How dumb do they think we are?

June 30, 2014

We are in the silly season when politicians flood the airways with their ads, each claiming to be the savior of America. There is a consistency of stupidity in these ads or at least a consistency in how dumb they must think we (the voting public) are. Every politician makes claims about what they are going to go to Washington and do that are similarly ridiculous; and, apparently they think we may believe them. Every politician makes it sound like they will single handedly fix all that is wrong with Washington and with America, if only you will elect them. How dumb to they think we are?

politiciaN SPEAKINGEvery one of them makes claims like “I will reduce the size of government, cut your taxes while improving the services, break the deadlocks in Congress” and probably solve the issues of world hunger and world peace in my spare time. Many in this election year also promise that they will repeal the Universal Healthcare law; require women to have babies, even in cases of rape; and let struggling American companies fail rather than find a way to help. How dumb do they think we are?

These are usually professional politicians; but many are people who have otherwise have been successful in life and business (so you know that they probably aren’t stupid themselves); who are apparently willing to lie to us to get elected. No freshman or junior Congressman or Senator will have any influence over anything in Washington; much less change the prevailing “do-nothing” attitudes POLITICIAN KISSING BABYthat have gridlocked government. How dumb do they think we are?

What they will do, which they have already demonstrated by toadying to various special interest groups to even get this far, is to spend their first year or two sucking up to the power brokers that run the place – lobbyists and party leadership – hoping to curry favor and  get money for their re-election campaigns.  Most will continue to kowtow to whatever special interest groups helped them get elected in the first place. How dumb do they think we are?

What they won’t do is give a damn about the so-called constituents back in whatever district s they are from. They may drop crumbs back in the hood when they can, do photo-ops and kiss babies when back home, but what they will really focus upon will be learning which backsides to kiss in Washington. These are politicians, which is the only group rated lower than lawyers in esteem and trustworthiness in the minds of most Americans. How dumb do they think we are?

politician cutting ribbonSo let’s all take the political ads with a big grain of salt or a lot of skepticism. These are people who will do anything and say anything to get elected and who have absolutely no conscience about ever doing any of what they said they would do to get elected. Just once wouldn’t you like to see an ad that said – “I want to go to Washington and work to build relationships and coalitions with other legislators from both parties to get things done on behalf of the people. I know it won’t be easy and it may take some time, but I will be working towards that end. One Congressman or one Senator can’t change government all by himself; but one honest, dedicated and hard-working legislator can lead a movement that will make a difference and I want to be that person.”

I’d vote for that guy/gal; but, unfortunately he/she’s not running again this year. Displaying the ability to work across party lines or more accurately across ideology lines is considered to be heresy and is sure political death. The sad truth is they know how dumb we are; after all we keep electing them.

Reset the “poor me” bar for yourself…

June 29, 2014

Every now and then someone will send me something – a saying or a picture or a video – that makes me pause and think about my life within the context of what they sent me. We all get into a “poor me” funk every now and then and sometimes it takes something like this video to put things back into some perspective. Watch it and then spend some think time re-assessing your poor me attitude. See you next week.

Are you working that hard to overcome the hardships or obstacles in your life? Are any of us?



One day at a time…

June 27, 2014

“Count each separate day as a separate life.”  (Seneca), as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

It actually should be easy for us to do this, if only we didn’t have the tendency to carry over yesterday’s issues and problems. Life is more like a serial TV drama or the old cliff-hanger serial movies for many of us. Yet if you start each day with the attitude that this day IS your life, maybe you’d be more inclined to live it more fully, love those around you more fervently and enjoy just being alive more freely.

I think there are insects that basically have a one-day lifespan. There entire life is lived out in that day, so it is a frenzy of activities, including mating and laying the eggs for the next one-day generation to come. I suppose that we shouldn’t live each day like that, but if you appreciate and treat each day as if it was your last day on earth, perhaps you would be better able to appreciate the things and people around you and not dwell so much on negative things.

man daydreamingI wouldn’t recommend spending too much time daydreaming about what you might do if you knew that each day might be your last; that, after all would be wasting the precious time of that day. Rather, start each day with the mindset of meeting new people, making new friends, helping new people, dong new things, taking in new sights and sounds and flavors, learning new things – essentially being alive and being more aware of it. Many of us don’t start each day that way and wander through the day like zombies – animated but not really alive.

