Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Cup Overfloweth: Spilling out all the angst.

So, it occurred to me the other day that sometime when I'm very upset or annoyed, I will think about and/or express everything that has bothered me for a while instead of just focusing on the irritant of the moment.   Anyway, so I was processing why I think that happens.  I've previously addressed why some small irritation might send someone over the edge in Heavy straws & a broken camel's back.  In that post I was really speaking about meltdowns that occur when a micro-irritation presented itself.  The micro-irritation isn't really the object of the meltdown, but instead was the straw that broke the camel's back.  In other words, it is the irritant that finally destroys a 'brave front' against the thing(s) that is/are really behind the meltdown.

I guess you could say this thought is a corollary to it.   Why is it sometimes when we finally blow up with others including creditors or dealers, that we go over a list of things that have annoyed us.  It occurred to view it this way.   Each irritant is difference fluid filling up our cup (of patience) so to speak.  


When I bought my 2011 Mazda 3, the dealership didn't go down as much on price as I wanted them to.  However, just wanting to get it over with, I accepted paying a couple hundred more than I thought I should.  Anyway, the dealership advertised it as having Satellite Radio in it, which it didn't. I figured it was just because it wasn't turned on from Sirius XM.  I didn't learn otherwise until I called Sirius and we figured it had the buttons for Sirius XM, but not the underlying receiver.  I was annoyed but was willing to figure something out with them (such as them paying for a dash-mounted receiver and service for a period of time).  Also, when negotiating with them, they indicated that another employee, who wasn't present at the time, had the second key.  I didn't care too much as I figured a) I only need one key to test drive, b) I was going to pick up the car at a later point and I'd just get it then and c) they'd been in business for a number of years, so I figured they knew what they were doing.  I found the next day when I went to pick up the car, that the second key didn't work, irritating me more, but they said they'd work with me on it.  Additionally, it had been years since I bought a used car from a dealer, so they indicated they were waiting on the updated title as it was sold to them just a few days ago.  They expected it all to be resolved by within a few days.  Suffice to say it wasn't resolved by the end of the week.  Anyway, they did eventually get the updated title for me so, I got past that irritant.  In addition, I'd never included taxes in the loan and so when they said I could cash the check or sign it over to the DOR (Dept. of Revenue), I figured they knew what they were talking about.  It was a long week and I was tired and endorsed it wrong due to their instructions.   As the temporary tag period was about to expire I finally had enough and demanded to talk to the head of the used car division.  After being told that this person and that person were in a meeting and I'd have to leave a message.  I exploded and told her in no uncertain terms that I would personally go up to the dealership and wait until the highest person in charge was available.   That got her attention and she got a hold of the head of the used car division.   So, he said this isn't normally how business is done that they got the car and the staff rushed it to the sales floor before it was ready.


Next day, with a check for taxes reprinted I went to the DOR ready to title it and found it that the emissions inspection wasn't done.  Suffice to say, I lost it again and the guy in charge said, he'd 'find the paperwork'.  Which meant, we will do the emissions inspection.  I could have called them out on their lack of candor, but since they did the emissions inspection right then and there, I dropped the thought.  They apologized profusely for the whole experience and I ultimately forgave them as I didn't want to stay mad. 


Think of each screw-up a being a small cup which contained different flavored drinks.   Each when added to the a larger cup, would mix together.  Now think of the larger cup being almost full.  If you continued to add small cupful to it, it will spill over.   It wouldn't just spill over the one last flavor, but it would spill over all the flavor that had been mixed in.  The larger cup represents the overall patience I had.  Each small cup represented a screw-up that exhausted some of my patience.  When added, just like the smaller cupfuls would disturb the contents of the larger, cup, each screw-up would irritate me a little more.  The final screw-up not only disturbed the contents of the larger cup, but it caused the larger cup to overflow.  When my patience was exhausted, just like part of each of the flavors would come spilling out, each screw-up came spilling up of mouth when I let the used car manager have it.


Maybe it's just like that for a lot of people, they can take this hit or that hit and seemingly keep their cool, but each hit really tends to pile on.  If they hadn't had a chance to properly digest the individual hits before they piled on, when their patience is finally exhausted they'd address each hit to their patience.


Anyway, just some thoughts for the day.  Hopefully this makes a little sense.  As always thanks for reading and feel free to take from the post whatever might find helpful.


