Archives For Don’t Get Stuck

Don’t Wonder Why….

October 3, 2014

Don’t wonder why some people go crazy, wonder why all of us don’t.

Ok, that is my observation for today. Yeah, some people go over the edge when life overloads them but don’t we all get overloaded one time or another. I know I do. I see things that just don’t make any sense no matter how you look at them:

Violence – The amount of violence in our society simply astounds me! I know Americans are on the whole more aggressive than most other countries but we seem to be unique in expressing that aggression in violent ways. American football is an obsession for many and it is by far the most violent sanctioned sport on this plant. The most popular video games feature someone with a weapon killing the “bad” guys”

Guns – We have a love of guns and weapons of destruction far above almost everyone else in the world. I think we have more guns that people. The primary purpose for guns is to kill something or someone.

War – I don’t think I can even recall all the wars we have been involved with in my lifetime. It seems if we don’t have someone to go to war with we go out and generate some.  We spend more on our military than all the rest of the world combined. How insane is that!!

Narcissism – Narcissism is spending your life concentrating almost totally on yourself. Selfies are an indication of that condition. I try to be an ardent follower of Jesus Christ and when he tells me the two most important things in life are to love God and the love each other. Narcissism is the exact opposite of that.

Greed – The dark side of capitalism is greed. It is endemic to our way of doing business. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and for many that is the way it is supposed to be.

Corruption – Corruption invades too much in our society. It seems that daily there is yet another politician, religious figurehead, or business man who is exposed for corruption.

Incompetence – There are just too many people who think they can make the big bucks with this or that scheme and sadly many do. They would rather cheat and scheme than put in an honest days work. Someone recently, I think it was Steve Jobs, say it that it takes 10,000 trys to become an expert at something. Too many are just not willing to put in the effort. And then there are the current crop of politicians. Too much incompetence among those folks.

Why do we have to face all these stupid things day after day? It’s enough to make anyone crazy. Don’t wonder why some people go crazy, wonder why all of us don’t….

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To Face The Future…

September 24, 2014

The future is a scary place for many of us. We primarily see things that are out to get us and hurt us. We cling to the past as the good old days. The thing about that is that the past was simply not the good old days as we remember them. We seem to have an abject fear of letting our children out of our view for fear that they will be abducted. But the fact it that these are safer times in that regard than they were twenty, thirty, or even forty years ago.

We as a country seem to have an abject fear of any radical rag-tag group that does something utterly stupid on the other side of the world. We spend trillions of bucks to take them out but all that really does is to spurn yet another group’s ire for our intrusion into their lives.We can’t seem to realize the possibility that if we just leave them alone they will leave us alone.

Sometimes to face the future you must let go of the past. You have to throw all the old baggage out the window and dream of other possibilities. Dreading the future is certainly one option we have but I believe a better one is to dream of a future where we actually love each other as God commanded us to do in almost all religions.

Old wounds can drag you down and keep you where you don’t really want to be. A good example of this are the traumatized war veterans of sadly each generation. For my generation it was Vietnam. For more recent ones it is Iraq and Afghanistan. Trauma does terrible things to all of us but for some it is totally devastating. Those unfortunate souls are lost in the past with no dreams or expectations for the future.

Health tragedies hold others in their grips. It could be an accident that claimed a limb or maybe the deaths that resulted from the accident. It could be a major health event that caused six-figure medical bills that seem totally inescapable.

The future can be a scary place but sometimes the past is even scarier. The pessimists of the world many times live in a very dreary world, much of their own making. Optimism allows us to see a better place in front of us. Don’t ever allow life to drain that away from you. Always cling to that optimist thread no matter how thin it might be…

 

I Can’t Get No….

September 22, 2014

2014-09-15_10-57-03I know the Rolling Stones song goes “I can’t get no satisfaction” but for purposes of this post I am going to change it a little. I have been fully retired for about eight years now and was semi-retired for six before that. One of the things that I have found the most difficult to keep a handle on in these retirement years is stimulation. In other words for it “I can’t get no stimulation.” and without stimulation my life sometimes seems to just be spinning in place.

In the corporate world of the 1990s it was always about doing more with less. We saw our fellow employees being laid off and their duties dumped on us to do as well as our own duties.  There was certainly no lack of stimulation during the final decade of my work life. But when that door was abruptly closed in the Spring of 2000 I found myself in a very different mode.

Stimulation in our senior years is pretty much left for us to find. Regrettably some get their stimulation just from the struggle of day-to-day life trying to live on a fixed income when food and healthcare costs increase substantially every year. Some have on-going serious health problems that plague them in the senior years that push out almost everything else. But for those of us who have managed to save enough meet their needs and have relatively good health (of course that is a very subjective thing) we need to find things that stimulate us.

