GROWING UP--THAT WAS EASY!
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.