There is a point in every life when childhood ends, where you are considered mature enough to handle things for yourself. That’s good and bad of course. The good is you run your own show, without answering to a soul. The bad is that you run your own show, so everything is your responsibility or your fault for forgetting.
It’s a hard lesson. A daunting idea.
I recall being a senior in college and being terrified at the prospect of graduation. I felt unprepared and had (too late) realized how good I had it as a college student. That time of your life, for those lucky enough to get it, is priceless. You spread your wings. Open your mind. Become something different from when you started. I would not trade those four years for anything, and have worked hard to be sure my children get that same experience.
The unease at impending reality is a feeling that’s alive and well in a few college seniors facing tradition this year. It’s a shock to realize there will be no more spring breaks and summer’s off, internships will end and things will move on. Preparation for adulthood is at an end. You will now join the working world, with all its privileges and pitfalls.
Like the Paul Simon song says, “When I think back on all the crap I leaned in high school, It’s a wonder I can think at all.”
With my last child slogging his way through high school and questioning why he needs to learn some of these things, I find myself wondering. how much of what I was taught in those days has stood the test of time?
Wow, when you start to list it out, it really was a lot of crap. The real learning didn’t start until college. I remember on the day I graduated I was sure I’d never have to study, my learning days were behind me, except they weren’t. Far from it.
I’ve learned more since I left that building than I ever did inside it.
Makes me wonder how much of what my own children were taught in those hallowed halls of high school might one day (maybe soon) be proven untrue, be labelled crap.
Admit to it or not, we all do it. Gossip that is.
Maybe it’s to distract ourselves from our own troubles. Maybe it’s to remind ourselves that we are not alone in facing the travails of life. Maybe the fact that gossip is frowned upon makes it that much more alluring — who doesn’t like to be privy to special knowledge about other people?
Just think about how Hollywood thrives on gossip. Science, as you might expect, is studying gossip — using it as a way to understand what’s normal for a particular culture, to encourage cooperation and build bonds (unless you’re the subject of the gossip, of course). They suggest gossip as a way of learning — which comes into play when you’re new on the job and need to learn the lay of the land. Fast.
It was only a few days ago that I visited New York City for the first time.
Believe me, if funds allowed I’d be far more well-travelled at my age than I am. As it is I don’t go far from home very often. We vacation in the same New England state that we live in. My honeymoon to Bermuda was 25+ years ago, and we made the obligatory trip to Disney in Florida, as well as being lucky enough to take a cruise to Mexico and visit the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. With little travel experience to my credit, I look forward to any opportunity to go someplace, even if just for a short while.
So when the chance to visit New York City came up, I jumped at it. Short as it would be, I’d have the adventure, see for myself the sights, the people and the iconic places we all know. Anyone who can, and never has, really needs to go into New York City for a few hours. If only once.
Another mass shooting is in the news. No one is saying the “t” word yet, but things are getting clearer as I write this. It was San Bernardin0 California this time, a holiday gathering where something went wrong. Terribly wrong.
Gun control is again in the headlines, another example of attention being misdirected, focusing on one detail and missing the big picture. Politicians and candidates on both sides are making scripted statements and shaking their fists. Emotions are running high. Real people are hurting in the worst way possible. The rest of us are helpless and raging at the senseless, stupid waste of it all. Wondering how long it will be before someone we love is caught up in a senseless act of violence with weapons meant for war that have gotten in the wrong hands.
At this moment, I truly am the Queen of the Kingdom of Isolation, utterly alone in my thinking.
There have been many times in my life where I’ve felt like I am the only living soul on this whole wide earth (Universe maybe) who thinks like this. Who notices things others miss. Who remembers the past. Who sees life lessons looming. Who hears things other people seem to miss, though I’m claiming no special talent or perceptiveness.
Maybe I’m too sensitive. Maybe I’m totally crazy. Maybe I’m too “deep” for my own good. Maybe all of these things. All I know is that what seems plain as the nose on your face to me, is nothing of the sort to any other person I know. Even the smart, perceptive ones.
The fact that the debate over the Confederate flag is so heated tells you all you need to know about the state of race relations in America.
It’s a sad, shameful thing when misguided, incompetent or otherwise lost people adopt a symbol for their own selfish purposes. One of the most famous is the Nazi’s adopting the swastika (a symbol from many faiths) for their own. The most recent comes from a racist gunman who murdered a room full of innocent people at a historic Charleston church, knowing his photos posing with the Confederate flag and the race of his victims would ignite the worst in people. He wanted to start a race war.
In a way he succeeded.
The shocking and despicable act sparked outrage (as it should) and knee jerk reactions (as usual) from politicians and candidates alike. Many link the Confederate flag and racism, and calls for its ouster are getting more strident by the day. Activists are scaling flagpoles, and demonstrations (for and against) are taking place. But before you start pulling flags down, perhaps some history might be in order. Did you realize the U.S. flag flew over a slavery supporting nation for 86 years; the Confederate flag for 4 years? The U.S. flag flew on slave ships, the Confederate flag never did. Slavery was part of the Civil War (or the War for Southern Independence) but it was by far the only reason.
Being confronted (surrounded) by incompetence is one of the most frustrating things in life. Unfortunately for me, I’ve seen quite a bit of it lately… as you might guess by the thoughtful title selected for this post. It came to me as I sat, facing incompetence right in it’s earnest little face and telling it to move on.
I have no time (patience) for incompetence. Enough already.
Consider that incompetence (like weeds in a garden) is something that no one wants, or embraces. It just exists, no matter how hard you try to stamp it out, no matter what practices you put in place, the incompetent slip on through. Maybe they have a secret way to communicate and call each other together. Something like zombies without the gore and flesh eating stuff.
Like weeds, incompetence doesn’t need much to become firmly entrenched in even the best of places. A pass… a lowered standard here, a mistake overlooked there. Before you know it these one’s and two’s have multiplied, just like the hardy little buggers you pull from the garden. Once they get a good foothold, getting rid of them takes dedicated time and effort, not lip service or hand wringing. Not wishing it was different.
As I celebrate the graduation of a new nurse in my life, I hope I’m always lucky enough to have a one of these pros in my life. I have known some great ones and some others… well let’s just say I wouldn’t let them hand me a Band-Aid.
True nurses are amazing people, born caregivers who have a capacity to offer comfort and encouragement at the worst possible time. When you are sick and scared and a lot is happening quickly.
I can, to my shame, speak with authority on this subject, being in debt and having gone the debt consolidation route more than once. So why am I still in debt?
One simple word, life. Appliances break. Cars need work. The house needs a chimney cover installed. Yard maintenance. Insurance deductibles. None of these expenses are any kind of fun or indulgent; rather they are necessary to keeping your little ship afloat.
Admittedly I have expensive taste. I like quality and avoid gimmicky “sales” like the plague. I honor the adage “You get what you pay for.” When I buy I do my homework, shop around and do not purchase on impulse. My home is nice but not huge, worn in places that we can’t afford to fix, in need of repairs we can’t afford to make.