|Me with my Mom 1946|
My fellow bloggers Tony and Spo recently posted blogs with the subject "I used to think."
I think this is a great idea! Often these days I reflect on my life and how and why I have lived it. I think of my successes, failures, missed opportunities and fantastic good fortune. I often wonder if I would do anything different if I had a chance for a do over. Of course I would. Who wouldn't?
But that's not going to happen unless I die and I am reincarnated. I've often thought about reincarnation (a subject for another blog for sure) but fear that I would come back as a young girl in a hot and dirty Calcutta slum and be forced into a life of prostitution at a young age.
Why is it that I always think of the worst if I am reincarnated? Oh well, here are some of my "I used to think" items just off the top of my head:
- I used to think crime didn't pay. That all criminals received justice at the end of the movie. However, life has taught me that too many criminals get away with their crimes.
- I used to think that officials in our government looked out for our best interests. Now I know that most of them only look after their own interests. Granted there are a few exceptions but those honest officials get found out and are dispensed with.
- I used to think if I was nice person and eager to please others, that my goodwill would be returned in kind. All too often I have found out that "being nice" is looked upon as a weakness to be taken advantage of but too many people. There are exceptions but not as many as I had assumed in my Foolish Youth.
- I used to think that being older was a purgatory and I would be miserable. I don't know why, but my "senior years" are literally the best years of my life because I have a few good friends who like and respect me. I have a comfortable home and enough money to pay the bills (for now) and enough to eat the foods that I love.
- I used to think I was destined for a hugely successful working career where I would make boatloads of money and be successful financially beyond my wildest dreams.
- Never happened. Every time I was on the threshold of financial success, it was snatched away from me like the proverbial ring on the merry-go-round. I attribute my failure at financial and career success to the fact that I have always lived my adult life (after the Army) as an openly gay man. For that I was punished.
- I used to think once I moved to the Rehoboth Beach area of Delaware with its large gay population I would be welcome in a friendly circle of friends. Sadly, after ten years I have found that most gay men and women are just as socially conscious and exclusionary as any heterosexual grouping of people according to income status.
- I used to think I was unattractive and "not as good as" others because of my family background and income earning ability and my spontaneous and exuberant personality. Over the years I have discovered that one's attractiveness is how you feel about yourself and not how others see you. If you go into this world with an inferiority complex most people will see you that way and read you accordingly. However, if you are comfortable with yourself and care not what other judgmental people think of you,
- I used to think I was afraid of death. I am not afraid of death. However, I am concerned how I get there. I do not want a long, prolonged and painful illness where I am dependent on others to keep me in a vegetative state. That will not happen.
- I used to think I would be dead by the time I was sixty years old. This year I will be seventy-five years old. I am way past my "sell by" date.
- I used to think those in authority, whether in government or the workplace were smarter than me and knew what they were doing. Sadly I have discovered that most of them are no smarter than I am and more than a few don't know what they're doing. Too many of them only got to where they are through either family or social connections and not because of skill and their goodwill.
- I used to think workplace personnel departments in workplaces was there for the good of the employee but now know they are only there to protect the liability exposure of the business. They do not have the employees' interest, only the interest of the company. I learned this lesson the hard way.
- I used to think workplace friends stood by you in hard times. Another lesson that I learned that is in real life, when their jobs may be affected by testifying to the truth of my situation, they will not because by doing so they think their career path would be damaged (which was probably true). Another lesson that I learned the hard way. Real life is not like the movies.
- I used to think when I brought into cable television there would be no commercials like there was/is on "free TV" because I would be paying for TV. Another sad realization that over the years the cable TV has just as many commercials now as "free TV." The only difference now is that you're paying for the commercials.
- I used think that the Republican party (of which I was a member for many years) stood for individual rights, equality and self-determination for the average citizen. Now I know they are bought and paid for by their corporate masters whose only goal is to destroy the social safety net (Social Security and Medicare) and lower taxes on the rich so they can have more and more and more money. Their greed knows no bounds.
- I used to think that those in charge, whether it be business or government, operated in the best interest of the Great Unwashed Mass. Now I know they do not, most of them only are in it for power and greed.
|Martha Stewart - ultimate social sophistication - I fall woefully short and I'm sure Miss Martha would not approve of moi|
But this is me and I am at long last comfortable with who I am. I make no excuses for being me.
|My Mom - 1942|
Oh I know many others say that and I understand that they believe the same of their mothers. But for me I really did have the best Mother. However, towards the last year or so of my Mother's life she became very bitter towards the world. She had a tough life growing up. Her mother died before my Mother was two years old. My Mother lived in a dysfunctional household until she eloped and got married at sixteen years of age. Even though she loved my father, he was an "alley cat" just like her father. But my Mother kept our family together and she was the proudest of her three sons. Her "boys" as she called us.
|My Mother with her "boys" at our Father's funeral August 2000|
Thus it was so sad to see her become so paranoid and bitter towards us at the end of her life. I hope to God I don't end up that way. Expressing my feelings the way I did this morning, this "catharsis", has helped.