I’m reminded by this saying of the movie “Groundhog Day” in which Bill Murray is stuck in a cycle of each day being a repeat of the same day – Groundhog Day. In that movie, Murray’s character becomes aware of the situation and uses the constantly repeating day to train himself in medicine and on how to play the piano and other thins that he would not otherwise be able to do. While it is impossible to get as much done as he did by repeating the same day over and over, it is possible to learn something each day, to do something each day to be a better person, to help someone or to make progress on something like learning to play the piano. Like Murray’s character, you need to be aware of what you can do and set out to do it.

So today is today. Yesterday is in the past and worrying about tomorrow accomplishes nothing happy dogtoday. Put your focus upon living today like it is your life, because for all you know, it is. I start out each morning with a ritual that involves my dog Sadie. She jumps up on the bed and we celebrate the fact that it’s a new day and we both woke up this morning. The celebration involves a lot of petting of Sadie, which starts her day off right and there is little better way to start my day that getting some of the unconditional love that a dog can share, even if it does involve a lot of licking.

I’d love to stay and chat some more but I’ve got a life to live today. I’ve enjoyed this time that we spent together, but now I have things to do, people to meet and places to go – a life to live.

On being messy..

June 25, 2014

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”  (A.A. Milne)

Today’s quote uses the more gentile word “disorderly” instead of messy, but it’s really the same. I’m not talking about being a hoarder; that’s a different and disturbing mental disorder; rather this is about those of us ( I certainly count myself among this group) who don’t leave our desks in neat messy deskorder every night. Instead we (I) make piles of things and have those piles all over the place. I’m not sure why it seemed so important at the time to save some of the stuff that I find in those piles, but apparently it made sense then. Many times there are multiple copies of the same things in the piles, because I didn’t have to time to search for it in the piles when I needed it, so I rerun the report or print off another copy. The fact that I often have another copy on my computer makes saving it in a pile even more vexing, when I think about it.

Getting back to Milne’s quote; occasionally I’ll get into one of those “time to clean things up” modes and go through the piles on my desk; usually that occurs when the piles get so high and unruly that things start sliding off the top and falling onto the floor. It is during those deep dives into the pile, with most things being thrown in the trash that exciting discoveries can be made. Sometimes they reveal commitments not keep or things not sent to those who requested them – darn it. Sometimes they just key memories of things long past, some good and some bad. Throwing away the stuff that brings back bad memories brings a sense of closure to them.

piles on deskI always end up with piles; they’re smaller now, but still piles of stuff that I’m still keeping for some reason. If I’m in a particularly energetic mood I may try to find a place to file those important things; however, most of my file cabinets are full of stuff from prior pile organizing efforts. Sometimes they end up in boxes that placed high up and way back in closet shelves. They join other boxes there that I sometimes wonder about. What is in those boxes? It must be important stuff; otherwise why would I keep it. Sigh! Someday I’ll have to go through the boxes.

As a Realtor I deal all the time with people facing moves. Moving is one of those events in life that forces one to deal with all of the stuff that has accumulated. I recall our last move, which was over 14 years ago, now. As we were packing to move to Milford, we discovered boxes in our attic storage that had not been opened from the move 23 years earlier from Indiana. We decided not to move them to Milford. Well, maybe just this one and that one over there. After all, one never knows when one might need a milk-glass punch bowl and 12 cups that has seen very little use in over 30 years.

These days people hold garage sales or put stuff like that on Craig’s List and sell it. What doesn’t sell gets donated to the Salvation Army or Purple Heart. That often works for the stuff that was never in a pile to begin with; however, the contents of those piles seldom has any value to anyone else and I’m not even sure it still has value to me. Oh well, I’ll just move this pile over there and go through it later. I’ve got new stuff today and it needs a pile of its own.

