Tuesday, September 20, 2011

43 Months (2)

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I'm forty-years-old and that I have a seven-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. But they're here and I'm still here and this little blog is still here, too. I look back on all of these entries that reflect my perspective on parenting and growing and learning about life and I'm stunned that this display has become so mature.

And despite all of my yearnings for empowerment and beauty and embracing the world around me with love, there are times I fall down into the nether-worlds of human behavior. I debase myself and the world around me with inferior lessons. We all do, at times, and our attempts to overcome this devilish nature that we have in ourselves is the ultimate struggle that we must face. It's been a long time since I completely lost myself to the foolish game of disrespectful behavior in order to escape the deep need for responsibility. Something I often did in my youth, instead of confronting the twisting feelings within me that I had such trouble understanding.

My current musing on these issues doesn't have anything to do with a confession that I'm about to make or revelatory pictures of stumbling blocks that I've recently had to overcome, but actually simply come down to this invisible barrier that I've recently crossed and which has occupied my mind of late. The dreaded forty-year-old line in the sand. Isn't this the time for a mid-life crisis? I say that with complete honesty but I'm not talking about the stereotypical mid-life crisis paths that we always see in our culture; divorce, sports car, cocaine, strip clubs and desperate rendezvous in the dark corners of our minds. I can't help but look at all of this from a different perspective.

The real reason I'm discovering this new attitude simply comes down to the fact that now that I'm actually forty-years-old, I feel responsible for the state of the world. I look around at everything that is going on around me and truly see this complex human interactive environment that we've created. I can do this simply because of human ingenuity, a truly amazing gift of our evolution, but when I really look at our society, I find that the picture that is currently being revealed isn't very beautiful at all. I'm not particularly proud of what we've built here in the 21st century. In fact, it really looks like the complete opposite of ingenuity, something truly ugly that tears down the monument of human endeavor. It's destructive in so many ways and terrifying to watch it unfold due to the causes of human behavior, due to causes I myself have made.

When you turn forty, you get to take responsibility for your life. I never realized that this was happening but suddenly I was very aware and tuned into the reality that my life was just as important as anyone else. My opinion and perspective on the world is just as important. This was always true, of course, but we are so often burdened by the false prophet of insecurity in this new modern culture that it is easy to lose faith in ourselves. Somehow, I suddenly don't worry about any of that now. Maybe it's because I don't have time to worry about that type of thing when I need to worry about providing for and teaching two little kids. So I've finally come to understand that that all of those messages of shame that we've received for so long are nothing but a distraction to pull us away from our true potential, a foolish symptom of a diseased society.

But that's why I think a mid-life crisis is in order. A new type of mid-life crisis. Something that I'm going to call a crisis vow. Because I believe that it is imperative that we as human beings shift our focus in life toward something meaningful. We are truly living in a time of crisis. There is great upheaval all around us, a tremendous conflict of disparity that is constantly on display. We cannot seem to escape the seething tremors of discord that envelope all of our human interaction and we are all looking for a new path out of the disastrous mess we've made of things. For me, it's a perfect time to reflect on my role as a human being in this life, right here and now. What can I do to make life enjoyable for myself and others?

So this is my crisis vow.

I vow to respond to the world around me in a way that provides value and I vow to confront the prejudices and negativity that seeks to hinder that value that I wish to create.

If each and every one of us base our lives on those two small determinations then we can change the course of tragedy that our society currently treads. If we begin with our hearts and follow with our minds then we have the ability to alter the destiny of humanity. We can change the way that we perceive value in this life. True value doesn't come from money or possessions but from the way we treat others. The only worth that we shall have once we are gone is what we have left behind, whether we are dead or have simply said goodbye. I can see this truth every day in the bright smiles upon my children's faces. How can we possibly say that we care about these precious beings when we continue to cut funding for education so that we can build more bombs? That is an example of the shameful way our society has turned away from humanity, something that I am finally coming to understand, now that I'm forty.

Yet, I know that we have so much to give, so much more that we can do for our society and for our children. I see it every day in so many ways. In the way a parent walks their child to school. In the care of preparing a hearty breakfast. In a hug, a touch, a smile. In the way that I feel so fortunate to have this life simply because others have made the effort to create this space that provides that fortune. We need to do that for our children. We need to do that so that the life of tomorrow is a place of happiness for all. That is the type of life that is worth creating. Not one that causes pain or destroys or preys on the weak. We've developed some bad habits that are causing us to further our own doom. We've allowed our devilish source to cause the destruction of the world, even if that only meant that we turned our heads when visions of atrocity came upon us. But no matter how blind we became, our hearts always understood the truth of such wicked games and once the heart knows, you can never find appreciation and gratitude within such ignorance.

I want to create an environment where we rediscover that sense of appreciation for our lives. That's why we are here, after all. So this is my mid-life crisis, a vow for discovery, a new perspective that shall enlighten tomorrow.

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