I Used To Think

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  7. 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.
  8. 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. 
  9. 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,

  10. you life will be a much happier life.  My only regret is that I didn't arrive at this wisdom earlier in my life and I would have lived a happier life.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.

  18. 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.
So there you are folks.  I sound pretty pessimistic don't I?  Well, that's the way I feel. When I was young I used to believe all the happy endings in the movies.  Growing up in the Forties and Fifties, movies always had happy endings and the Bad Guys always got their due.  Over the years I have come to realize that Life is a game of survival, staying ahead of those who seek to take everything you have.  But, along The Way, there are this few who are genuine and who care about you. If you're lucky enough along your Path of Life to meet those people and have them for your friends, don't let them go, whatever their imperfections.  Because it is those people who will get you through Life.  Don't worry about people who will judge you by your actions, the way you look or your beliefs as some who are reading this blog post will do with me.  They will dismiss me as immature and ignorant thus proving my point that there is a lot of negativity in this world that seeks to tear you down. 

I've been writing my blog for eleven years now.  I write from my heart, unfiltered.  I know I offend many because of my style of writing.  My total honesty. My lack of social sophistication.

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.

This I know.  All my life I have been a productive member of this society.  I've been a good friend to those who have known me. I have never cheated or lied to anyone.  Thus, if someone dislikes me because I haven't given to their favorite charity, subscribed to their chosen religion, or acted the way they thought I should act; then that is THEIR problem. 

So I thank those who read through this whole blog posting.  You've shown enough interest to know me better.  This posting was a good catharsis for me this morning. These feelings are always just beneath the surface of my personality.  In that way I am much like my Mother.  

I had the best Mother in the world. 
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. 

One day I will be no more on this earth. Someone will come into my house and empty it of all my personal possessions. I will soon become a memory.  However, one thing will remain, my blog postings spread all out over the Internet.  These postings will show a simple yet complicated human being that I am. One who endeavored to get along in this world and eager to please so I would be liked in return. Sometimes that hasn't always happened because the price to pay was too high. But through it all I have maintained my dignity and integrity. No one can take that away from me.

Have a great day!

Me, young and dumb and naive - 1952 (10 years old)


Ur-spo said…
Thank you for doing this; this was good reading.
I am sorry about #8; about #13 - you will bury us all.
Tony said…
I am glad to have started a way of thinking about how we used to think! I agree with many of your points, but especially #14, in that as an oppressed person I used to think that all authority figures knew better than me. Now I love nothing more than telling many of them, when they are wrong, to go fuck themselves. Ah, justice!
Travel said…
Good one, my version will be up early next week (written and scheduled.) Not everyone thinks they had the best mother in the world, maybe a few months with Spo and I could say what I really think on that subject.
Jimmy said…
Well, you covered all of my thoughts.
Ron said…
Hey Jimmy! (smile)
Ron said…
Looking forward to reading your list David!
Ron said…
Oh how I agree with you about authority figures knowing better than me. They don't.
Ron said…
Dr. Spo,
If I do depart this life before you, I'll make every attempt to contact Henrik.
Jon said…
Ron, this is a brilliant post. You've covered so many subjects and said so many things that I completely agree with, that it would be futile to comment on everything. Our mode of thinking changes drastically as we mature - mostly due to the fact that we have learned so much from our life experiences. It's a shame that we didn't know these things when we were younger - - but it's better late than never.

I always appreciate your writing style because of your complete honesty and candidness. It's always a pleasure to visit your blog.
Bea said…
I don't think I had the best mother in the world, but I do know that she tried her hardest to do a good job at parenting. Raising me mostly on her own and having herself been raised in a foster home, I know my mother didn't have an easy time of things.

I appreciated reading your list and certainly some of your points really resonated. Duplicitous a-holes certainly don't always get their comeuppance. When I was little, I thought for sure that they would, but no. Also, bad things certainly do happen to good people. Again an idea from youth dispelled.
Ron said…
Oh how I wish I had the wisdom I have now when I was younger. Thank you for your generous compliments.
Ron said…
One of the biggest disappointments in my life is seeing bad people getting away with their bad behavior and good people taken advantage of because of their good nature. The world is truly made up of sheep and wolves. Thank goodness there are enough good people to keep the bad at bay, most of the time anyway.
Anonymous said…
Very well written I am going to need to go back and read again on the iPad. I still don't get how people can "do it all" on their iPhones.
Ron said…
Thanks Roger!

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