Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Life Is Not Fair ... Obviously

Well, we've all heard the statement that life is not fair .... usually when whining about some slight, imagined or real. So what is it about some of us that makes us want to see a world that is fair while others love exploiting the fact that it is not? I'm a member of the former group. I so want to follow the 'Golden Rule' and treat others as I would have them treat me. I've tried to live my life that way. I cannot fathom the type of individual that has no compunction about causing emotional or physical harm to others. But, those people exist too. The struggle doesn't seem to be maintaining the type of demeanor we are born with on a day to day basis. It comes easy for me to be polite and friendly ... even to the random grocery store clerk. The challenge though is not to change my behavior in the face of being treated unfairly or rudely by another individual. I guess it is human nature to strike back but, even knowing that, I have usually tried to reason that that type of behavior is more about the other person than it is about me. I taught my children to try to think that way too. This usually works and, after all, most rude interactions are brief and more or less impersonal. Another driver may make an obscene gesture or a store clerk is snippy and we absorb that and move on ... shake it off. So, what happens when we run up against an individual who has made it his or her purpose to make someone else's life miserable? On the face of it, we can rationalize that this individual is obviously miserable in their own skin and must therefore lash out at others. Okay, I get that. But, it doesn't make taking it any easier when I am the one that is being lashed out against. It is frustrating, it is unfair, it is 'crazy-making' and it is something that generally speaking is almost impossible to deal with in our society. Sure one could seek legal recourse .... thus costing oneself a lot of money. How is that fair? Not being the kind of person to sink to the level of such an individual it is even more disconcerting to have to deal with the bad behavior on a regular basis. If I have mentioned to another person a particular scenario that has taken place in my life, it is surprising how many other people have experienced similar situations. Why is it okay for bad behavior to be tolerated in our society? Why is the onus on the person being harrassed or victimized to have to pay for intervention? The simple answer is that 'life is not fair.' Well, great! I don't think that there will be any sea change in my lifetime. In fact, I feel that its likely that the bad behavior of Americans will increase exponentially as we become more and more impersonal with one another due to technological developments. But, I'm going to continue to conduct myself at a level that refuses to treat my fellow man as less than human. And furthermore, I am going to continue to follow the Golden Rule. As for the mean, nasty people of the world ... well, it is my personal belief that they are creating their own hell and that by living their lives in a toxic and destructive way that the main person they will destroy is themselves. I believe in Karma and Karma may be the best equalizer that there ever is.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Daughter, My Friend

Amanda came into the world on May 22, 1987 ... very much hoped for, very much wanted. My mother commented that she was an 'old soul' when she was only months old. Amanda was a beautiful baby ... easier than her older brother Blair in that she went to sleep easily and she would simply observe her world between eating and sleeping. I must confess that while dealing with a rowdy two and a half year old boy, she sometimes just drifted off to sleep in the playpen. Amanda didn't need to be in a playpen but it protected her from the 'exuberance' of her brother, who only knew one speed ... full out. Our girl talked at 14 months ... in full sentences. One of her first statements was that she 'wanted to go to the mall.' Little did we know where this would lead. The girl still loves shopping and fashion to this day, having pursued a course of study in same. She did all of the usual things girls do ... played sports, danced, cheered and made and lost friends along the way. But, the thing that not many people initially understood about Amanda is that underneath her lovely exterior, her typical girliness, there has always lived a capacity for compassion and love that she could not always show. She is honest and loyal to a fault but a person would not find this out unless they stuck around long enough to allow her to show her vulnerabilities ... because Amanda has a tendency to deflect and protect herself by occasionally being prickly. To know Amanda is to understand this and love her all the more. So, the adventure of raising this daughter has been fun, sometimes trying but ultimately rewarding in a way that only a mother can fully understand about their own offspring. A mother wants happiness for her child but is willing to support that child through any sorrows. It has been said that a mother is only as happy as her least happy child. I feel this is so true. And now, I am happy. You see, my daughter was recently engaged to her sweetheart of nearly seven years. As a parent, one worries when a child falls in love at a young age ... will they be careful, will they be smart, will they fulfill their dreams. I had all of these worries and now I can say that ... yes, they were and yes they are. I can honestly feel that they have worked toward a wonderful and healthy relationship and I do not doubt that they will have a successful marriage. Along the way, Amanda and I have grown in our relationship too. We are more than mother and daughter ... we are friends. As our relationship changes I look forward to planning her wedding. She is already wise but, if there is any wisdom I can impart regarding marriage and children all she need do is ask. I trust her to do the right thing and I will be there to support her and her family. I am so proud of this child of mine ... not for anything accomplished as much as just for the person that she is. I think her grandmother was right ... she often seems wise beyond her years. I think this will hold her in good stead as she moves to the next phase of her life and I wish her joy, laughter and love along the way.