On May 1, 2015 I will be fifty-seven years old. I’m sure the year 1958—my birth year—seems like an eternity past to the majority of my social network friends and readers. Most of my contemporaries (those old fogies!) continue to scoff and ridicule blogs and Twitter. However, they have finally joined Facebook full force to connect with migratory family, i.e. grandchildren.
Four decades ago at the ripe ‘ole age of seventeen I fully expected to be drafted to “serve my country” in Vietnam. So I’m thinking that qualifies me to speak to forty years of adulthood.
In 1958 Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, a house cost $30,000, average income was $4,650, gasoline was $.24 a gallon, bread was $.19, tuition at Harvard was $1,250 a year. Americas first satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral and the microchip was first developed switching on the early stages of personal computing.
The Wham-O company introduces the Hula Hoop, the Broadway musical My Fair Lady opened in London, with Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins, and Julie Andrews playing Eliza Doolittle. Popular Films included South Pacific, Gigi, and Vertigo. Popular Singers were Elvis Presley, Billie Holiday and the Everly Brothers. Popular TV programs were Candid Camera, The Ed Sullivan Show, and Come Dancing (some things never change).
Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Michael W. Smith were all born in 1958. Madonna just did a topless spread for Interview Magazine (She looks amazing for fifty-six by the way. Yes, I looked. I’m thinking maybe I could look like her if I had her money.) Michael Jackson is dead. (On second thought, I could possibly look like him if I had that much money.) Michael W. Smith has become a long-time friend. That has an irony all its own. The year 1958 has become a small, small, albeit, plastic world of skin and music business.
So without further adieu, here are ten things that would have stunned this kid/adult of seventeen. My twelve-inch high afro would have stood straight on end at these “shocking” revelations.
1.) People are honest until it gets too expensive. When I say people, I mean our children, our pastor, our spouse, our business partner, our best friend, ourselves…basically everyone—except if you are really lucky—your parents.
2.) As a parent, 95% of what I thought was so vital and important didn’t mean a thing. Religion causes repression and guilt, Baby-Wise has been linked to dehydration and failure to thrive, and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family—follow his steps and get a “perfect child”—just doesn’t add up. The only thing positive about my feeble parenting was sincere love and modeling a “secure” attachment style.
3.) Fifty-three, yes, I said FIFTY-THREE out of fifty-six years of integrity and good clean living and being a shining example of virtue will get you ostracized and shamed. There is no reward in evangelical religious America for mistakes. It’s all or nothing. The rewards and adulation go to those who repress and cover up. If these four decades have taught me anything, it’s that none of us can claim the casual comfort of innocence.
4.) Expect nothing of everyone and if you get 10%—count yourself fortunate. Unfortunately, I was brought up to expect 100% of everyone. I am entitled. That, my friends, is a recipe for disappointment and disillusionment. And will cost you thousands of dollars in professional therapy.
5.) I should not project my ideals on others. Period.
6.) Some people are toxic to your life. Avoid them at all costs.
7.) Life is far more beautiful than I imagined. There is so much beauty on this earth that it is exquisitely painful to me at times.
8.) The world is far more beautiful than I imagined. The forests, castles and magical worlds of Ivanhoe, Greek Mythology and Disney pale in comparison to one glimpse of the pulsating underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, or the otherworldly kaleidoscope of the Northern Lights, or a snarling one-ton Kodiak Grizzly raiding your campsite in the untamed wilds of Alaska, or a shimmering clear view of Death Valley from the atmospheric summit of Mt. Whitney.
9.) People are basically good. Most people. Even Christians and Muslims. To put it succinctly the doctrine of total depravity is…depraved.
10.) Be where you are. If you are taking precious time to go somewhere, at least take yourself with you.
Heck, who knows what I’m going to write after the next forty years?
Everyone: If this rings your bell for 2015, please share on your fav social network. Let’s go viral with this one!
And if you like this kind of honesty…join me at re:Create 2015 Feb. 2-5. For more info: http://recreateconference.org