Last Saturday was my birthday.
It was a calm day. We had a late breakfast/early lunch, puttered around the house, then packed up and went into town to play cards with our group. It was our first time of the year playing, which was ironic because it was the last time the group our play for this school year. We had a blast, laughing, catching up, and eating some delicious food. The cards were not in my favor, but it was a good time.
However, the next day, I was reflective about 51 years on the planet.
Exactly. That reflection has carried into this week with news of more shelling in Ukraine and leaked Supreme Court brief overturning Roe v. Wade. Now, at this time of the year, the mantra is “one day at a time” and “you can only control what you can control”, which are both good ones.
But that reflection has run deep. I always had the notion that when I got “older”, I’d figure things out. No, not the meaning of life kinds of things, well, ok, maybe a little bit, but more the smaller things in life. Family, friends, money, all the things we’ve been drilled with since I can remember. Those types of things.
You know what? I’m older. And still as confused as hell.
Growing up, I trusted that the people around me had my back and that friends are for life. Then, I got burned twice by the same group of friends. I made new friends in college, but wedges have been pushed in there too. I’m the quiet guy of the crowd, but have never fit. Connections are hard for me because I’m so damn quiet. If I force it, things come out wrong.
I look at my job. I know teaching is tough, having watching my father for many years. His district treated him like sh*t and he took early retirement and has lived his best life since. I want to retire a teacher. Many in my community will vote for the very people who call teachers “groomers”, saying we have a “sinister agenda”, and who say we are “indoctrinating” our students. As I look at teacher “appreciation” week, it’s all ads. One ad offers two dollars off pizza, which would be fine if I couldn’t get a three dollar off coupon going to the grocery store, buying milk, and using the coupon the back. At a recent weekend, I had a friend’s husband ask me if we are teaching critical race theory in classes. I’m looked at him, thinking he was kidding. He wasn’t. When did teaching suddenly become such a terrible job.
I look at our current political mess and wonder how we got here. I’m old enough to remember when people could disagree respectfully and argue using facts. We talked briefly in class about the election and how the founders worried about popular vote. I have some kid yell, “Yeah, like how Biden is popular with the dead people who voted.” Mind you, this is sixth grade. How did we reach a point where sixth graders could hav that level of disrespect?
That’s the tip of the ice burg. I know much of this is due to my birthday, but as I was telling someone, I feel like I need a violin because this ship is going down.
My only saving grace right now, there is sun and 70 degrees soon. If I didn’t have that, my mental state would be that much worse. I feel like I’ve failed not having something figured out. It’s not fair, not right, and I know that. But as I stumble along, trying to make sense of things that going batsh*t crazy, it’s hard not blame yourself of lack of awareness.
Hoping this week ends well and that I can figure one thing out. Just one! 🙂