It is very easy in our senior years to get stuck in a rut and to give over to a couch potato syndrome instead of finding stimulating things to do with our time. It is easy to just sit back and suck up oxygen and very little else. We must struggle to keep life stimulating. That is especially true for those of us who have very sedentary spouses. We need to find something that stimulates us that is separate from those close to us. For some that means maintaining a “man cave” where we are do our things. For some it means fishing or camping in a Walden style.

Without stimulation life is hardly worth living. Without stimulation depression can get a massive grip on our lives. Don’t ever fall into the mantra as I do sometimes that I “can’t” get no stimulation. It is not a good place to be….

The Pity Party…

April 3, 2014

GloomAll of us have all been through some traumatic times in our lives. Some of us much more than others. It could be a health event, maybe a divorce, or a death of a friend or family member. One outcome that is almost assured from these events is a pity party. That is we question “why us?” or maybe “why did God do this to me?” I think having pity, even on ourselves, is just human nature. It is the extent of the pity that separates us. Do we get over it and face our new life challenges or do we wallow in it for weeks, months, or even a lifetime?

Everyone is different. We react to trauma in different ways.

When you have a pity party it is almost always means you are stuck in one place. You are fixated on that traumatic event. You can’t let go of it. It consumes your thinking and often your very being.

In order to break the pity party you got to get out there. You got to do something instead of wallowing in your pity. As shown in abbreviated version from Wikipedia there is a well know pattern to our grief/pity called the The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief

1.  Denial — As the reality of loss is hard to face, one of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial. What this means is that the person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of their situation, and begin to develop a false, preferable reality.

2.  Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”

Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. .

3.  Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”

The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow undo or avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle.

4.  Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”

Things begin to lose meaning to the griever. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and sullen.

5.  Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”

In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event.

Don’t get stuck at level 4. It makes for a very miserable life if you do…..

Savoring vs. Seizing….

March 13, 2014

As we age we become more aware of who we are, and we have more time to enjoy the smaller, ordinary things that fill our days.

2014-03-12_09-05-42These words or something like them fill a myriad of books about living a fulfilling retirement. But on some level this seems to me to be a cop-out of not trying to do something to live out remaining dreams. It is just easier to say we enjoy the simple things now than it is to get off our butts and fully live the life we have left. Is “carpe diem” just an unfulfilled dream when we get older?

Some studies find that we get happier as we get older while others contend that we don’t. It is true that I am happier now than I probably have been in all my previous life, and yes I do enjoy to some degree the simple things. But maybe that has actually been forced upon me more than being a voluntary thing.  I have a wife who is totally content with her computer games, TV, and naps. Nothing else seems to be of much interest to her now days. She would gladly live out her life totally in that mode. She just can’t understand why I want to do more.

I do enjoy the simple things in life but I still have unfulfilled dreams…

The Unwanted Other…

March 11, 2014

In my opinion, those concerned with justice must lead the fight to re-humanize those we have considered criminal. Rather than looking at individuals as the unwanted other we must begin to learn their stories and connect with them as people again. We must aggressively seek to eradicate the incarceration of our young people and provide services rather than prisons.

Though once outlawed, at the beginning of the twentieth century, private corporations once again can own and operate prisons for profit. The juvenile justice system is the feeder for these privately owned adult prisons, if we are going to dismantle this injustice—profitable imprisonment—we must choke out its feeder system. Once these children enter the system it is almost impossible to get out because it is profitable for those who have the greatest influence on lawmakers. 

SOURCE: Prisons “Overwhelmingly Filled With People of Color”: Just or Unjust? | Margot Starbuck | Red Letter Christians.

The words above, of which I am certainly aligned, is where I have a radical departure from many of my more conservative friends. Most of them simply want to lock ’em up and throw away the key.  It reality they seem to get their way much more often than I do.  Once a young person, especially one of color,  is labeled a misfit they are for the most part doomed to a future of incarceration. The juvenile justice system is indeed a feeder for a profitable imprisonment.

I’m sure there are multiple reasons why people of color make up a very disproportionate share of the overall prison population in this country. Far too many to be addressed in a single post. But it seems the most obvious place is when they are youths. Many times the families are just too entrenched into their state of despair to give much encouragement to their kids. We need to start when they are very young to keep them out of the system.   They need to be shown very early that education is their path to a better times.

For the last twenty-five years or so I have been an antagonist of our sports agenda here in this country. It seems that just too many kids, especially those of color, see their future as a professional athlete. That is a very lucrative path for those that accomplish it but for every one of those there are a thousand more who will never gain any income for their sport of choice. Many kids spend ALL their energy and time trying to be a super kicker, passer, hitter, or whatever to the exclusion of everything else especially their educations.  As a result of this I simply see our sports fanaticism in this country as a net liability. It is simply something we would be much better off without.

I have probably seen more than my share of felons and for the most part all those guys are caring individuals who got lost in our society in one way or another.  Since there are currently three people unemployed for every job that comes up  they struggle for months to even get a chance at any employment. Once you are deemed a felon most doors simply close in our society.

We need to make it a bigger priority to prevent that from happening….