573: Unacceptable Risk

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In America these days, there is no acceptable risk for something someone does not find useful to themselves.

We all get in our modes of transportation on a nearly daily basis, and willingly take the (rather significant) risk that our routine daily trip will not, this time, come to a horrible, bloody end. It does happen that way for many people the world over. We take that risk with nary a qualm.

We take other risks with insouciance, too.

Have you actually read the warning labels that come attached to most small appliances these days? Seriously? I think we should just improve the gene pool and leave these labels off, thanks very much. WHO showers while using their toaster? Or tries to dry their hair while still in the shower? The awful part is that SOME one obviously did it, or there would not be a warning label for the rest of us…who don’t actually need one, thanks.

I remember the prenatal class I took during my first pregnancy. They were very careful to warn us moms-to-be not to have sex (immediately after delivery) while we were still in the hospital.  I’m not too sure about the other moms, but that was a totally unnecessary warning for me – any man who got anywhere near me immediately after delivery had better have had a shot of morphine, not sperm. It wasn’t actually an experience I was looking forward to beginning all over again at that point, believe me. It took me nearly three YEARS to forget about how much better it felt going in than coming out. Once again, this warning prompts the question: WHO did such a thing, and was she conscious at the time? And as for risk, pregnancy and childbirth are still (even in this modern age) statistically pretty high risk endeavors, and still women do it all the time.

Risk. Actually, I take lots of risks when I get out of bed in the morning. Your home is full of mortal dangers: the electrical circuits, the bathtub, ceiling fans, the stuff crammed on the top shelf of the closet, the pets that weave in and out between your feet, assorted cleaning chemicals which can’t be combined (that bleach  and ammonia thing gets a few people every  year), food left on the counter, or saved a few days too long in the fridge….you  just don’t know all the stuff that can kill you once you take the risk and get out of bed.

Let’s just understand that risk is part of living. The only way to eliminate risk is to die – and then you have to hope that the funeral home dude isn’t a necrophiliac. You just don’t know – and at least, at that point, you just would not know (or care much, either).

Let’s get on with the business of living – and be mostly careful, without being nuts about it.

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492: Decisions

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Every day brings decisions. Most of them are not Earth-shattering choices. What to wear. Generally, that one ranks fairly low on the importance list (unless you have a career in fashion). Some have potential long-term consequences: what to eat today, for instance, is not terribly important. But over time, with repetition of good (or bad) choices, that daily decision becomes vastly more important as the health consequences compound, with interest, over time. That is a daily choice with long-term repercussions. Some decisions are like that.

Other decisions obviously are more weighty from the get-go. Where to go to college – what major to study. Who to date, and who to marry. What job to apply for – and which job offer to take. Where to live. Whether to procreate (sometimes that choice is taken out of our hands by other choices we make).

Some of our choices lead to other choices, of course, and not just that ‘whether to have sex’ choice that results in ‘whether to have children’ choices. For instance, the ‘you choose a partner or career (or both), that is not conveniently located geographically close to your present location’ choice, for instance. This choice dilemma results in some difficult decisions, assuming you are not satisfied with doing things at a distance – which might work with SOME careers and a few (a very few) people.

You can move to be closer to the object of your desire (partner or career). Sometimes that solves the difficulty. Sometimes the chosen partner chooses you, too – and perhaps they can relocate instead of you, again, resulting in problem solved. That seldom works well with a career choice, but some careers are more portable than others are. For instance, being employed as a nurse is a universally necessary career with job opportunities anywhere there is a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital. Pretty much anywhere. Some careers are like that – and some are not. You are not going to find employment as a nuclear physicist in Podunk, Iowa. You are going to have to relocate, or take a job they do have available there.

Where things get complicated is when you have a partner, and you need to move for a career change – especially if your partner is also employed. Whose career takes precedence, in the choice of stay or go? Or, do you become a weekend-and-holiday relationship? Is there another solution that will work for you both?  Hmmmmm…….decisions, decisions.

What if you have a career, and find the ideal partner somewhere else? What then? Weekend and holidays? OR, do you pass on the soul mate in favor of your secure, enjoyable, good-paying career? Just how fulfilling is your secure, enjoyable, good-paying career….solo? Hmmm…….decisions, decisions.

Well, conundrums and arguments aside, people of faith don’t always have to make those choices. When you surrender your life to God, you discover that He actually does have your best interests at heart. When these gritty choices rear their heads, you can seek His wisdom and counsel. He is adept at opening doors, making circumstances and disparate pieces fall into perfect alignment, and placing the right people in the right moment to have everything that He wants just….work out.

The hard part is trusting that He will, and waiting until He does.

Keep your pants on, Abraham.

482: New Habits

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Many people are dissatisfied with some part of their life. That’s pretty universal, since life has so many compartments: physical, spiritual, financial, occupational, familial, emotional, and every one of those compartments has multiple occupants, all of which can run smoothly, or gum up the works.

