It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
Hi all, it is another one of those days. First a visit with one of my ‘ists, this time my urologist, then off to register for some upcoming classes and soon of for a “State of the City” briefing from our Mayor. So rather than write something of little value I am sending something of probably little value that I rote some time ago. See you tomorrow after I spend three hours in a dental chair.
Written on September 9, 2004
Almost a century ago William James said, “I have often thought that the best way to define a man’s character would be to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensely active and alive. At such moments there is a voice inside which speaks and says: “This is the real me!””
I wonder how many of us are free enough to have such moments. It sometimes seems that too many of us live our lives as actors who must not deviate from an externally imposed script. Unfortunately I run into less and less free spirits, people who have enough self confidence to say “convention be damned, I am going to do what I believe is right.” Are we ready to recognize “the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him?” or would we be afraid to use it as the trigger to become “most deeply and intensely alive?” I really think it is worthwhile to once in awhile to say to yourself “this is what I am and people are just going to have to take it or leave it, it is up to them.” I honestly believe that our trying to conform to what others think we should be, is the source of much unhappiness; not only that, if you are like I am you always like the real people and dislike the phonies. So how about it, are you ready to run through the daisies or are you just going to sit there and let another day go by?
The idea that men are created free and equal is both true and misleading: men are created different; they lose their social freedom and their individual autonomy in seeking to become like each other.
A note from Bob:
It is important for men to remember that as women grow older it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as they did when they were younger. When men notice this, they should try not to yell. Let me relate how I handle the situation.
When I got laid off from my consulting job and took "early retirement" in January, it became necessary for Nancy to get a full-time job, both for extra income and for health benefits that we need. She was a trained medical transcriptionist when we met twenty-eight ears ago and was fortunate to land a job at a local transcription house. It was shortly after she started working at this job that I noticed that she was beginning to show her age.
I usually get home from fishing or hunting about the same time she gets home from work. Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says that she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts supper. I try not to yell at her when this happens. Instead, I tell her to take her time. I understand that she is not as young as she used to be. I just tell her to wake me when she finally does get supper on the table.
She used to wash and dry the dishes as soon as we finished eating. It is now not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after supper. I do what I can by reminding her several times each evening that they aren’t cleaning themselves. I know she appreciates this, as it does seem to help her get them done before she goes to bed.
Our washer and dryer are in the basement. When she was younger, Nancy used to be able to go up and down the stairs all day and not get tired. Now that she is older she seems to get tired so much more quickly. Sometimes she says she just can’t make another trip down those steps. I don’t make a big issue of this. As long as she finishes up the laundry the next evening I am willing to overlook it.
Not only that, but unless I need something ironed to wear to the Monday lodge meeting or to Wednesday’s or Saturday’s poker club or to Tuesday’s or Thursday’s bowling or something like that, I will tell her to wait until the next evening to do the ironing. This gives her a little more time to do some of those odds and ends things like shampooing the dog, vacuuming or dusting. Also, if I have had a really good day fishing, this allows her to gut and scale the fish at a more leisurely pace.
Nancy is starting to complain a little occasionally. Not often, mind you, but just enough for me to notice. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. In spite of her complaining, I continue to try to offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or even three days. That way she won’t have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn’t hurt her any, if you know what I mean.
When doing simple jobs she seems to think she needs more rest periods than she used to have to take. A couple of weeks ago she said she had to take a break when she was only half finished mowing the yard. I over look comments like these because I realize it’s just age talking. In fact, I try not to embarrass her when she needs these little extra rest breaks. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. I tell her that as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me and take her break by the hammock so she can talk with me until I fall asleep.
I could go on and on, but I think you know where I’m coming from. I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Nancy on a daily basis. I’m not saying that the ability to show this much consideration is easy.
Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible. No one knows better than I do how frustrating women can become as they get older. My purpose in writing this is simply to suggest that you make the effort. I realize that achieving the exemplary level of showing consideration I have attained is out of reach for the average man.
However, guys, even if you just yell at your wife a little less often because of this article, I will consider that writing it was worthwhile.
P.S. Bob’s funeral was on Saturday, June 15th. Nancy was acquitted Monday, June 17th.
There aren’t any rules around here! We’re trying to accomplish something!
A couple of hunters are out in the woods in the deep south when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing, and his eyes are rolled back in his head.
The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls 911. He gasps to the operator, "My friend is dead! What can I do?"
The operator, in a calm and soothing voice, says, "Alright, take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead."
There is silence, and then a gun shot is heard.
The hunter comes back on the line. "OK. Now what??"
You can only hold your stomach in for so many years.
Like a lot of husbands throughout history, Webster would sit down and try to talk to his wife. But as soon as he would start to say something, his wife would say, ". . .And what’s that supposed to mean?"
Thus, Webster’s Dictionary was born.
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies.
The editor is somewhat senile.