Whenever - Whatever - Wherever
© 2018 P. Arthur Stuart, pastuart.com
As I started this "Whenever – Whatever – Wherever" Blog, I will not use personal examples of others, unless I know the person, I'm referring to won't recognize I'm talking about them; or it's a positive example, one they're likely to be proud of. Starting without getting into specifics, I had my share, and maybe some that should have been given to others, of problems with: the government, none criminal type; marital and relationships; job and bosses; and a myriad of other typical ones—like everyone else.
Note: I was going to name this blog, My Dailies, but I knew I would never make an entry every day, so I thought perhaps, Weeklies, that also failed. I just didn't want to commit myself to, a sort of, rigid schedule. Okay, daily and weekly were out, that leaves monthly and beyond. I realized at this point that my thoughts would most likely be sporadic at best. So, I opted for, Whenever, because this is a pretty open period. The major difference between this and my Currents, which aren't flowing well, is that, this is about life, whereas, currents are about events.
Over the years, I have found that people don’t want to know they’re wrong—regardless if it’s important or it just doesn’t matter. A quick example: I told a friend I had read, in a naval engineering text, about a principle related to steam turbines blades. He told me I must have read it wrong and that it was impossible. When I got home, I looked it up again, found I read it correctly. I’m not saying everything we read is correct; in fact, it scares me just how much is wrong, inaccurate, and pure BS. Anyway, it’s not about the correctness of what was written but rather that it was written in a well respected naval text. I told my friend that I recheck and if he wanted to read it for himself, I would show it to him, the next time he came; I addded, all he had to do was ask. He said, ‘I'd like that. Okay.’ He never asked. I have repeated this many times since, of course with different subject matter, and no one has ever taken me up on it.
With today’s technology, many opposing views can be resolved quickly with smart phones. Now, when I have an opposing view and it can’t be resolved on the spot, I will research it. If I’m wrong, I will go back, apologize, and tell the person they’re right. If I’m right, I just keep it to myself. What I’m saying is, I want to know what’s right, not who’s right. One small note, I’m referring to things that are not opinions or faith based, like politics and religion; I’m referring to things that have a definitive answer.
Tolstoy said it best:
I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious if it be such that as it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they had proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into their lives. Tolstoy
Things that make me want to, “&GB#&*!@+&%$#.”
June 29, 2020
Parents know what’s best for their children:
First, I want to distinguish between “Want and Know.” Wanting is desiring that your child achieves everything they are capable of and have a successful and happy life. Knowing is the idea that you know what will make them happy, successful, and healthy; of course, I’m assuming one wants their child to be happy, successful, and healthy. I’ve always wanted what was best for my children, and what that was I haven’t a clue. That’s not the same as knowing. I made plenty of mistakes thinking I knew what was best. It may not seem like I was wrong, when I pressured my kids to strive for college acceptance. I’ve learned that not all kids a college bound, nor do they want to go. Yes, a parent should encourage their child to do their absolute best and give the support they need. I’m saying, had I realized one of my kids had no desire to go to college, which to me was unfortunate, I would have supported what he wanted. I didn’t know what he wanted at the time and that was my failing; I should have talk to him.
People that use bad examples done by others to justify something they’ve done or another person they support did:
It’s the kid’s argument, e.g., “Tommy’s mom lets him stay up later and doesn’t rag on him for ‘D’s or ‘F’s, so why can’t I stay up later and get grades like Tommy?” I would hope that this appears to you as very childish and you would think, perhaps hope, by the time a person were in their twenties, they would stop using this type of rationalizing. A crime is a crime is a crime. It doesn’t matter how many people did it before, and maybe got away with it, it’s still a crime. Don’t try to convince me that it’s okay to have been a draft dodger because others were draft dodgers. I don’t care if you want to consider the individual some sort of hero, just don’t tell me what he or she did was okay because someone else did it, regardless of who that someone else is. Fortunately for society, there are more people that do the right thing.
