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A Reminder To Me

Sometimes I need a kick in the pants to get things moving. I need the proverbial "wake up call" to refocus, rethink, retool. So there are recurring themes in my life that happen, circular thoughts that come around again and again, much like the earth rotating around the sun. These thoughts don't change. And inaction only means they will return at a later time, usually bigger, nastier and with more bite. So, I need to start examining again.

It's all about LIFE. Life is all there is. Without life, nothing else can happen. So, the big question is how do you live your life? How do you handle the situations, the circumstances, the choices you want or need to make in order to live?

I always have to reflect on Tom Brokaw, the former anchor of NBC Nightly News, who wrote a book titled The Greatest Generation. That was a series of interviews with and stories of the men and women who worked together to deal with climbing out of America's "Great Depression," and winning World War II in the European and Pacific Theaters.

But, and here's where that circular thought comes back around, I didn't think that generation was all that great. Not that they didn't do fantastic stuff, make incredible sacrifices and achieve the goals needed to help save the world from the Axis of Evil, or whatever you want to call it.

The fact is life is always a lot easier when you know what to do. When Hitler rose to power and Pearl Harbor was attacked, what were the choices? Either sit and do nothing or go and stop him.

Life is always easier when you know what to do.

Yes, it may be difficult, challenging, possibly even unlikely. But if you are aware of what the situation is and what needs to happen, it makes things a lot more possible.

It's true across the board. How do you get a date? How do you fix a car? How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

INFORMATION. That is crucial.

But so is knowing what you want to do. And how can you know that unless you have made a choice to do it? You first must decide what you would like to do. And too often, that decision is either not made actively, i.e. you drift into it, or it's made badly, or made without thought. We can be impulsive as humans; we can be capricious about what we would like. And that can cause problems for ourselves. But it can also create "interesting" situations and opportunities. You may not become wealthy, but you can still have a very rich life.

So deciding what you want is the first step. This can be a problem though. What are you "good at doing?" Is this something that can earn you a living? If not, can you think of a way that it might? Are you ambitious enough to make the bold choices to follow that?

The alternative is doing something that can earn you a living and permit you to enjoy the rest of your free time. Safety and security is important.

Then you need a method of approach. Just how are you going to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to go)? Will you drive, walk, take the bus, a private jet?

Then again, some of these decisions are contingent on what is available to you. Maybe you can't afford the Gulfstream and need to use the Chuck Taylors instead. The idea is to get moving.

But this is an issue I have about my generation, which I labeled spaceagers. I feel that parents of that era either didn't have or wouldn't share the information needed to help this group get along. I don't quite understand what was going on there. Why didn't these parents pass what they learned along to their kids?

It seems as if there were a couple of schools of thought. Maybe they wanted to keep the playing field wide open and let their children discover life in their own way, on their own terms. This was the "Free To Be, You And Me" era, the post-hippie, flower child, live and let live segment of US History. Time to try something new. Or maybe kids did get all the wrong info from their parents! I really don't know. I'll have to do more research into that to get a better grasp on what happened.

At any rate, learning lessons from observation and action is a big part of the process. This makes me concerned for the current crop of kids who are watching the celebrity hi-jinx that have been going on for the last couple of years. It's difficult to resist something that's working, and right now, it seems like "being bad" is very good, at least when it comes to the media.

That brings me to that classic story, Cinderella. It is, after all, the most popular fairy tale in history. But the question remains, why? I believe it's because we can all see ourselves in Cindy's situation. Unloved, undervalued, abused and forsaken, this little rag doll is simply being mistreated at the hands of people who certainly don't deserve to be where they are.

It takes someone of wisdom and kindness to observe that person and take them and raise them to the level where they belong. And that's what we are all hoping for: we all need and want that person who can understand our true value and will help us reach the goals we seek.

But most of us don't have a fairy godmother. We might not even have a godmother. So we need to find a way to be our own help. Or maybe we make a tiny team of supporters, people we can rally with and create success. One thing that's true is you can only do so much on your own. Eventually, you'll need to have someone else be a part of whatever you are doing. You might as well find what wonderful people you can to be on that list.

So in living life, there are some easy steps that need to take place to help with the quality. The idea is to remain in control of as many elements as you can as you progress. The more in control you stay, the more likely you will get what you expect.

Sometimes it's more difficult to apply this theory to one particular life. There are always circumstances and situations that are exceptional. But that doesn't mean you can't begin to start utilizing the concepts, and slowly start changing the scene to your advantage. It's all in getting started that you're halfway home.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
forioscribe
Aug. 31st, 2007 07:02 am (UTC)
The idea is to remain in control of as many elements as you can as you progress. The more in control you stay, the more likely you will get what you expect.

The function of religion, philosophy, astrology and assorted other forms of magick is to create an illusion of human control over an indifferent and wholly hostile and life-threatening universe.

We quickly learn how to ascribe meaning to essentially meaningless chaos (or more precisely, randomness because chaos is not random; its pattern is merely hidden).

This is good. It gets us through the day.

It also helps to understand that when shit happens, emotion is largely useless. Reason is what's required. We must develop the ability to see clearly that a fiasco is just another of life's challenges, merely another problem to be solved.

The fact is that we are essentially powerless, but there's no harm in convincing ourselves otherwise. Yesterday, after several hours of frustrating labor, I fixed a serious glitch on this computer. I still feel a glow of satisfaction. An illusion. But it's a good one.

Carry on!




penpusher
Aug. 31st, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
Yeah... ultimately, there's only tiny increments of control a person has in life. But your comment relates back to my favorite ancient Chinese proverb:

We cannot always control what happens to us...
but we can always control our reaction to it.


I don't know that we are "powerless." I think there is a hierarchy of power, and there are people who would like to convince us we have no power because it means they can help control us. And the universe must want us to survive, otherwise we'd have been gone a long time ago. We just have to know what to do...