Cheers,

Rich


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Relational Awareness: Being Aware of Your Relationship Surroundings.

Time and time again, I've heard that one of the keys to a successful marriage is communication.   It sounds good as an open line of communication is good in any relationship--friendship, professional, parent/child, sibling etc.  However, what does that mean in practical terms?   I've thought about that from time to time as I have explored or considered ways to improve the various relationships in my life.  I never could find the words to express it however.   I finally stumbled upon a phrase which captures it for me: Relational Awareness.

What I am talking about is: how to be yourself, but also be a good partner, friend, parent, sibling, etc.   I'll start by exploring (from my perspective), what I consider the unhealthy relationship personalities.


  • Co-dependence 
    • It can look like selflessness or thoughtfulness, but in reality it may be anything but that.
    • The co-dependent may truly and actually sacrifice, but often for the wrong reason or motivation.   Often the difference is subtle.
      • The codependent may truly be sacrificing, but it is hopes of gaining approval or in some cases just keeping the peace.
      • Behaviors/actions may be guided by a desire to keep (or make) the other party happy, not because it is the best course of action.  In other words, minimizing yourself in hopes of being approved of.
  • Ambivalence
    • Expressing mixed feelings or sending mixed messages.
    • Caring about the other person, but not necessarily being fully invested.  
    • It can at times appear one partner doesn't care about the other, but in some ways it might actually be caring too much, just not always showing it do to being in a conflicted state
  • Narcissism
    • Can play out in a few ways.
      • Obvious indifference to the other.
      • Actions/behaviors undertaken are taken without regard to what is important to your partner.
      • To the extent it seems like a narcissist cares about the other, it is usually based on subtly manipulating them for advantage.  Examples can include:
        • Being the 'helpful' or 'generous' one, when the real goal is to gain allies in quest for position.
        • Offering to buy a home security system or installing security on electronic devices when the goal is to monitor or keep track of another.

I'm sure this is not a complete list, but really my larger point is this: What characterizes good communication.  When I speak of communication, I don't just mean things spoken, but things unspoken too.   Each relationship personality type, is an example of what DOESN'T lend itself towards good communication.  

--

It occurred to me, a couple can best succeed if they have what I call relational awareness.  Some of the characteristics I see in relational awareness.
  • Being willing to step outside yourself and be willing to see others through a filter not your own.
    • Thinking of an alcoholic as a selfish jerk who doesn't care about others, when he may be a broken man who lost his family.
    • Thinking a kid who doesn't do their homework is just lazy, when the truth is the kid is struggling and is too embarrassed to ask for help.
  • Taking into account the other's circumstances/background in how you relate to them.
    • This doesn't mean letting relating to them completely on their terms as that can diminish your own self/needs.
      • Adopting their point of view (POV) or way might in some circumstances be beneficial anyway.
      • In other circumstances, adopting their POV or way may not be beneficial, however, being respectful of it can be helpful.
    • What it means is finding a way that respects both people's needs.  Your need to be 'heard' and their need for a type of communication which is healthy for them.
    • For example, a partner who grows up in a household beset by yelling and fighting.  That partner may respond poorly to yelling and fighting.
      • You work to see if the partner can unpack what bothers them.  
      • That doesn't mean never show displeasure at the them.  Instead, you might consider different ways to get the same point across before losing your cool and/or you might consider whether the issue is really worth losing your cool.  In other words, reserve or limit your 'loud' hostility to really important 'battles'.
  • Being willing to accept that there people have a way that works best for them and respecting that instead of trying to 'fix it'.
    • That doesn't mean you never provide or show an alternative way.  It can mean putting it out there, but not insisting.
    • It means that they may not be open to an alternative way at this time and considering whether it is an important enough point or issue to conflict on.
    • Realize that sometimes people come to the same conclusion in different timing.  It may just be they need to internalize another way as their own before they embrace it.
  • Being willing to consider that people have different ways of communicating and learning to accept it in many cases and work with it in other cases.  For example...
    • Some people need to talk it out as they process.
    • Some people need to heavily process before they talk it out.
    • Some people talk out only what they consider the important things.  When the 'important things' are agreed upon, the little things will tend to fall into place better.
    • Some people like to talk out what could be deemed as less important.  The 'big picture' is made up of countless 'little pictures'.