In the process of living our lives, we humans are often like water. We choose the easiest path (the path of least resistance) to find our way down an incline. What this translates to in daily life is that we establish easy routines to deal with most things, and they become habits over time with repetition. They start to feel natural and normal with the familiarity, even if they are not natural and normal. It happens this way even when our established habits are actually unhealthy for us, or harmful to us.

All of us struggle with habits, but who would knowingly establish a habit that harms them? Well – that appears obvious, but people do it every day.  We choose to take a drink because we are bored, or because something is uncomfortable that we’d rather not think about and deal with. Repeatedly choosing that option leads us to a dependency on alcohol (or drugs, or food, or sex, or the Internet, or gambling, or shopping, or fill-in-the-blank with your own addictive, escapist behavior) and the poor choice is now a habit that feels natural and normal to you, even though it is anything BUT. The problem with addictive, escapist behaviors is that they are never, ever satisfied with the compartment of your life that they started out in. They do take control of that compartment, yes – and then they cast a proprietary eye on the compartment next door, and the one after that, and the one after that, until they pretty much take over everything.  Every stinking, little, tiny thing.

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This is why people who don’t see (and heed) the warning signs when a habit is still small enough to be uprooted, before its roots are so massive that digging it out uproots the rest of the garden, too – this is why those people speak of hitting absolute rock bottom. It takes that ultimate comeuppance (rock bottom) at that point, to make a change. When there are no more excuses, when you have pretty much lost everything that mattered to you, when there is nothing that is left of any value or worth, making a change isn’t such a bad thing. It is the only thing left.

You can’t dig yourself out of a hole. When you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING. Make a change. You can’t expect different results when you continue to make the same choices. Start something new, and be sure it is something positive, and do it one day at a time, until you are no longer in a hole.

When will you be out of the hole? You will know. Just be sure you don’t start digging again.

423: Sex Drive

download (7)The human sex drive is a good thing, designed by God for the preservation of the species. It is natural, normal. Unless you have had a total hysterectomy, in which case, who would ever want to do THAT? EEEUUUWWWwwwwww.

And then come the replacement hormones, especially, for me, the replacement testosterone. Testosterone, for those females who do not know, is Viagra for women. Times ten. Your husband will die a happy man.

Small problem. My husband is currently living and working in the United States. I am currently living and working in Panama City, Panama.  Well.

Like I said, it is normal and natural, even if the desire is a bit rusty, and festooned with cobwebs from lack of use. It is, however, embarrassing to catch myself checking out the male derriere on display (available or not). Sheesh. Some of those boys are WAY too young to come out and play. Seriously. Besides, who wants to fool around with their grandma?? Nobody, that’s who – thank goodness. Keeps me honest.

So, in the meantime, I have lots of energy I am devoting to getting accomplished all those projects at home that I have been putting off for months now: gardening, sewing, crafts, painting canvases, resting (!), and all those other creative things I love to do, but WAS casting a weary eye over when I got home from work each afternoon -when I shook my head over the project, and took my exhausted self to bed – to SLEEP until it was time to get up and go back to work again.

I might even select a few books out of my must-read stack and settle down in the front porch hammock with a tall, frosty beverage and a warm, purring lap kitty for a few hours of escapism – without falling to sleep in the middle of page one, like I have been doing for the past few months, before the replacement hormones took effect.

Life is so much better when you don’t spend every spare minute trying to recover from the rest of the day! I don’t know about you, but my ideal life scenario never consisted of work consuming all my waking hours, and things got pretty grim when I realized that was exactly what was happening. Thank goodness things are improving with the replacement hormones, even if some of the side effects of the hormone replacement therapy are a little embarrassing.

Don’t worry, though – the sex drive thing was never so important to me that I lost my control, unlike some politicians I could name………!

 

391:How Come? (no pun intended)

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Why do people (read: men, mostly) in public positions, who have so very, very much to lose, engage in extra-marital sex? Why?

Some claim it is an addiction. Addictions are choices. You have to choose to try something, and choose it over and over and over, usually, to develop an addiction to it. You picked it, with a little help from some weak gene, perhaps, but – you picked it. Still your fault.

Some claim they were seduced. Duh. Sin is attractive (read: seductive), because no one would commit it if it was ugly, obvious and UNattractive. You chose to do it. Still your fault.

Some claim it was because their significant, legal choice for legitimate sex was unforthcoming with the goods. Sounds like a relationship problem you can work out with time, therapy and some serious romancing on your part – not to mention cleaning up the ugly parts of your life and character that are turning your significant other OFF to the point that they are not interested in you even touching them. And, if all those remedies are unproductive, you can divorce them and hook up (legally) with someone more compatible with your sex drive. Still your fault.

And SOME offer no redeeming ideas at all for their stupid, childish, undisciplined, sexually risky and career-risking behavior whatsoever. STILL YOUR FAULT.