As I close I wanted to find some justification for the disorganization in my life and this quote by Laura Ingalls Wilder works well – “The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they’re organized for.” See, I knew there was a reason that I didn’t want to get too organized. I’m paying more attention to the things that matter, instead of the things that caused the piles in the first place.

Hey, what’s in that pile over there? Have a great, disorderly day!

You’re divorced…don’t waste your time on the past

June 23, 2014

“If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you’re allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.” –  Shannon L. Alder

I found that quote when I went looking for quotes about divorce. I get involved in quite a few real estate transactions that are being driven by divorces. Usually the point at which I’m brought in is still in the early stages of the total process. Emotions and feelings are running high, wounds are still fresh and enough time has not passed for logic to kick back in. One side or the other probably hates me at first, since I’m usually brought in by one side or by a lawyer representing one side of the divorce. So, sometimes I bear the brunt of anger and frustration that has nowhere else to go. That’s OK (well, not OK but expected) and I try to maintain a calming influence, if I’m allowed the opportunity. So, today’s quote is sort of my throw-in bit of advice for those trying to cope with this big, emotionally charged event in their lives.

dissapointed ladyThis little saying doesn’t have to apply only to divorce. Especially in our younger years we seem to give ourselves ample opportunity to be hurt in affairs of the heart; so this could apply to all of the lost loves that you suffer through on our way to maturity. There is a natural tendency to have those little thoughts of revenge in the back of your mind, if you believe that you have been wronged. The quicker you can put them back out of your mind and get on with life the better. They serve no useful purpose. If you must find a way to make it a win for yourself, think of it this way – you are of such little consequence to me that I no longer even think of you. There- you win!

I found another quote that at least starts to take the approach of letting you be the victor, rather than the victim –

“Everything can change in a heartbeat; it can slip away in an instant. Everything you trust, and treasure, whatever brings you comfort, comes at a terrible cost. Health is temporary; money disappears. Safety is nothing big an illusion. So when the moment comes, and everything you depend upon changes, or perhaps someone you love disappears, or no longer loves you, must disaster follow? Or will you-somehow-adapt?”  –  Margaret Overton

I wrote about being the victor in an earlier post in my three little words series.  It is those moments of disaster that many people find their true strength as a person. There’s nothing  wrong with having woman boxera good cry, too. That can be a very cleansing thing and it releases the stress. The important thing is what you do after the cry. Don’t curl up in a fetal position and admit defeat. Stand up and say out loud, “Well, that felt good; now let’s get on with life. What’s next?”

Finally, here’s at least a partially positive quote to end this post –

“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” –  Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home

The point of today’s quote is not to let yourself wallow in the “poor me” syndrome of wasting time wishing ill to others for what you may believe that they did to you. What makes them worth that waste of time in your life? You have more important things to do – new challenges to take on, new people to meet, new relationships to build. Your life is not about the past anymore, it’s about your future and you just don’t have time to waste on things that didn’t work out in the past. You’re divorced. So, what? Nobody died. Move on. You’ve got things to do.

The mind doesn’t age…

June 22, 2014

Even though our bodies sometimes remind us of how long we’ve been alive, the human mind has the wonderful ability to stay young and vibrant forever. Well, maybe the young part is a misnomer, since the mind also is the portal to our storehouse of wisdom, most of it gained out of the experiences of our years. But the mind does not exhibit the same signs of aging as does the body. Sadly some minds fall prey to the thief Alzheimer’s Disease and while it doesn’t grow older, it loses the ability to reason, sometimes leaving the person is a child-like state.

Why do I care or write about this? Well, this past week, I turned 70, an age at which I once thought I would be very old, but which I now see as just a number (sort of like the Axerion ads on TV). It’s just a number – 70 – there I said it. I find that in my mind I don’t feel that much different than I did when I hit other numbers 30-40-50 and 60. Yes, I can feel it more in my body; more aches and pains, a little stiffness here and a little less limberness there.  I’m OK with all of that, so long as I still feel alive and creative in my mind. I enjoy writing now, probably more than I ever really enjoyed many of the more physical activities of my younger years.