In short, it doesn't mean just conceding to the other person, but it does mean 
  • Accepting that other points of view can and often do have legitimacy.
  • Accepting that even if your way may look better objectively, their way may be better for them or better for them at this time (in other words, it may be something that can be worked on, just not forced upon them).
  • Accepting that some battles just aren't important enough.  In other words, you can disagree without being disagreeable, especially if their intent is good.
  • Accepting that a relationship is a work in progress.  Like any journey in life, the moment you think you've arrived, you stop growing.

If communication was easy then the country would not be awash in marital counselors.   If it was easy then people would never fight.  If it was easy the divorce rate would probably not be as high.

To me this is really an extension or expansion of my prior post about 2D vs. 3D relationships.   It is important not just knowing things about the other person, but really having a sense about what makes them tick and trying to work with that knowledge.

Jut my 1/50th of a $1 for the day.

Cheers,
Rich



Thursday, March 7, 2019

Demons, Part 5: Ways to deal with hurt and the failure to outrun it.


A while back, I found out a one-time friend of mine had passed away from an overdose shortly after I fell out of touch with her.   At the time our friendship ended, she had basically tossed aside our friendship essentially stating that [our friendship] wasn't (paraphrasing it) "doing it for me".   Not one to be where I'm not wanted and having my self-respect, I honored her wishes.  In fact, I made a point to shut her out and blocking her access to me.  But, before I did this, I let her know that "I had figured that our friendship had an expiration date on it", before quietly fading away.  Even though we were never more than friends, I did like her a little bit and I was left wondering, what did I do to deserve being 'unfriended'?

Long after this estrangement, I looked at a common friend's page and saw her name in the friend's list on Facebook.  Out of curiosity, I decided to see what my estranged friend was up to.  I observed she had a memorial page and after following up on it, I got the rest of the story.   Even though we were estranged and she'd hurt my feelings, I was sad about it her passing.  She had overdosed within a number of months of our friendship ending.  Knowing that she overdosed shortly after our falling out of touch, helped me to understand that our estrangement was never really due to what I was lacking in the friend department to her.  Instead, it turns out she was a hurt person, struggling with demons.  She was seeking whatever she could to outrun or mask her pain and hurt.  A friendship that wasn't 'fun' enough didn't help her to do this.  It's clear now that neither I nor anyone else could be what she needed.   She needed to come to terms with herself and her pain.

I'd venture to guess most of know or are at least familiar with someone like that, if not having experienced it ourselves.  Someone who has or has had a deep soul level hurt that they tried to avoid facing.   From my experience and knowledge, anyone who has been there realizes that when you are in that place, you can either do one of four things--much of which I have done.  Some ways of dealing with hurt are unproductive and some are destructive.
  • Attempt to outlast it
    • Curling up into a ball, trying to sleep away pain, hurt and/or sadness.
    • 'Sleeping it off' can sometimes actually help if not overdone or abused.  Sometimes a new day can bring a fresh start and allow us to heal enough to deal with it.
  • Attempt to avoid it.
    •  Medicating it. This can take many forms, none of which are necessarily healthy and some of which can be downright deadly.
      • Literal 'medicine' such as drugs or alcohol to hope us cope.
      • Distractions to keep us from facing our hurt
        • Gambling, porn, overeating are 'pleasing' distractions.
        • Cutting and inking can be 'blocking' or masking distractions.  Just like a fire strategically set can burn the 'fuel' to a raging forest fire, a different type of pain can help block the 'hurting pain'.
    • Shutting down mourning.  Sometimes it hurts and makes us feel vulnerable to feel and to risk sharing our hurt.  Sometimes we are told to be brave, to keep a stiff upper lip.  While there is a time to be brave, sometimes when we shut down mourning, we are being just the opposite of brave.   We are avoiding.  Essentially, we are Zig Zagging through life: Diverting our energy from where it is really needed
  • Attempt to outrun it
    • Keeping too busy to have time to focus on it.  
    • Keeping busy I believe is a common way to avoid grieving the loss of a love one.
  • Allow ourselves to feel it.
    • Outwardly mourning and/or inwardly focusing on our hurt can be a distraction to what we need to get done, if it is timed wrong.
    • Finding a time and a place where it is safe to feel and mourn the hurt is imperative.  Allowing too much hurt to build up with no outlet is not a healthy place to be.
--