Discussing something rational with an irrational person:
Let me explain, while I was writing my book, I came across a Facebook post that said, “Bras cause cancer.” It intrigued me, so I did some research. Without getting into all the details, some studies indicated it was possible. In addition, there were several facts that professed that not wearing a bra was generally good for health in several ways. I would encourage anyone that wears a bra to do the research and speak to a doctor about the possible benefits. Most agreed that if you need to wear a bra, a good support sports bra was the thing to wear. Yes, I would agree, it’s up to the individual. Whether or not to wear a bra is not the issue I’m talking about. When I happen to say, “I had read that not wearing a bra would prevent sagging.” A woman stated, “If I hadn’t worn a bra, my breasts would be down to my waist.” I dropped the subject, no use starting an argument no one would win.
(Taken for Life’s Rules)
I have two personal axioms, “Never lie to yourself,” and “Take responsibility for your actions.”
Axiom One—Never lie to yourself.
I think, in one of William Shakespeare's plays he wrote, "To thy own self be true." Regardless of who said it, it is profoundly true. I know that there are many people that lie and cheat; and they appear to become successful. These people are usually extremely egotistical or sociopathic. They are the only ones that matter, to themselves. But for most of us that really care about others, and believe that lying and cheating is wrong, then this rule should be the number one to follow.
Axiom Two—Take responsibility for your actions.
Note: It's been pointed out that to do this, one needs to do axiom one.
While I was working for a school district, I co-facilitated a seminar: "The Seven Habits of Effective People." "Be Proactive" was the first habit. I have come to the conclusion that being Proactive is the basic foundation of who we are. The stronger the foundation, the stronger the structure. When faced with a situation requiring action, there are three responses: Reactive, Proactive, and In-active.
Scenario 1: You are in a small boat and you notice that it is beginning to leak.
Reactive: You jump overboard and start swimming to shore. You also forgot your life jacket.
Proactive: You evaluate the leak and put your hand or something else, like a rag, over it to stop or minimize it while you see if there is anything available to make a temporary fix. You're already wearing your life jacket.
In-active: You just sit there, while the boat is sinking, and wait to see what is going to happen.
Scenario 2: Someone begins to yell at you.
Reactive: You yell back as loud as you can and threaten to punch them.
Proactive: You remain calm. Determine what the person is saying. After you have determined what the problem is you respond calmly and do what you can to abate the problem.
In-active: You just remain how you are and look off into space, while hoping they will go away.
In summary -- reactive people act without thinking, proactive people take time to evaluate and respond, and in-active people do nothing. If there were only two rules to follow, they would be, "Never lie to yourself” and “Take responsibility for your actions."
Along time ago I concluded that a person’s perception is their reality. With that in mind, I’ll start. I was at my evening watering hole, enjoying my whine, I mean wine, when I got into a friendly discussion with another patron. I was asked if I were upset with them from the last time we talked; they had gotten the impression that I was. I said, “No. I don’t have any idea why you would think I was.” The impression was based on my sitting on the furthest side of the horseshoe bar and it appeared I was avoiding them. We talked a while longer and I was also informed that I gave the impression that I didn’t want to talk to others. I asked why they thought that. It was pointed out that I often sat on the other side of the bar and I have my earphones in; I sit away from others because I often write, and they didn’t know I wasn’t listening to anything and that I just kept them on in case I got a call. We talked. I explained my typical behavior and some of my quirks.
When I first started visiting the club, I would sit away from everyone and write. About a month after I started my daily sojourn, one of the regulars came over and asked, “Are you writing a book?” I didn’t take it as him being sarcastic, but rather to be funny. It’s typical when someone is writing and you don’t know what they’re writing about. Courteously, I replied, “Yes, I am.” Not sure I was being truthful he stated, “Really?” I said, “Seriously, I am. It’s a love story about a guy that meets a very wealthy and powerful woman. The title is Victoria.” Nodding that he believed me, he then struck up a conversation about basic personal things, like how long have you lived here and other typical, get to know you things.