376: Following Your Inner Muse

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OK, I get it. People are different. It doesn’t take all kinds, we just HAVE all kinds. We all get to learn to live with not only the few people we can stand for short periods of time, but also the other people who are genuine jerk-offs.  I get it. Just because I don’t like you, the way you look, your ideologies and beliefs, your political, racial or sexual orientation, or fill-in-the-blank, I don’t get to wipe your existence off the face of the Earth just so I can feel better. Neither, BTW, do YOU get to do that to ME. Nyah, nyah, na pooh pooh. Tough titty – suck it up.

I have my own goals and dreams. You have yours. Yours are not any more legitimate than mine, even if yours are currently working, might work in the future, or worked in the past at least at one time, and mine never did. If they are my dreams, they are mine, and I can pursue them as long as I don’t hurt others in the process. That is ethical behavior, and there are too many people breathing good air right now that other people could be using, who don’t get that. You don’t crap on others to get what you want – whatever it is that you want. Why do you think I never went into politics? It is nearly impossible to make any decision that affects large groups of people without crapping on at least some of them. That is the nature of the dirty, slimy, filthy business of politics. It takes big cajones (male or female) and a very thick skin to do it, even when you are mostly an ethical, moral person with genuine, humane values. You are still going to make enemies, because some people are going to be harmed by your decisions and actions, and that is that.

It is like being a parent – to several hundred thousand children at once. Boggles the mind. I had only two and I am batting .500. My daughter is human, and my son….well, my daughter is human. If you can’t even do a perfect job of caring for and making parental decisions for one or two humans, how the hell do you think politicians and others in positions of authority can do a perfect job? You just hope they don’t screw up too often or in a big way, and that is the best you can do, dude.

Our current crop of politicians have one impeding factor in their way, however. They have completely forgotten the ethical part of making decisions that affect others: do as little harm as humanly possible. These guys, far too often in this current time, are focused on their own inner muse, and damn the goals, dreams, values and aspirations of anybody else, regardless of how many anybody elses there are that disagree with their personal, internal view of the rightness of the universe. That is the number one problem: the current politicians earnestly and stubbornly and BLINDLY believe that they know best for everybody else, and they are determined to force their view of utopia on all the rest of us, who are pretty much blowing razzberries at the view.

I don’t like your world view, I don’t think you are correct in your vision of the future, and I am furious that you are making decisions that are screwing me over…and over….and over. Modern politicians, hear this: It is not that I don’t like anal sex, but I prefer to choose my own partners.

362: Getting older beats the alternative.

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There is very little that is attractive about getting older – visually, anyway. Perky breasts, taunt abdominals, smooth skin and slimness have gradually given way to…..well…..let’s just not go there. Some of you may have just eaten.

Plus, my short-term memory is not what it used to be, either. It was never really great, but lately I must actually have a place for everything and everything in its place not for neatness sake…but for self-defense.

And the assorted aches and pains are Indian……gradually creeping up on me. Here’s the very worst part of all…..

No, no, not the sex. My partner is as old as me, so we have aged together, and he’s not a whole lot prettier than I am, so neither of us has had to resort to bagging yet – that part is fine. Really. OK, don’t believe me.

The worst part of all? It is the FOOD. I’m pretty sure you are scratching your head and thinking….food? What on Earth? Yeah, it is the FOOD. Here is the real story about getting old. When you are young, back in the dark ages, for me, you eat whatever tasted good and whatever your parents force you to eat for your own good, plus whatever you were stupid enough to load on your own plate. See, I am a preacher’s daughter. That means, for those of you not so blessed, that I attended LOTS and LOTS of pot-luck dinners. LOTS. What I learned is that some pots are lucky, and some are toxic waste. However, if it looked good and you put it on your plate, you were obligated to eat it, because somebody brought it, and they have relatives. So, I learned to be wary, and to put small tastes of stuff on my plate, and then return for seconds if it was actually good: you could not trust what it looked like. Those chocolate chip cookies actually might be raisins, you just don’t know. It paid to be careful.

The hard part about growing old is that your tastes change a little, but not nearly enough. When you are young, spinach and broccoli and other veggies get better with age (yours, not theirs), but still – what happens to oldsters is just not fair. When you are young, you can eat junk with little worry, because your metabolism and your youth combine to allow you to sin in this area with relative impunity. Not so as you mature. Over time, the sinning you did as a youngster catches up with you. You stop growing up and grow out….and, as my husband said, I don’t fit my clothes anymore.

I had never heard it put that way before. It is a simple switch in emphasis, but a profound paradigm shift to say I don’t fit my clothes, rather than MY CLOTHES DON’T FIT ME. See, before, it was the clothes’ fault, plain and simple. This new way of putting it, put the blame squarely where it belonged, and where I did not want it: on ME. Meh.

Plus, when you mature, there are other health concerns that the doctor points out to you when he tells you to ‘avoid’ certain food items – what he means is you can’t have that anymore. Usually, THAT is whatever tastes good. You are allowed to have anything you don’t like, and the more you don’t like it, the better it is for you. THAT is what is monstrously unfair.

If we were gonna have to eat like this, why not just never let us ever eat anything that tastes good, so we won’t mind it so much when we have to give it up? Sheesh.

Still – you have to admit, getting old beats the alternative………………………….