bound to hurt me bad.  

He kind of smiled and said okay.  The tension was broke and they all laughed with one of the kids shaking my hand.  See he just wants to sing Karaoke.  So I turn back to the one that wanted to kick my ass and say can I give you some advice son?   He said yeah go ahead.  I said don’t ever pick a fight with an old man; you would do better with some of these young guys shooting pool.   He says why is that?  The place gets quite and the pool players take a break.   Well it like this, it ain’t like you young bucks fighting where ya’ll tend to jump around and ask the other if they had enough yet.  And old man knows he ain’t got but 30 good seconds to take you completely, one hundred percent out or he is going to take a bad ass whipping.  They ain’t coming out slow they are giving it their all in that first 30 seconds.  They all laugh and I walk to my table.

I had been a supervisor at work for at least 25 years but always remembered how I would wish the boss would just let me try my way.  I especially didn’t like it when they would go off into a meeting to solve my problem and not invite me. How am I going to learn how to solve these problems if I don’t at least hear what they did to solve it? But as a first time supervisor for the first 10 years or so I would solve all my staff’s problems, because after all it is my turn to do it my way.  You find out over time that this is not the correct way to supervise as you become indispensable to the organization and they don’t want to hear that you want some time off.  You need to raise the opinion of your boss that your staff can handle it while you are out.  

So in the 50’s you don’t answer so many questions.  When they come to you with problems you make sure to ask them: What research have you done on this problem? What do you purpose we do to solve it?  You enjoy this as it is fun to hear out different methods to solve a problem.  Sometimes it is the same way you once tried to solve a problem, sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t.  What harms is going to come to the world if I let them try their way?   Most of the time (with the right questions) they know how to solve it and will work a lot harder toward making it work if it was their idea to begin with. 

You start doing this with your kids and wife also.  Your kids come over and you can tell they want some advice but don’t want to just come right out with it and ask.  By now your kids are young adults have children of their own and all they remember is how opinionated you were when they were growing up and all you are doing now is just sitting there listening with that dumb ass smile on your face.  When they quit talking and look at you, you say well what do you think you should do about that?  Let me tell you right now….they hate that question.  In their eyes it is a lot more fun to disagree with you then to take a chance of failing at something that was their idea.  In fact it was not that long ago my oldest ask me about something and I said, look we have had this discussion several times you know my view and this has been a sore area to discuss so try it your way.  I will just sit over here in the corner and smile. 

Then you have a wife that tends to ask your opinion a lot.  And it is only because of the stages you have been through that you realize she does not really want to hear your viewpoint on the problem, just shut up and listen and agree. In fact Genny made the mistake no to long ago of asking me about something (my viewpoint) while the National News was on.  So I say I hadn’t really thought about it hoping she will drop it.  So she says well what you think?  So I say look I wonder why you ask for my viewpoint on something because as long as I have known you, you have never taken my advice.  You always do it your way, so figure it out!   She says I do to listen to your advice.  Well tell me one time you have actually followed it?   That statement worked as she shut up and I got to finish watching the news.

And now at 59 and with a lot of struggle I am now retired.  I still got my hands in a few things, have some ideas to explore but for the most part I do what I want to do when I want to do it and that is very nice.  If I don’t get around to it today, there is always tomorrow so who really gives a shit.  Looking forward to my 60’s and 70’s because my dad would use as an excuse for not doing something…..Let’s leave that for the kids to worry about..

Art Nalley
Redneck Heritage Network