We all face some disappointment, some hurt--a promise not kept, a friendship lost, but I'm talking about deeper than that.  I'm talking a deep gut punch like a bitter divorce or an unexpected, untimely death, abuse and things of that nature.  This is not to minimize the 'smaller' hurts, but to put things in perspective.   Sometimes too however, enough 'smaller' hurts can build up and be just as debilitating.   But, I digress.  What I'm talking about is a buildup of hurt.  Anyway, as I've gotten deeper into my adulthood, I've come to realize that pain and hurt will not magically disappear and just because you claim you are 'over them' doesn't actually mean you are.   Our soul, and not our hopes, has a way of knowing if we have dealt with hurt.  My estranged friend reminded me.  Anyway, just some thoughts.   Here are a few other posts which I think would go with this one:

See:

Cheers,
Rich


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Heartache: Wanting the one thing you can't have

I went to Dennis DeYoung the other day and as I expected, he put on an excellent show.  He talked a bit about his time with Styx and you got the sense that while he likes doing shows, he would rather do a show with his old bandmates.  I had previously read up on the Styx story and found it in a bit sad.  The band had a creative falling out after Mr. Roboto and then got back together for a tour in the 1990s.  However, in 1999, they seem to have a permanent falling out as the band fired DeYoung and replaced him on keyboards and lead vocals.

I've read on many occasions that that DeYoung is open to and expressed a desire to reunite with his old bandmates.  However, I've read on many occasions in which they stated in no uncertain terms that it isn't going to happen.  It's really sad in a way, DeYoung was the biggest creative force behind the band and definitely the voice you'd associated with them.   In short, getting back with the band one more time is the one thing he'd want, the one thing that he'd truly like before his time here has passed, yet it is the one thing he can't have.  Perhaps, others in the band perceived him as too controlling or not committed to them enough.  Not totally sure.   The point is, it sounds like he'd eat his pride and make whatever amends he needed to for just one more chance to be with them as a group.   He is 72 and while he appears to be in good health.  However, at that age, as I know from personal experience with parents, the time to put your affairs in order is significantly shorter than in your 50s or 60s.

I've had moments where I just wanted to talk to my mom or brother just one more time.  I've wanted to share a thought or a memory or a moment with them, but the reality and finality of their death has precluded me from doing so.  Anyone who has lost someone close has probably felt this way.   I think many people have had friends come into and leave their life, with them still longing for the friendship that has escaped them.  The same applies to a love that has been lost or even family members you've fallen out with.  It can be a hard pill to swallow.


How do you deal with the one thing you want but can't have?  I'm not sure, but I do have some ideas.
  • You find a way to be grateful for what you do have.  That doesn't mean you forget the thing that which tugs on your heart.  It does that means you don't allow it to dominate.  Instead you focus your positive energy on what you do have instead of treating it like a pale imitation what you used to have.  In other words, treat your current life and relationships that you do have a something other than a consolation prize. 
    • I don't see my daughter everyday and I go stretches without seeing her, while I am sad about those points, I can't let them dominate when I do have her.
  • You be grateful for that which you had.  When you became so accustomed to lost loved ones or the special person(s) you have in your life and they are no longer available, it can take some time to get to the 'than to never have loved' stage of "it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have had".  But, with time to process, time to mourn, and time to reflect perhaps with some effort you can get to this stage.
    • It is still a hard pill for me to mourn losing my brother when he was 43.  It felt like a life of someone so close that hadn't been fulfilled.  Yet, I have to remember the close times we had together and the cool things about him than to get caught up in longing to speak to him again.
  • Look for new people and new opportunities to give your time, love and effort to.   You can cry over spilled milk for a while but eventually to move forward sometimes you just have to get a new carton of milk.
    • Back in the late 1990s, I had a relationship end that broke my heart.  Time, distance and seeing all sides of the situation--she has a good family and found what she needed and me seeing that I would not have had my daughter if I had been with her (at least in her current form).  But, hindsight is 20/20 and heartache is heartache.  So, I adjusted and moved on and as a result, I am richer the opportunity to know my child.
    • My first marriage ended up ultimately being a disappointment and somewhat disillusioned me towards marriage.  Yes, I could have stayed lost in the disillusion of it and I could have been sad to lose time with my daughter forever, but that wouldn't have been healthy.  Instead, I took some time for myself and figured out a few things and eventually started dating again.  Had I stayed in the disillusionment, I would not have had the opportunity to get to know and appreciate my new family.
  • You realize that just because it seems hopeless now, what you need may come back either in the similar form or a new form.  In Carly Simon's own words, "I know nothing stays the same, but if you're willing to play the game, it'll be coming around again'.
    • Our favorite group splits up, the lead singer takes on a solo project or they replace the lead with a new one--such as with Foreigner and Journey.  It seems like more often than not this is the end of the band as we know it.
    • Freddy Mercury took a break from Queen to do solo work in the mid to late 1980s, but they got back together to do a final few albums before his passing at a young age.
Who knows sometimes that which you think is permanently lost may be 'coming around again' as Carly Simon sings, but even if it doesn't, being deliberate about dealing with the heartache and loss can help put you in a position to better move forward.  

