GROW UP

GROWING UP--THAT WAS EASY!

I'm little
I'm little
I leave home
I leave home
I end up looking like Santa
I end up looking like Santa

Challenge One Reflections

Just what does it mean to GROW UP?

I can use these words as a put down to someone who may, in fact, just be enjoying a moment of fun. Yes, I sometimes take life way too seriously, and worse, I insist that everyone else join the take-life-seriously club. I can get kind of jealous of those who know how to be silly and have a good time at a moment I’m choosing to wallow..

Sometimes I’m aware of a very critical voice or drill instructor in my cast of self talk characters, who tends to never let up and never let me off the hook. That voice frequently shouts, "Grow up, soldier" and of course, I tend to hang my head in shame and shout back, "YES SIR!"

But as I think about this Challenge for Day One of HUBS month, I’m not thinking of either of those situations. I’m thinking about the part of me that keeps pushing upward, sometimes despite my best efforts to remain little. Yes, it’s tempting to regress and be small and little, and once there, to remain there. It’s indeed scary to grow up and remain THERE.

Sometimes, I mistakenly believe that being little is the only way I can be needy and dependent. I mistakenly believe it’s the only way to be taken care of. And gosh, I want to be taken care of. I love it! But I am learning that there are all kinds of ways to be needy and dependent and grown up all at the same time.

It’s especially scary for me to think about growing up at this time of my life because at age sixty four, I have to ask myself, "What the heck have you been doing all these years?" But then I do remind myself that there is a part of me that is already quite grown-up. In fact, the part of me that is grown-up has been having some interesting conversations with the drill instructor. Well, more than interesting. I’ve threatened him with eviction! I couldn’t do that if a part of me was not already grown-up. And by "grown-up" I don’t mean old or sixty four. I’m old and sixty four totally by accident! I don’t think I had much to do with it!

So here’s the bottom line for me about growing up. Once I am grown-up, I can’t blame ANYONE or ANYTHING for my situation or predicament. As a grown-up man, I take full responsibility for my entire life, including the parents I chose. Whoa! That’s wild! Yes, but just think about it for a moment. This is not about past lives or reincarnation. It IS an invitation to myself to grow up and take responsibility for the whole nine yards. And it doesn’t hurt anything, doesn’t throw the earth off its axis to assume, for the sake of responsibility, that I chose my parents. It makes perfectly good sense that I chose them. After all, they are MY parents! I mean we have all heard enough comments from them over the years that makes it very clear that they certainly did not choose us!

Taking complete responsibility for my entire life will trigger a lot of challenges. For example, the current economy or lack of. Can’t I blame the economy for my economic predicament? Yes, I can, but then I forfeit being grown-up. How so?

Well, along the way, I have made all kinds of decisions which effected my current financial situation, and I continue to have many opportunities each day to make even more decisions. All those decisions, past and present, change the look of my finances, economy aside.

Now, for me as a writer, down time because of lack of work is actually an opportunity to write, which is an opportunity to earn funds for the bank account. I keep reminding myself that because I had so few clients during the month of August, in fact, the slowest month of the twenty seven years I’ve been in practice, I was able to reformat a wonderful book which is now available on Amazon. Without the "wretched" month of August, I’d still be looking forward to the day my book would be selling on Amazon. And by the way, the total cost of this project was $57.

I can also get into blaming all kinds of folks and institutions. I can blame the Pope for taking my Church down a dreadful path back to the dark ages. I can blame the previous and current Presidents for taking us into a war that cannot be won with weapons or the deaths of people on either side. And I can blame anonymous immigrants for every problem I face today. I can replace the Drill Instructor with my own internal version of John and Ken.

I can again blame the economic downturn for the daily phone calls from creditors seeking blood from my turnips. I can blame my friends and loved ones for their lack of understanding or their unwillingness to stay in touch with me even though I’m the worst for staying in touch with anyone in the last ten years. And I can blame that on the death of my first wife for whom I apparently still grieve. Unfortunately, blaming leaves me quite powerless and quite small.

So what are the alternatives for blaming? I can attend my Church and be present. I can be vocal up till the moment they threaten to burn me at the stake, which they haven’t done for a three or four hundred years, so I’m probably pretty safe there! I can get very clear whether I am refusing to answer those phone calls from creditor because they are just plain annoying or because I feel little and am afraid to talk to those folks who have a way of shaming me. Ooops. There I did it again. I’m blaming them for my shame!

With respect to shame, shame is just an emotion. Perhaps an important one at times. But when I feel shame, I don’t have to blame anyone, nor do I have to hang onto it till it ferments and becomes toxic. I can just feel it, take a deep breath, and let it pass. "That was easy!"

I can produce my own radio show and provide a balance for listeners to the garbage disposal approach to addressing societal issues that is typical of talk radio. Yes, there are all kinds of ways of having a radio show.

I can pick up my phone and punch in numbers when I’m thinking about someone rather than fantasizing that I will call them later. I can begin to be a little more honest with myself about the losses in my life and allow myself to more consciously and courageously embrace my grief. Of course I will cry, and contrary to popular belief, grown-up folks cry a lot. Those tears actually rebalance my brain chemistry and add years to my life better than wine or single malt scotch.