Thanks and same to ya!
sugarplumkitty
Aug. 31st, 2007 07:24 am (UTC)
There is a third alternative, get a decent job to support your avocations in life. ;)

Control is an illusion. All we can really do is our footwork. Getting started is the key to doing our footwork. I'm a procrastinator, too. I see obstacles that aren't there imagining doing X is much harder than it really is when I finally get started. For me it's a fear of change.

There's a saying I've hear that has a lot of truth in it, "Life is what happens when you're making plans."
penpusher
Aug. 31st, 2007 07:32 am (UTC)
That's what I meant when I said:

The alternative is doing something that can earn you a living and permit you to enjoy the rest of your free time.

So, yes.

True. The fear of change is ginormous. That's just another element. So, that's another part of the puzzle...
luckycee
Aug. 31st, 2007 11:30 am (UTC)
Jim always has a "plan B" because his plans almost never turn out the way he expected. But I think he's unusual that way. I've always just sort of floated along, feeling either grateful or remorseful, depending on how things turn out. Right now I'm mostly grateful, with a good dose of remorseful for the past. I'm guessing that's more common than I know.
penpusher
Aug. 31st, 2007 04:15 pm (UTC)
It's true, plans hardly ever go the way you expect, but the good thing about a plan is that you can adjust. If there's no plan, there's no way to amend it. I'm trying to organize a little better.

I also have a bit of an issue with "remorse." Personally, I would prefer to not have any remorse, but that's not how it's going! Remorse is good when it helps, but it doesn't always... at least for me!
luckycee
Aug. 31st, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
There's not much one can do to circumvent the remorse, even when amends are made. Ah well.
jennifer_thinks
Aug. 31st, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty much convinced at this point in life now that life sucks; it's always sucked and it will always suck. And my personal theory on it is that it sucks pretty much equally for everybody with just some variances of luck where some people are placed in slightly more fortunate and slightly less fortunate than the average. And I've found this viewpoint liberating because we're all in this together. Every single person on this planet is struggling with something in their life. And I think that despite all the ways our society changes through time, it really doesn't change life and our generation is really no better or worse than the generation before or before -- we're all self centered assholes.
penpusher
Aug. 31st, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
OMG. If YOU are taking this view, there really is no hope.

Ok, granted the difference between the most fortunate person on this planet and the least fortunate is probably less than one might expect. And the fact that even if you have everything you think you need to be happy, you may still screw it all up is certainly something to note. But all I'm trying to do is organize a little bit, maybe try to make some sense of things. You seem to be saying, don't bother, because nothing is going to make sense anyhow, and we're just stuck with the people we meet and the situations we're in because we are.

Realistically, though, our experiences of life, our "level" for lack of a better word, are based on several elements. Where we are born, our upbringing, our IQ are three such elements that are out of our control, but have a profound impact on what our lives will be. Can't change those. But we can certainly change how we view life, what we expect, how we plan to react and where we go. I have to think there is a way to make improvements across the board for everyone. I'm sure there is a way, we just haven't seen it yet.
jennifer_thinks
Sep. 1st, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
"You seem to be saying, don't bother, because nothing is going to make sense anyhow, and we're just stuck with the people we meet and the situations we're in because we are."

Yeah, I am kind of saying that. lol. But I don't want it to mean as being hopeless and stuff. I've just come from personal experience that exploring your life in such a cerebral way is not going to get you out of the maze.

What I mean by saying life sucks, and it always will. It just means lay it to rest and instead just try to accept it all the way that it is.

And I guess it all breaks down to whether trying to really understand life matters? Is it really possible to really understand it all? And if so, if you really can achieve deeper understandings, can you really use that knowledge to actually implement any change? I'm doubtful. So instead of trying to understand the way things are, I've just said well regardless, I still have to know how to live with it the way it is.
penpusher
Sep. 3rd, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
Hm. some interesting stuff to consider.

I don't think I'm necessarily trying to "get out of the maze." However, I would like to have a better view of it, to know what twists and turns are needed to get me where I want to go. That would mean getting off the pavement and having a more commanding view. There are people who have a better idea of what to do to get to where they need to be. That's what I'm talking about.

I suppose just accepting one's fate is a legitimate choice, and I'm not trying to convince anyone otherwise. But I feel compelled to at least take a look at other possibilities.

As humans, we don't "do" anything, really. We just choose from the choices that we have. But some people have many more choices, other opportunities. Is it because they're "better?" Clearly not. No one is better than anyone else, right?

But there are people that are "better" than others. We all have unique skills, making us different from each other. There are more and more people coming to the planet all the time. But are we collectively getting "better?"

I guess there are two questions I'm putting on the table. What is the best way to negotiate this "maze" to get to the life desired... and is there a way around it to fly over it?
jennifer_thinks
Sep. 3rd, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)
Hmm, you put a lot of questions in this comment.
"But some people have many more choices, other opportunities. Is it because they're "better?" Clearly not. No one is better than anyone else, right?

But there are people that are "better" than others. We all have unique skills, making us different from each other. There are more and more people coming to the planet all the time. But are we collectively getting "better?""
I'll definitely agree that no one is better than anyone else. To me the only measuring factor of determining whether one human being is better than another is by how much more one person tries to help other people. People who are selfless and put the better of other people as a priority in their life is the only guaranteed way to add "better" into this world. Guaranteed. And I think more than anything that should be at the forefront of our conscience.
jennifer_thinks
Sep. 1st, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
I also am reminded of an awesome quote by Einstein in regards to this. It was phrased somewhat as "Understanding what caused a problem does little to understanding how to solve it."
penpusher
Sep. 3rd, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
And I'm asking for answers to both!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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