--

For what it's worth, I hope Mr. DeYoung gets the opportunity to make peace with and come to terms with his old bandmates.  But, if he doesn't get that opportunity I hope he is at peace with it or is able to find a way to get to peace with it.   Either way, I believe it is okay for him to express sadness or longing for it.   However, he as he is doing now, needs to move forward and understand that it just might not ever be in the cards.

Just some thoughts for the day,
Rich


Saturday, February 2, 2019

Toxic cleanups are best done by HazMat people

A while back I wrote a blog post called #MeAsWell: For What It's Worth related to CSA (childhood sexual abuse) and my person experience on the matter.  In the process of talking about it to my wife, I got the sense that she could only understand it to a certain point.  That's not a fault of hers as sometimes you can only fully grasp a circumstance or situation if you've been in a similar one.   She lost her husband abruptly a few years back and had to learn to raise two kids on her own.  I've lost close relatives too and one at a young age.  While I can understand hurt of losing someone at a relatively young age, I cannot appreciate my spouse dying unexpectedly and leaving me kids to raise alone.   Anyway, it got me to thinking about why there are some things that are hard to talk to about even those closest to you.

For me, it is how I was affected by CSA and specifically what struggles I've had including the inability to easily trust others.  It is also some aspects about my late brother's life--he committed suicide. (Don't you forget about me: The blog I needed to write one day about my late brother.)   For others it could be about their struggles with the bottle.  For yet others, it could be about their marriage or job failures, etc.


So, I tried to relate to her about why people might have trouble talking about their most painful experience, issues, concerns, etc.   Many or most people have someone in their life who says, "You can talk to me about anything."  While this sounds good and the intentions are usually good, there are some definite blocks as to why this doesn't always hold true:


  • Sometimes people have had others who have said the same thing and they found it that it wasn't true. The others didn't behave or react in a helpful way.  Alternatively, they found that what was talked about in confidence with their someone was gossiped about later.  In other words, they thought it was safe to talk about very personal subjects and were let down.
  • Sometimes people feel too much shame or embarrassment about a subject matter and they don't want to initially open up with someone close.
    • A professional such as a minister, counselor or therapist is often the best first person to go to.
    • A professional often has the level of detachment necessary for you speak your mind.  Whatever block felt (humiliation, embarrassment, etc.) may not be as strong with a 'stranger' as it would be in front of someone you see all the time.
    • Most professionals are trained to remove or at least not let their biases get in the way.  They are trained not to react, but to listen.
    • Most professionals have likely 'heard it all' or enough that they won't be shocked or rattled by what you open up about.
  • Sometimes people realize that someone close to them is not necessarily the best one to talk to about a given subject.
    • The know their someone would just not be able to understand the issue as they have no experience in dealing with it.
    • They know that their someone has their own issue(s) which may conflict.  For example, if your someone has a history of depression/suicide in their family, talking too much about your depression could be a subject way too close for them to deal with or could trigger them.

I titled this post as I did because the things that really trouble people and are hard to open up about can be toxic--at least to the person who is troubled if not to those around them.   When you have a toxic spill, who would you call?  Why a person trained in toxic cleanup.  That is, HazMat certified people.   Likewise, when you have a subject which is toxic  (at least to you), who should you call?  Someone who is trained to or experienced in dealing with toxic emotional, behavioral, mental and/or spiritual issues.  Now, after the fact, you may realize what was bothering you may have been overblown, but that may not be clear until you have someone 'detoxify' it for you.  That is to say, break it down in such a way that you see it as overblown.  On issues that are truly 'poisonous', a professional will be able to give you the tools to process them and explain what troubles you to those around you.

