What I’ve Learned In 55 Years

Actually, my birthday is tomorrow. But, I didn't like any of those memes, so...
Actually, my birthday is tomorrow. But, I didn’t like any of those memes, so…

In the days surrounding my birthday, I usually write something about questions I might have or make smart-ass comments about aging. This year, I decided to something a little different. In honor of turning 55, I want to share some of my accumulated wisdom with you folks. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.

In my 55 years on this Earth, I have learned that:

  • While you have to age, you don’t have to get old. “Age” is the chronological record of how long you’ve been alive. “Old” is a way of thinking; a mindset, if you will. You can be that old fart standing on his porch, yelling, “Get off my lawn!” or you can be that really cool lady who’s been places and seen things and loves sharing those experiences with other, younger folks who haven’t. It’s your choice.
  • All too many people my age haven’t actually taken the time to get to know any Millenials. If they did, they wouldn’t post so much ignorant shit about them. I’ve raised two children from that generation and count among my friends many others. And, I can say with all sincerity, they are an amazing group of people; they just don’t approach things the way we do. Considering our track record, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.
  • There is a definite limit on my tolerance for political bullshit. And, it was reached sometime around December of last year. Trump is a nightmare come to life, Hillary is terrible campaigner (not to mention a mediocre candidate) and Bernie is not going to pull off an upset in Philadelphia. I’m afraid this going to be a long, long summer.
  • Being a grandfather is the shit It’s all the fun and none of the responsibility! In fact, if I’d known how great it was, I’d have skipped being a dad and gone straight to granddad. Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way. But, it should, damn it. It should.
  • The utter douchery of maledom can still surprise me. After all these years on the planet, you might think I’d be prepared for decision like the one handed down in the Stanford rape case. If you did, you’d be oh so wrong.
  • Joe Biden is a damn good man. In fact, he may be the best man who has ever held elected office in this country. Why do I say that? Read his letter to the Stanford rape victim and see.
  • Embracing something you’ve run from is incredibly freeing. For most of my life, I lived in denial of my inherent (and innate) nerdiness. A few years ago, I finally accepted the truth and took up the mantle of “nerd” with gusto. I’m haven’t looked back and I don’t intend to. Ever.
  • Progressives can be just as shitty and close-minded as conservatives. If you’re wondering what I mean by that, look at  the rhetoric of some Bernie Sanders supporters. Basically, they say “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” That sounds an awful lot like something Bush43 said about his “War on Terror”, which is something that should give you a significant reason for pause.
  • Some people will say anything for a bit of attention. Like Kevin Swanson, who tells his followers that the Girl Scouts are trying to turn their daughters into lesbians. Or, James Dobson, who recently claimed trans-inclusive bathroom laws are te same as prostituting little girls. Or, pretty much anything  comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.
  • “Choosing the lesser of two evils is still evil” sounds nice, but it’s fucking ridiculous. Life is a daily exercise in “choosing the lesser two evils”. Unless you’re 10 years old, it’s something you should be used to it by now. And, when the greater evil is a walking, talking tire fire who could wreak untold havoc not only on our country, but the world, it’s time to quit whining, put on your big person pants and do whatever is necessary keep him out of a position to wreak that havoc.
  • What you believe doesn’t mean shit if it doesn’t influence what you do. In other words, don’t say you believe Jesus is Lord and then shit all over the people he came to save. And, by “people he came to save”, I mean “anyone on the margins of society”. In America, that translates to anyone who’s not straight, white and Christian.

Looking back over this list, I can see that it includes something to offend almost everyone. That brings up something else I’ve learned over the years: As you age,  you care less and less that some people get their panties in a wad over the truth. But, I don’t want to be a dick, so if something here pisses you off, sorry about that. Whether I’m sorry that you decided to get pissed off or I’m sorry that I pissed you off is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.