Lay off the Millennials, Gramps…

Look here, Grandpa….I’m getting tired of listening to my contemporaries bad mouth the Millennials!

We digitally shout “Get off my lawn!” as we see example after example of young people doing what young people do….i.e. make mistakes.  It happens.  It is part of the glory of youth!

We made mistakes. We devalued the advantages of being young. We were more idealistic than perhaps we should have been.  We had less vision than our elders wanted. Certainly less understanding.  We were young with all the trappings that are implied.  We were fine.

It was not fine with our parents though. It was frustrating for them. “Kids today….no work ethic, they don’t understand the value of a dollar, what’s with the long stringy hair? I have half a mind to….blah, blah, blah.”

Who raised these monsters, anyway?

So history repeats itself.   Shocker.  But this time there’s a twist….

The Millennials are the first generation to grow up in an age when the generation before them have a social media platform that is tailor made for whining about the young folk and their crazy ways.

Listen, I’m not arguing that the Millennials are perfect. They are far from it.  Do they have their problems?  You’re damn right they do.

But they are also far better equipped to leverage the coming century than people my age (54) and older. They have grown up in…and are very comfortable with…a world that changes fast……which means they can adapt quickly.

Do not make the mistake of underestimating the importance of being able to adapt quickly today and in the days to come.  The velocity of change is increasing exponentially.

Some say they are very internally focused, one might say selfish.  Uh,…true of every generation in their youth, with the possible exception of those who saved the world fighting in WWII.  And that, it seems, was perhaps mostly a consequence of circumstance and timing.  They were fighting for their lives and the lives of their families.

Listen…don’t make me choose between a team of Millennials and a team of people my age. You might get your feelings hurt.

Who raised these monsters anyway?  Oh yes, now I remember….that was us, Gramps.

Now where did I leave my glasses….

(What are your thoughts about the Millennials?  And if you are a Millenial…well then come to my rescue before the geezers eat me alive in the comment section!)

I Am NOT A Dog Person….okay?

Listen, I’ve got no beef with the doggies of the world.  I’m just not a doggie person.  That’s all.

In the spring of 1988 my wife and son were coming from Texas to join me at my first duty station, Fort Lewis, WA.  I moved out of the barracks (where all the single soldiers live) and into a small temporary housing bungalow on post with the family while we searched for a home to rent.

When my wife and son first arrived from Texas I did a quick inventory and discovered that my family had expanded by four legs and a tail while I wasn’t looking.

Sheena, a buff cocker spaniel, was her name and she was a handful of a puppy.

This beast was a problem for me.  First of all, it was made very clear to me that pets were not allowed in these temporary quarters under any circumstances.

Second of all, I did not grow up with dogs.  I grew up in a large family of six kids.  My folks brought a dog home once and it lasted just a few days.  We were all scared to death of this collection of teeth and claws.  It was a “ferocious” beagle as I recall.

Meanwhile, back at the temporary quarters, on our first night together I got out of bed to make a midnight stroll to the bathroom in complete darkness and was treated to a squishy something between my toes.  I froze in my tracks and called to my wife, Kat, not happy.  Then I took another step and got a matching treatment for my other foot.  Kat could not contain her laughter.

From that day forward (4 cocker spaniels later so far) I have always referred to these beasts as my wife’s dogs.  I refer to them as the “mangey, fleabag mutts” because, you see, I’m not really a dog person.

“I’m not really a dog person.”

My wife thinks that is hilarious.  She correctly points out that I have lived with dogs for almost 30 years…that this represents more than half my life…that I have spent countless hours at vet appointments, dog training classes, taking the dogs out to “potty” and for walks, etc.

“Yes” I say…”but that’s because I want to keep YOU around and happy.”

I say all that to say this.

Okay, I might be a dog person.

But don’t tell my wife.

Hopes and Fears He Says…

“Tell me your hopes and your fears” my Dad likes to say.

It’s a seemingly innocent conversation starter.  But I have to say that this innocuous throw away line can lead to some rather heavy soul searching.  Think about it.  Hopes and fears.  That cuts right to the heart of what it is we’re doing with our lives in the limited time we have.

When this question is asked of me I usually dodge the meat of the question with some sort of quip like “I hope to land safely but I fear my chute might not open!”

But, nevertheless, a seed is planted and that seed grows in my subconscious.

What AM I hoping for?  Do I have some vision for the future?  Well sure I do (sort of) but what exactly is it.

The word “Hope” sounds good.  In a lot of ways I believe it is good.  We should all have hope.  I encourage it and I have it.

But, in another sense, hope might also suggest a lack of planning.  Not that a plan isn’t forthcoming …but for today maybe it’s just a positive hopeful thought that I’m packing.

That same seed makes me think about my fears, too.

I fear posting content on this blog, for example.  What if the readers are bored?  (Both of them, lol!)  What if I embarrass myself or my family?  What if I offend?  Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh no!

If fears like these win the day……we have to  battle back and go after them again tomorrow!  The key is the struggle!  There is no shame in failing to overcome fears like these today.

The shame is in the surrender.

So, I think this is what Dad is seeking when he poses the “hopes and fears” question…..what is your VISION of YOUR future.  If you answer the question seriously you will reveal how far along you are on the trail of hopes and fears toward your final destination of a VISION.

John F Kennedy did not say that he “hoped” we would go to the moon.  He announced that we CHOOSE to go to the moon.  And we did.  Had he announced his hope of it…..well this might be a different world than the one we are living in today.

What are YOUR hopes and fears?  Figure them out, formulate YOUR vision, and then take your moonshot.

The Defenseless Pretenseless

You’re a fraud.  You heard me right.  I said you’re a fraud.  I’m a fraud, too.  We’re all frauds.

This is the conclusion I recently came to when I saw the viral video below.  You’ve probably seen it in various forms.  It’s several subjects with 4 photos each with ever increasing glasses of wine in their system.

At first glance it’s amusing to watch people get goofier and goofier as you work through the series.  But you know what jumped out to me?

Picture #1, no wine in the system.

We all get that alcohol loosens you up and lowers your inhibitions, your defenses….but think about that for a second.  That means that we are all walking around pretending, positioning, posing, perpetrating a fraud!

We are not who we say we are!!!

…and the pictures in this study support that.  Take a close look at who those folks want you to believe they are in picture #1.  Then juxtapose that with who they seem to be as wine pulls the curtain back.

I think this is why roommate situations between longtime friends so predictably go bad at such a high rate.  I think it may have something to do with the high divorce rate as well.  It’s really a question of authenticity, right?  You don’t really know or get the authentic truth……until you do.

I remember when I first met my wife, Kat.  We were both working for Whataburger.  She was the boss.  As we worked together we got more and more friendly, more and more flirty, etc.

Then one day, after many hours of burger flippin’, I pulled off my plastic apron and paper hat and turned around to a stunned Kat.  As it turns out, she had never seen me without my hat and was fixated on my (at that time mostly) bald head.

There was an awkward pause….and then we both burst out in laughter that went on for awhile!

And THAT was probably the first truly authentic moment I had with my future wife.  It can be the glue of human relations…..or the end of them.

Powerful stuff this authenticity…you fraud.

(If you care to defend or make a public confession regarding your fraudulent life….please use the comment section below!)