I saw something beyond infuriating, and for the first time, 2 possible instinctive reactions came to mind at almost the exact same time. The first was if I was witnessing this infuriating thing being performed by people my own age, and the second was how I might’ve reacted if I was a parent who was witnessing the same event being performed by people considerably younger than I.
The first was an impulsive outburst of carnal intensity; violent and spontaneous, explosive with no remorse. But the second was a slow breeze of impending despair, knowing that this course of action would fester, and cause the depths of my soul to ache. I didn’t like thinking about this course of action I would be forced to consider as a parent, because of how damaging the punishment would be in the long run to the whole family. But the fact that I had thought about it for that brief moment was a new sensation all together.
My ‘parent brain’ switched on for a moment.
Throughout my childhood, I’ve heard the phrase, “you’ll understand when you’re older”. I’ve also heard that “parenting is more difficult than you think”, but I mostly hear that from people who’ve never picked up a parenting book, or bothered to scientifically study ‘adolescence’. So duh, of course it’s easy to devalue children when you basically don’t believe that they’re real people with independent thoughts.
As a unmarried adult with no children, I’ve come to realize that most people like babies, but not everyone likes children. Possibly because of how crazy-protective our culture is about strangers interacting with their young, so that no one has the opportunity to interact with children before they themselves have children. Causing generations of people to walk into the occupation of ‘parenting’ totally blind to the issues.
But of course, children are people, and they’ll be full-grown adults in less than 20 years, so parents need to be open to the endless possibilities of things that children might be interested in.
There are no ‘perfect people’ in the world, so parents need to be open to the very real possibilities that their children will have problems.
My own mom was a serious woman, and treated child-rearing like every other chore. She hurried her children into adulthood with as little fuss as possible, and grew irritated and disappointed when she discovered that her adult-children were nothing like her. Her ‘parent brain’ has never worked properly, as she was never willing to accept the possibility her children are real autonomous individuals that she can’t control.
If you image that people are plants, and the spot that they are grown is representative of how their lives will be, it becomes easier to accept that some things just don’t work out the way you want. Not all plants can thrive in certain climates. Not all plants are grown in ideal locations. Some can’t handle certain weather. Or certain moistures. Or certain temperatures.
Sometimes the plants get the most ideal location, and they grow strong. Sometimes they don’t. So, insisting that every sprout is equal and has equal chance to flourish is a lie.
Some plants just don’t make it. Some plants have all the best resources available to them to encourage their growth. Others face decades of hardship and never quite reach their full potential.
The adage that ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’, is also a lie. Since no one is able to be a different type of plant, we must all live the type of life that that is obtainable for us specifically.
By chance I was born here, meaning that in the birth lottery I was placed here, in this location, in this demographic, and in this socio-economic group. It’s difficult to change from your starting location. Not impossible, but difficult.
Peoples birth situations are precisely coincidental. Wealth or poverty, influence or exile, excellence or ignorance. Life is unexpected, and not all situations will work in our favor.
Sometimes learning to ‘accept that things are beyond our control’, is the best advice for handling life’s many inconveniences. But people mostly say that because, it’s easier than trying to uproot to attempt once more elsewhere. Weathering the conditions is a personal choice that many people feel is obligatory, because the unknown circumstances in a different place are perhaps worse.
‘Change’ is scary because of the possibility of hardship. But most things in life are hard, so it just depends on how well a person handles their specific hardships. Most difficulties aren’t life-or-death, and most likely resemble a big mess of odds-and-ends flung at us, that maybe we survive and grow beyond.
As an adult, I find myself looking for lengthy projects to occupy my time. Self-improvement is never-ending, but I’m just looking for something to focus on for 4-5 months. When I was a teen, I thought that adult projects were typically household tasks. Some kind of maintenance or construction. But I am not a homeowner, so I find myself seeking some kind of new hobby, but assigning it a definitive goal [as if it were a task] so I can keep track of my milestones.
– This desire to keep track of my personal endeavors is new thing that I’ve started craving in recent years. I’m not sure if this need is part of the new Age of Social Media , but it seems that the desire to have tangible and shareable details negates the ‘actual success’ of our personal endeavors.
Somehow sharing the photos from an event, is more important that enjoying the actual event. As if it was only worth doing IF I could post about it. It occurred to me that in the Age of Social Media, shareable things are more valuable than isolated things, so I would only be satisfied with my project if I was able to share it.
I’m rather proud of my summer garden. So far I’ve grown a crop of green beans, cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes. I also have high hopes for my pumpkins, watermelons, and squash. I also planted some corn, but I think I wanted it more as autumn decoration, and less as food. I’ve had fruit trees for years, but this is the first time I’ve tried growing seasonal plants. From what I understand, all of those vine plants will not make it through winter, and will need to be re-sprouted every spring. It feels good to garden. Watching plants grow provides a reference of what ‘natural speed’ is, juxtaposed against the artificial urgency of the modern world. It takes weeks and months to grow things; it’s far from instant. Natural environments requires gardeners to be patient and plan ahead. People in the modern world who expect instant fulfillment would benefit from partaking in the lengthy seasonal growing process. Literally stopping to smell the roses makes time appear to move slower, and mentally easier to deal with.
This week, I have pumpkin flowers. And I am weirdly excited about them. I had little sprouts in March, and now have flowers. No doubt in another 2 months, I’ll start commenting on the size and color of my pumpkin harvest.