Changing Priorities

“Here’s to When I Gave a Feck”

Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck

“Look, Garrett, I’m closer to the end than to the beginning. So, some of this stuff, I just don’t have it in me to care anymore…It’s the rest of it, the posturing, the little digs, the wasting my time….” ~ Police Commissioner Frank Reagan; from the TV show Blue Bloods, Season 6, Episode 9, “Hold Outs.”

 

I can relate. I often say, “I don’t care.” But I do; in an odd, almost cavalier way. Normally, when I think I can help someone or fix something, I give my time and effort to the issue. I now care less about many of the things that were high on my list when I worked at my paying job. I haven’t lost my motivation; I now own it.

Opinions others have of me have lost much of their importance. Nowadays, I care more about issues that were of little interest during my past. Conversely, my “that’s bull shit” list is longer than ever. I worked, if you can call it that, for about 50 years. Now retired, my perspective on what’s important is changed.

Since age 18, excluding my time as an undergrad, I had one six-month period of unemployment. Even then, I treated my job search and being Mr. Mom, as two jobs. I enjoyed them both. The pay was horrendous, but the benefits were good.

I learned about myself during that time, simply by being me. That was the early 90s, the decade that I like to call my figure it out for myself years. Looking back, I now recognize that I was depressed and confused. I worried about things like money, a job, and my kids. I was more overwhelmed than I like to admit. I paid my dues. But now?

You know you want it, right?

You know you want it, right?

I wear blue jeans, shorts, or sweat pants. It’s like every day is casual Friday, but it’s really another Saturday. I’ve not worn khakis more than twice in 18 months. I haven’t worn a tie, suit, or sports jacket either.

I care about style, as long as it’s casual. While I still think wearing argyle socks with sandals is a sin for which any man should burn for eternity, there’s something to be said for not caring what others (like me) think, even in the choice of clothing styles. I toy with the idea of wearing a kilt cuz wife says I have great legs. Some opinions will always count.

It shouldn’t matter what most other people think. I’ve read that what they think of me is not my business. But it often does matter. If I ask you what you think, feel, or believe, you should want me to care about your answer. If I do, it’s fair enough.

If I like your idea, I may accept it, implement it, or otherwise go with it. When someone says, “You should do a blog on that,” it gets my attention. I often write with inspiration like that from someone else.

I’m a grandparent. A parent called to complain about a grandchild. I listened, but said nothing. I allowed my child to rant and get it out. My wife wasn’t home, so I was on my own for the call and the associated drama. These are my monkeys in my family circus, after all.

i-dont-care5Then I hear, “You haven’t said anything, Dad. What do you think?”

I take a deep breath and wonder if I should respond (the answer here is no).

Raising my kids, I made the same mistakes. But now, I have a different perspective. I answer with a quetion, “Are you sure you want to know?”

My ranting offspring responds, “Yes.” The tension builds. While I knew that this wouldn’t end well that day, I also knew it would eventually pass, and it did. I blurted out my answer as the Frank Reagan of my family.

“It doesn’t matter. What you’re so upset about is no big deal. There are more important issues in your child’s life. This is minor and kind of expected. As children, we’ve all had problems like this. We get over it and so will he. Allow him the dignity of experiencing and learning about life on life’s terms, not your conditions. I suggest you calm down and wait.”

Dial tone.

Blue Bloods writers would handle this scene at the family dinner table with everyone drinking wine.

snarkasm12I’m a here and now kind of guy. While I firmly believe in living in the present, I acknowledge that each life has a future and that’s the direction we live it. Today’s crisis is tomorrow’s funny dinner chat or neighborhood gossip.

Life goes on, and everyone should enjoy every possible breathtaking minute. What other people think is probably unimportant, and may be dangerous. So learning when to have had enough, to be tired of the BS, and to move on; to no longer give a shit, is good.

“But Mikey’s father, champion of all pint drinkers, is like my uncle Pa Keating, he doesn’t give a fiddler’s fart what the world says and that’s the way I’d like to be myself” ~ From Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt

So, care as you must. Live in your world and in your time. Figure out what’s important to you and to people close to you. Make choices, change your mind, look back and look forward. That makes perfect sense to me, I hope it does to you, too.

Meh takes a big swig of the foamy grog and grunts, “I don’t give a feck.”

Live life forward, understand it backwards,
mind the gap, and look both ways.

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9 thoughts on “Changing Priorities

  1. I love this post. I’ve only started following this blog the other day, when I chose it because it sounded interesting, by the way. I love the theme of this post, especially as I’m moving out of my earlier years and into my middle years. I’ve lately been looking back at what I’ve learned so far. I also have to say that all men should try kilts from time to time. Ladies love them.

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  2. I’ll have to say that getting older has one fantastic benefit, losing that excessive caring. Still have anxiety, but it’s great to know that so much just isn’t that big of a deal. I’ll also have to credit my old English prof who was a special forces Vietnam vet. I was terribly distressed about speaking in front of people. He asked me “are they shooting at you?” That put it in perspective and getting older gives even more of that wonderful perspective.

    And get a kilt. Guys with great legs, and nice butts, are hard to find. My husband has both and I rather enjoy it 🙂

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  3. I loved Angela’s Ashes. What a wow book.

    Anyway, yeah, I’m getting better at not caring, but I care enough about what SOME people say, and others I’ve had to just push ‘pass’ and do that water off a duck’s back thing. I think it’s terrible wanting to be understood. Ugh. That’s what I need to do, release wanting to be understood.
    Anyway again, we stressed out more about the older two kids than we do with the younger two kids. I think we learned quite a bit about picking battles, and then we also got older and more tired. Heh. Moving away, much as I hated Georgia, gave us plenty of space to sharpen our skills away from meddling family, and well, when we came home, we didn’t soften them.
    Our kids go into the future we don’t go into, you know, the whole Kahlil Gibran thing, so after a certain point, we need to sit back and let them at it. It’ll be their world longer.
    My mother will give me all the advice I want about me. She will not offer advice on how to raise my kids. She’s a wise woman, she is.

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      • well you could always just try one on. What could it hurt, eh .🙂

        I have a funny feeling that my deciding not to have kids was not only utter terror at the entire process, but that my mother would be their grammy. And knowing HER thought processes, she would have had any or all of them firmly in her corner by age two. No. Not good.

        I read ‘Tis by Frank Mccourt, working my way toward Angela’s Ashes.

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