--


Personal note, I was  able to help one friend off a toxic substance--the bottle--and able to relate to what led them to it.  However, that friend was ready to get sober, but just needed someone to be there for them.  Unfortunately, I later had a friend who I found out was addicted to heroine.  I tried to be there to help, but found that I was in over my head.  My friend had demons that were troubling her that I just wasn't equipped to help out with, though I tried.  Sadly, she died at the age of 25.  The best people to help her were trained professionals.  Family and friends could be supportive and were to the extent they could, but she mostly needed trained professionals as much as possible to guide her.  That is, "HazMat" people.


Anyway, just some food for thought.  I hope this helps others who want to be there for a loved one realize that sometimes there are limits to 'being there' and the best you can do is be supportive while they find their 'Hazmat' person.


-- Rich




* Note sure how well this video fits, but I thought why not?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Perspective: See you on the other side

I've noticed over the past number of years an amazing phenomenon in my life.   I suspect some of it--the phenomenon--is part of the natural process of gaining age and experience, some of it is karma, and some of it just coincidental.  So, what is it you ask?  Glad you asked!  What I speak of is seeing or being on the other side (of situations or life in general).  I will expand upon what I mean in just a moment, but what brought the concept was a mundane everyday experience.

I was on my drive home earlier tonight and was in the fast lane as is my custom. I noticed someone bearing down on me.   I was going 70MPH + and giving a reasonable distance with the car in front of me (60mph being the speed limit).  Anyway, the driver behind me must have had a hot date or something, because I couldn't make out his headlights in my rearview mirror.  Frankly, I don't know if I could see his license plate?   You know if a driver is that close (especially at a pretty high speed), they are dangerously tailgating you.  As is my custom, I let off the gas a little as I don't appreciate someone risking my safety because he or she is impatient.   I did a kind of jerky move though, once I passed a car off to the side, I noticed that the tailgater was making a power move to get around me.  I wasn't having any of it. After all, I was going to be that jerk's karma this day.  I sped up enough that he couldn't pass me as I caught up to and was now passing another car on my side.  He fell back behind me and continued tailgating, probably pissed off that he couldn't get around me.  He probably also knew what I had done. 

Every since I was involved in a high speed collision with another driver and her irresponsible driving, I don't take kindly to irresponsible, overly aggressive drivers.  If you are behind me and look like you want to drive more quickly than I am, I will probably see you and make every effort to move out of your way.  In other words, safely and reasonably let you pass me.  If you are pushy about it--in a way that threatens my safety such as tailgating or threatening to cut me off--I don't take too kindly to it.  I will make it a point make sure you don't get rewarded for driving in a reckless manner.  I'm sure that's not defensive driving, but who's perfect?

The funny thing about the story above is that I used to be the jerky, impatient driver who tailgated others in the fast lane in an attempt to ENCOURAGE them to change lanes and get out of my way.  My wife said, "Maybe they don't realize how pushy they are being.  They want to get where they want to get and don't really think about the other person."  I disabused her of that notion.  Not to say that that is never the case.  But, I personally know better. I used to think to myself as I was riding close to the driver in front of me, "Aren't you getting the message?  Just the get the hell out of my way."   It's funny though, years and a high impact collision later, I'm the old man effectively screaming, "Get off my lawn" or the driving equivalent of it.  I see it from the other side now.

In my first marriage, when we first lived together, my now ex moved into my apartment and then the house I bought shortly thereafter.  I never realized how much of an adjustment that may have been until years later. I remarried and I was the one that was moving into my significant other's place.  She has owned the place for over 20 years and I'm the person moving in.   It gives me some perspective now from the other side.

Then there is the child to parent role being flipped.  When I was a teen, I remembered thinking my parents were old.  Then one day I found myself being "my parent's age" and having children.  While I wasn't carefree as a teen, I remember that I wasn't super worried about paying the bills and things like that.  Now, I can see it on the other side.  Having to worry more about others than myself.

I suspect one day, I will be the older driver who is taking too long during rush hour.  I will be the older driver who is driving 45 in a 45 zone irritating the people behind me.  In other words, the one who is blocking the younger drivers, you know those drivers who are in a hurry.  If I have the presence of mine and am not too ornery, I might even laugh about it as it is happening.

I guess another way of describing this situation is: If you live long enough you will experience life's rich ironies.  That is, irony with a rich helping of iron.