So, what keeps my mind young? I think it is the constant desire to keep learning. I’ve always liked tinkering with things, taking them apart to see how they work (although I’ll admit that I’ve never been all that great at getting them put back together) or trying new things, meeting new people and seeing new places. For most humans I think that is a key to staying young mentally – never stop exploring and learning. For many reading is a passion that serves them well in that respect. I fear that the younger generations have become too enamored of Tweets and posts on Facebook and other very short bursts of information or communication and haven’t developed the habit or appreciation of reading a good book.

But, I digress. Back to the topic of the mind not recognizing age – I note as I look at the profiles of the people who follow this blog, or those who post comments to it, that most are also physically young (at least a lot younger than me). I think that is great. I’ve visited most of your sites or blogs and can recognize in many of your posts a lot of the same things in my life as I think back to that time. All of us spend time in our youth searching for our identities. Many go well along in years still using the phrase “when I grow up”. I stopped using that phrase out loud some time back because I realized that I had already grown up and had made choices that defined the roles that I must play – husband, father, home owner, career guy, etc. Inside there was still that little voice that I’ve written about here before saying “can I come out and play” and “when I grow up”.

I’m happy that little voice never went away inside me. It is the human mind that refuses to age. So, if you see me, you might think “look at that old dude”; but I’ll be thinking “what an interesting young person, I wonder what I could learn from them?” Looking at some of your blogs, all of you are very interesting people with lives that look like fun. You’ve already taken an important step to never growing old too – you are all writers, sharing your lives with others. For those who are searching; you will find yourself someday (or discover that you were never really lost, just without direction). For those who have fond themselves, the fact that you have also fond blogging as a means of expressing yourself is important. Don’t get hung up on whether what you have to say is important enough for someone else to read or care. As they say in the Nike commercials – Just do it.

Remind me in 2024  to write about what turning 80 feels like. Damn, I may be an old dude by then!

Get back to the sweet innocence of life…

June 19, 2014

“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”  ― C. JoyBell C.

That was the quote on a recent post from Jack Freed on his Jacks Winning Words blog. I scalesfound it to be an interesting quote to give some thought to. It is perhaps when we lose that “sweet innocence” and allow one side of our nature to take over (usually the sad side) that we become really broken and depressed.  It is important to keep that balance between the happy and the sad in life and maybe even important to keep trying to tilt it towards the happy side.

There are many things in life that can try to break you – the loss of a job, a divorce, a death or maybe watching a loved one fade away in the grip of Alzheimer’s disease. It would be really easy to allow those things to drag you into a more or less permanent state of sadness. Recognizing that fact and fighting it by finding the other things in life that makes you happy is critical. Sometimes it is hard to summon up those things – a favorite place, a favorite vacation memory, other man daydreamingloved ones who are still there, maybe a favorite pet – but they are still there and they may need to have some time in your thoughts to balance your life out a bit.

Sometimes just turning to prayer can take you to a better place for a while and may help trigger other, more pleasant thoughts than those of the crisis at hand. It can also relieve the burden, if you can get to the place where you allow God to take over by saying to yourself or out loud – “Not my will but thy will be done.”

To some that may seem like a cop-out, but to most that is the only way to get to the state of mind where you can let go of things that you cannot control. In the world of fine dining sherbet is often served between courses to “cleanse the pallet” between courses and get ready for the next course. Perhaps prayer can be thought of as a way to cleanse the pallet of your mind and get it ready for what is next.

Yes, you will probably still have to deal with the things going on around you that caused your sadness, but you can now do so with the burden lightened because you now admit that it is not all up to you and that you are doing all that you can, with the rest up to a child fishin gin puddlehigher power. Perhaps you will also be able to allow some of happiness back into your life and get back into that balanced state of sweet innocence. You can be whole again. So, take a moment and allow yourself to have some happy thoughts.