While I was the Chief Engineer of a hospital, I was accused of being a snob. I asked the person why they thought I was; I don’t consider my self a snob. I was told that when I walked past them and they said hello, I ignored them. Fortunately, it was at a group meeting; fortunate because I could explain to everyone at once, instead of one by one. I explained that, I often concentrate so deeply that I’m not aware of the world around me. I told them I’m lucky I don’t walk into a wall. Then I apologized and said if I don’t say hello, it’s because I’m in another world, so to speak. I told them, even if I dislike someone and they say hello, I will respond. I further told them, that on occasion, I’d be a long way off when I realized what was said. When I stopped, the person would be gone and that I wasn’t sure it happened. So, now when I meet new people, I explain up front.
Jan 2020: We were discussing the topic of relationships. My belief is that, “If you make the people you care about happy, then you’ll be happy.” One of the participants said, “You need to look out for ‘Uno Numero’ first.” His view is that if you’re happy, then you can make others happy. To some measure I agree. If you’re depressed and want to commit suicide, it’s hard to make others around you happy. In many of these situations, if the person started thinking about how they were affecting others and what they meant to them, they might just realize their importance. Kirk Douglas is a prime example. Years ago, on the Today Show, he said after he had his stroke, he wanted to die. Then he said, “I began to think of how my dying would affect the people that loved me. I was important to them and that thought lifted me up. So, I stopped thinking about myself and focused on my family. A family I knew loved me. It changed my outlook and I started to deal with my recovery.” It was a long time ago that I saw the show, so please excuse me if Kirk’s wording wasn’t exactly like mine; I’m paraphrasing, as best I can remember. I know there are times when you attempt to make someone happy and they end up screwing you. For me, and I believe for most people, that have a loving relationship, it doesn’t happen often, in fact it’s rare. I really cannot think of a single time, when I did something for a loved one that later on treated me in a way that made me regret caring about them. My sister, whom I’m estranged from; that has treated me badly over the years, has not caused me to regret the things I did for her. I sincerely believe, “If you make the people you care about happy, you will be happy.” Albeit, in my sister’s cases, the moments were short lived. However, I’d like to reiterate, I don’t regret them for a moment.
I'm going to start with choice. When I was very young – many, many years ago, I heard this saying, "Life makes the soft heart grow hard; and it makes the hard heart grow soft." I think it has to do with what we expect and what we get.
I'm motivated to start with choice because I've been dealing with so many people that choose to dwell on the negative, instead of being positive. We all have had bad things happen to us. And we've also had a lot of good things. I've certainly had my share, both good and bad. My worst was losing my love—after 53 plus years. I'm dealing with it in my own way, a very personal way. I won't say it doesn't still hurt, some of life is learning to live with pain. I can't change it. Nobody else needs to know. I choose to focus on things I can do, things that make my life fulfilling—for me it's writing, jogging, and a bit of
whining wine in the evening.
The fact is, life isn't fair; if it were, I'd be handsome, younger, rich, smart,and have the ability to please a woman, as would every other male. All females would be beautiful, well built, independently wealthy, and, like they are, smarter than men. But in reality, life isn't unfair either, it's what it is. So, it's our choice on how we choose to live it, and whether or not to be positive or negative.
I'm not going to say I don't ever talk about these things; that is my losses, disappoints, and problems. Sometimes in conversations, I refer to them when I think they're apropos. Normally, I just keep them to myself. In some cases, they were things I couldn't do anything about them. Others times I was the totally responsible for outcome and they were a mixed bag. What I can say, is that I learned something from each of them. Unfortunately, many people repeat some of the things, because they expect the world to change for them; it usually doesn't.
Here's the choice we have: To be miserable or to live contently, if not happy. I ask myself, literally, ask, "Art, what are you going to do to be happy, or at least, positive?" I've chosen to be positive; and hopefully, be happy at times. I guess I have an advantage over some of the people I've dealt with. My children appear to be concerned about my wellbeing. I can't remember when we had a serious argument. This doesn't mean we agree on everything we just don't fight over things that really matter. This helps me. I guess we have a mutual respect. I'm proud of my kids. I have two personal things in my life that undoubtably help—running, albeit slow, very slow and writing. I write about almost anything. It's like talking to someone that's totally listening, understands, and doesn't argue or disagree.