With respect to the war, I can write more blogs about the war. I can write letters to the editor and to the legislature.

So I have lots of alternatives to the blame game. Whether or not I put any of this into action is my responsibility. Back to responsibility again.

So these are a handful of my reflections for Challenge One–Grow Up--for the HUBS MONTH Holiday celebration! Perhaps they will stir some reflections of your own. Thanks for taking the time read and please leave a comment or two.

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Comments 8 comments

Cathy profile image

Cathy 6 years ago from Oregon, USA

Nice. My thoughts on 'grow up'? Well, like you mentioned, taking responsibility, like for my own healing from damage done by others - it's all tests. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger ONLY if we 'grow up'. I have to let go and let God and letting go allows growth! Yay!!


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thanks for the comment, Cathy. I remember now. You're one of us Buzzers! Not buzzards, but buzzers!! Yes, letting go and letting God. There is a wonderful scene in the second Star Wars series where Luke Skywalker has to let go or be killed by Darth Vader, but in the process, he will fall helplessly down a dark hole. He doesn't know that he will be rescued at the bottom of the hole!! It's like that with letting go and letting God.


R.G. San Ramon 6 years ago

As the saying goes... Children would love to grow up quite easily, and when they do, they want to become young again. As I've said in one of my blog entries, "It may take a lot of time to sacrifice for a temporary surrender; but this is a start."


palmerlarryray profile image

palmerlarryray 6 years ago from Macon, Missouri

Another excellent hub, my friend. You always convey your messages in such a powerful way. and it was actually something I needed to hear. This time of year is rough for me because of all the holiday get togethers.

Family dinners with my wifes family take a toll on me because I can't have that with my family as they are Jehovahs Witnesses and I was disfellowshipped from the religion. I live a couple of miles from my parents but I can count on one hand, the number of times we have actually had a conversation in the last 10 years. My only family since being disfellowshipped was my friend Bill who was like a father to me. I worked for him for several years and he was always there for me and my kids. He was the guy I could call up and say hey can I borrow your car and $300 at 2a.m. and he would say sure son. He was the one who gave me a place to stay and taught me how to function a normal society. Bought me my first legal beer when I turned 21 and taught me how to run a business. He was even the one who paid to put me through school and made sure I stayed with it. When I moved here, he followed just so he could be close to my son and I. Bill passed away last year from pneumonia and old age. Last holiday season, it still hadn't sunk in but this year it has hit hard.

Unfortunately, when I get down, I drag everybody with me. It has an effect on my kids and my wife. I quit caring about anything and I go into survival mode, because after all, emotions are painful. Sometimes I forget, I have to be the "grown up" now. Thanks for the wake up call.

Your friend, Larry Ray Palmer

P.S. I do have to ask.... the second picture in the sidebar that is captioned I leave home, why were you wearing a pink jacket? :P lol....


David R Bradley profile image

David R Bradley 6 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

I love the word responsibility. I do think it's misspelled though. It should be r-e-s-p-o-n-c-e-A-b-i-l-i-t-y. The ability to respond. It is part of the very essence of our humanity. What I'm really curious about is what you'd call your radio show? You could do a whole hub on silly titles... "Head Cheese with Dr. Vern." "Shrunken Heads" "Psycho-Babble" "Habla Loco with Verno" That should be enough to get you started...


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thanks RG, Larry, and Dave. I really appreciate the comments which are beyond comments. RG, I'm looking forward to reading that blog. There are so many paradoxes in growing up and I don't know if you read the initial hub about Hub's month, but one of my other challenges is to Be A Kid! That hub is in the hopper and will be posted here perhaps tomorrow or the next day.

Larry, thanks for sharing about your loss of your "Dad." I've never quite understood disfellowships and excommunications. Seems so contrary to the very principles of most denominations. Regarding dragging everyone else down with you, perhaps reframe it and see it as everyone else going down with you and having an opportunity to learn how to grieve by being with you in your grief. Without getting into advice giving, perhaps if you just put more words to it, so when you are down, say outloud to your family, "I am feeling so sad, I miss Bill, and I miss my family...." and let them comfort you and tell them that you recognize that they are also your family." Then hit the STAPLES button, "That was easy!" One of these days, someone is going to shoot me!

David, you are SOOO funny. Wonder where you get your sense of humor from? I like the habla loco with Verno!

All of you, thanks again for taking the time to read. I am enjoying writing about these challenges.

By the way, Larry, I love my pink jacket!


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

Thanks for this Hub. This was something I have considered a lot for myself. I have a "real" job for the first time, and I'm in a Master's program, and sometimes I feel that I would just die to have a moment where I could be a kid again. Once I laughed in class on accident about something that wasn't related to the class, and I felt really guilty about it, and I wished I was back in a time where I could laugh and not feel bad. Thanks for this insight.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 5 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Hey, thanks a bunch for giving some new life to a very "old" hub. It provided me an opportunity to reread it for myself and to walk away with some very important reminders. Laugh and laugh some more, whenever!! It's also a sign of being grown up!! Good luck on your masters.

Vern

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