When you have been wrestling with a cougar for 13 or 14 years you quickly learn that you cannot always determine their true mood from the expression on their face.
You may think you recognize that look and be certain it is angry, dissatisfied or happy and discover you know nothing.
It is part of why a smart man makes like Jack Benimble and knows when to leap and when to stand their ground.
Course you have to remember the words of the prophet not to sit on the candlestick ‘cuz fire is the devil’s only friend, unless you’re Satan or related to him in which case go right ahead and do your thing.
So I am standing in the middle of my apartment, covered in sweat and wondering if maybe I should go back downstairs and put in another five miles.
I am mad as hell and thinking about all the things I haven’t said and how restrained I have been in some areas.
It is that in between place I know so well, the one where I decide I don’t give a damn about the rules for playing with tornadoes and the other where silence is smarter.
The real source of my irritation lies in the lack of return I have been getting in some areas in which working harder just hasn’t paid off yet.
A body/metabolism that isn’t responding as it once did and some other areas that aren’t giving back what I expect.
I keep adjusting my approach and have focused on adapting to changing situations but the progress isn’t quite what I want it to be.
When I am asked to explain what the hold up is I provide a simple explanation and am told it makes no sense.
Instead of telling them their inability to understand lies in willful blindness or incompetence I simply smile and provide another explanation.
They still don’t get it and now I am really feeling like I am being tested because it is not that complex.
This story I have been telling has a beginning, a middle and an end.
I tell it to three different friends and they all understand and thus I confirm the problem isn’t with me.
Except it doesn’t matter because ultimately it is my problem to solve and thus it is added to the list of significant challenges that must be overcome.
Were my kids to come to me to ask for dear old dad’s advice I would say working harder isn’t always as useful as it is presented.
Sometimes you need to work smarter and to do that you have to understand the rules of the game.
I clearly don’t understand all that I need to, help is required.
Inspiration Is Where You Find It
The boys and I are hanging out on the balcony at The Pub.
A pitcher of beer sits in the center of the table and we are watching those California girls lie out at the pool below.
We’re all barely of legal age and aren’t smart enough to recognize we’re not remotely close to being as old and wise as we think we are.
Summer isn’t all that far away and we know the end of our time as undergrads is growing closer.
If we don’t go off to earn graduate degrees we’ll have to find jobs and start real life.
Something about earning real money sounds particularly good to me and since I don’t want to become an attorney any more I am perfectly happy to start the next phase of life.
“Dude, do you ever wonder if they are right about history repeating itself. The riots were pretty gnarly. I bet they thought in ’65 that they had figured it out.”
The commentary goes back and forth and someone says by the time you are in your late forties you should have a lot of this crap figured it out.
A quarter of a century later I am listening to Elvis sing about his dream and shaking my head.
You can listen to Always On My Mind or a million other songs and know some challenges never change or go away.
I have had enough life experience to know a thing or two about the truth of those things and to know that when you’re dancing in the damn fire you have to find inspiration where you can.
I joined Instagram because my daughter decided she wanted an account and I figured it was a good way to keep an eye on her and see if maybe I could learn something about pictures.
My niece and nephews say it has been a way to learn a little bit more about what old Uncle Josh finds funny and or interesting.
The arrow points both ways.
Not long ago my 7th grader posted something about how guys and girls can be friends.
Made me smile and say ugh.
Always knew the day would come when boys would become more interesting and I get the feeling it might be here.
But the real point is different, it is how the comments made me chuckle.
Boys and girls going back and forth, sometimes agreeing and sometimes disagreeing.
Sometimes my daughter and I have conversations where I see hints of the future and she tells me she thinks boys are crazy or tells me she doesn’t understand why some girls act as they do.
She hears me mutter that some things never change and tells me I am wrong.
“You’re right. I am wrong about a lot of things and there are a lot of people who will tell you your dad is an idiot sometimes.
But there are others who disagree and think I know a thing or two.”
I see her take it in and watch her eyes closely.
“Honey, remember this. I don’t care what most people think. I am not responsible for making them think I am cool or stupid. I am responsible to myself and to my family.
As long as I feel good about what I am doing, everything works out.”
She nods her head and I tell her I want her to focus on learning how to do that too.
Pick A Road
I hit the crossroads a while back and made a decision about what direction to head in.
Don’t know if it was better or worse than the other way, just know that sometimes the smartest thing you can do is pick a path and follow it.
I chose my route and if I need to adjust it, well I guess I will.
Have to concede sometimes I look back at that twenty-something and wish he was right about forty-somethings having figured it all out.
I know enough to know I know nothing, but I suppose the day will come when I can say I know something.
Until then I’ll keep doing my thing and those who want to do it with me can and those who can’t, well that is not my problem.