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Huh, retrospection, you say?

August 13, 2019

I find myself growing increasingly intolerant as I slowly sneak up on being 60. Since I have a few years to go and am already far less tolerant than I once was, I can see myself becoming one of these cranky “get off my lawn” guys long before I reach 70. Or not. What’s going on? I can remember, not too many years before, when I would simply let things go. Why the difference? I think there is more than one thing going on.

First, after giving this some thought, consideration and reflection for a good while, I’ve come to realize I am actually very tolerant and supportive of those who have problems or difficulties.

  • Your financially hurting because the job from which you thought you would one day retire no longer exists because of major tech changes in your industry? I can probably help you financially, at least a little, while helping you form a plan to get back on your feet. Why don’t you and your family come by the house for dinner a few times this week?
  • You have PTSD or major depression and life is really hard, right now? I understand. I’ll do whatever I can to encourage you. I can even point you in the direction of some really good resources to help you do what’s necessary to make things better.
  • You made a mistake a few years back and the consequences of that are making life hard, but you’re trying to rebuild? You just need a single break? We all do stupid things when we’re young, and sometimes when we’re not so young. Maybe I can help you find a solution. I’ll certainly do everything I can to help and encourage you.

What do the above have in common (all of which are things I’ve seen real people encounter)? Simply this, those people were all willing to do whatever it took to get out of those situations. By comparison,

  • You lost your job because your boss wouldn’t put up with your anger issues or because she required you to do something you just felt like was beneath you or that might challenge you? You’re looking for a job where that will never occur and none of what happened was your fault, anyway, and at least now “everybody knows what you’ll put up with?” Sucks to be you. Get off my lawn.
  • Your depression/PTSD/Bipolar disorder means that events and other people can “trigger” you, but you won’t consistently take your meds because you don’t like the way they make you feel? You won’t go to therapy because the therapist isn’t buying that everything that happens to you is the fault of others? Your life’s gonna be rough. Get off my lawn.
  • That drug charge is hanging around your neck like an albatross, but you don’t want to get clean, not even long enough to pass a UDS, and people who won’t hire your are assholes so that’s why you keep using? No. You use because you’re an addict. Get clean or get off my lawn.

Second, I’m at that point in my life where it has become important to me to leave something that will outlast me (thank you for the insight, Erik Erikson). In many ways, I simply do not have time for things that pull me away from those efforts. So, while I remain willing to help, I reserve that help for those who want things to get better. So, you want me to help? Glad to do it. You need an ear to listen? Glad to lend it. Want honest advice? Glad to give it. You insist that I help only in the precise manner you prescribe? I must not only listen but give my approval to your less-than-accurate asinine and self-serving belief that nothing is your responsibility? I have to give advice that confirms what you have already decided to believe, even if such advice contradicts the plain and obvious truth?

Get off my lawn.

My engagement in retrospection leads me to this conclusion. I remain compassionate and tolerant of those who have real problems and who seek real answers they can and will implement. My compassion for those who have real problems but refuse to accept responsibility for changing things? Limited. My tolerance for those in the second group when they try to make their refusal to change, and the consequences of that decision, my responsibility? Yeah. Kindly remove yourself from my outdoor verdant carpet.

Thus endeth my retrospection.

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One Comment
  1. OldNFO permalink

    Agree 100%. I’ll help those who are actually TRYING to make a new start.

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