What I’ve Learned in 52 Years

1961Well, I’m 52 years old today and, while I haven’t learned anywhere near as much as I thought I would have by now, I have learned a few things. Here they are:

  • People are fucked up _ They are aggravating, infuriating, miserable balls of neuroses. Unfortunately, each and every one of them is my neighbor and the Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself. Shit.
  • Otherisation is stupid _ Under the surface, we are all the same aggravating, infuriating, miserable balls of neuroses. Dividing ourselves into tribes and looking down on anyone not in ours is ridiculous.
  • The impurity of someone’s motives doesn’t necessarily discount the results of their actions _ Case in point, Edward Snowden. I can’t decide if he’s an altruistic whistle-blower or a self-serving little prick. Either way, what he’s done has people questioning that odious Patriot Act. And, that’s a good thing.
  • That I know just enough about women to get in trouble _ Actually, know just enough about a lot of things to get in trouble, women are just one of them. But, that’s necessarily a bad thing. Because, if you have a half a brain, getting in trouble is almost always a learning experience. And, where girlfriends (where I usually get in a jam) are concerned, making up can be a lot of fun.
  • That a lot of the time, when things have turned to absolute shit, if I hang in there just a little longer, it will get better _ Another case in point, this blog. It seems that whenever I begin to despair of this thing ever really taking off, if I just hang on, I’ll have one of those days when views go out the roof.
  • That the former is not always true. Sometimes, things just don’t get better and you have to know when to walk away.
  • That the thought of dying is scary as hell _ I spent 23 years as a firefighter and for all those years, the fact that I might not go home in the morning was always in the back of my mind. But, in 2007, it was shoved to the front when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Now, every time I hear about someone dying from cancer, I know that will probably be me one day. And, it scares the shit out of me.
  • That the fear of dying isn’t as bad as the fear of not living _ Even though the thought of dying scares the hell out of me, it’s nothing compared to the fear of missing out on a fully-lived life.
  • That giving up certain things may add years to my life. But, it may not add life to my years. Once, I gave up caffeine because someone told me I might live 10 years longer. Giving up caffeine meant giving up coffee. I did and it was the worst 30 minutes of my life.. At the end of that span, I decided those 1o years wouldn’t be worth living without coffee, so I took to that delicacy again. With gusto.
  • That what I believe isn’t anywhere near as important as how I live _ I can believe all the right dogma, go to the right church, say the right prayers and tithe the right amount, but if I don’t love my neighbor, it doesn’t mean shit. That’s in the Bible, look it up.

Holy crap, I’ve learned more than I thought had. Cool.