Regards,
Rich

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Perspective: Wants Being A World Away From Needs

I got an iTunes and Amazon gift cards recently for Christmas (2018), so of course, what do I do?  I sought to supplement my music collection on my iPod.   Anyway, I had been a little sad this Christmas season as I had just turned 50, I didn't have my daughter for Christmas and most of Christmas Eve, I had previously lost three of my immediately family members in recent years and frankly, the year had been very tiring at times and I'd reflected on long-time hurts.  So, one could say I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I'd always respected Roy Orbison as a musician and I know I heard his life story before.  However, I never really thought to much about it.  But, this time was different.  I'd been looking up ELO on YouTube and stumbled upon the Traveling Willburys which then led me to Roy Orbison.  In a way, this search had taken me to the "End of The Line" as far as Roy Orbison.

Anyway, in researching his music, I came across his life story and it was very tragic and sad.  Yes, he may have eventually accumulated some wealth and not had to worry about where his next meal came from.  However, his life was far from easy.  He was born smack dab in The Great Depression with his parents both struggling with employment.  He was blessed with a guitar and a gift of music.  Though he was talented, it took him a while to get established in the industry.  His star gained momentum in the early 60s, but he was hit with marital problems which led to divorce in 1964.  He and his first wife, Claudette, had patched things up in late 1965, but this was only a temporary reprieve from downtimes and tragedy in his life.  His 1st was killed in a freak accident in June 1966 and in September 1968, his two eldest sons died in fire that burned his house to the ground while he was touring.  His star by that that time had been in decline.  Eventually, it picked up again and he found new success in the 1980s.  He died of a heart attack at age 52.  I'd heard his story before but this time it really got my attention and I felt sadness for him and thought, while I've faced adversity, I hadn't had to face losing a spouse and kids and health problems like he had.   In a way, though I haven't achieved fame and fortune like had, I hadn't faced some of the tragedy he had.  This got me thinking about something I've thought about a lot during my life.

I've long thought that, we in this country, are very fortunate. I have felt some guilt that my want, even in an unnecessarily poor childhood, was still less than need in many other places in the world.  Our poor usually are better off than much of the world, especially places like Haiti.  I guess it's all perspective.  I grew up with less than many/most others in my school and across town and I felt poor, but seeing images of others having to worry about starvation is very humbling.  Anyway, I have a few thought on wants and needs in my life, the life of kids in this generation and in the world as a whole.

Ponderings:
  • Being around people with "more" can give a distorted picture and can create false 'needs'.  
    • For example, if the people I see socially, work with, or are related have large homes and live in a very nice neighborhoods, it might create a sense in me that in order to 'fit in', I need to have that as well.  In reality, in such a case, I don't 'need' those things, but 'want' them to prevent me from feeling 'inferior'.
    • If a kid goes to school and all his friends have nice clothes, nice cars,  and nice things including electronics out the wazoo, then the kid will 'need' some of those things to at least be able to 'relate' or 'fit in'.  The need, in this case, isn't more nice things but to appreciate that you can't always have every nice thing.  The other need is for other parents, with more means, to raise their kids with a healthy respect for others regardless of what others have.
  • Getting used to 'luxuries' can make them seem like needs.
    • Growing up, I didn't have a microwave oven until I finished college, I didn't AC until I went away to college, I didn't have a dishwasher until I moved into my first apartment, I didn't have a TV with remote or with cable until I was on my own.  At the time each of these things seemed like a luxury.  
    • I am so used to having all of these things that to have them taken away makes them seem like a need that is unmet.
  • If you grown up or gotten used to having more, the best way to remind yourself that much of what you have is a luxury is spending time around those who struggle to have basic needs met.
  • Our real needs are sometimes masked by purposely or unwittingly by those things we feel are needs.
    • If we feel ugly, we may feel like we 'need' to shop for clothes.  In other words, substitute an outfit to deal with insecurity.
    • If we feel sad, we may feel a 'need' for the latest electronic or other gadget to distract us.
    • Often times what we really need is not more 'things' but instead peace and serenity.

I don't know if I broke any new ground here, but I felt compelled to write this blog post.  Kids today seem to not appreciate what they have and when I remind them growing up how we did with less, it doesn't impact them.  I forget that its hard to relate to having less when you never have.  In a way, I feel like it is hard to relate to those in the world who do have less and are in real need unless you actually see them with less.  That's why I titled this post as I did.  Anyway, hopefully, others can relate or get something out of this post.

- Rich

This post reminds me of another I wrote:
Accepting People Where They Are.