I have such a good time on facebook. I chat about music, humor, cartoons, animals, current events, The Constitution, my lovely wife @LeeHillerLondon and a variety of other topics. I also have a great time re-sharing Lee’s amazing photography and design work.
I love chatting with my old friends; many of them are back home in Hattiesburg, or are from Hattiesburg, grew up with me, and live in other parts of the country (or world). facebook is like a barometer. It tells me where I was three to five decades ago, and real life and even Twitter tells me to a certain degree “where I am now”.
I love hearing of my friends both old and new successes, overcoming obstacles and illnesses, falling in love, and sometimes even out of love because they may have found themselves with the wrong mate. It happens, and it is not a failure (to break up or divorce); in fact I imagine it is a failure not to, if one is in the wrong relationship and makes it the status quo and surrenders to unhappiness. That saddens me.
But nothing saddens me more than running into old friends who I know to be very bright who have gotten stuck in some political dogma and it is basically all they can discuss. I know they don’t mean it. I know they do not even know they are more or less in a cult. It can be “on the far left” or “far right”. They are so predictable. It is like being in a physics 101 class. You can say one thing and they say the opposite. You can agree with them, and they’ll find a way to disagree and find a monster under the bed and describe it in rapid detail because it is only seconds away from taking over America. Usually it is somehow connected to The President, some senator or congressman, a tv network, or you name it. The conspiracy is as real to them as the glass of bourbon they have just downed to fuel it and keep it alive.
I make light of it, but it is not funny at all. I have lived and worked all over this great country and I know the ending of people who are like old 45 records that get stuck because of a big scratch. They talk about it and as the years go by the conspiracies get more real (they find real researched blogs and books to back it up) and they describe it louder and louder. In Los Angeles, I was at the death bed of a man who I admired but he was like that. He told me at the end he knew he was wrong but it was “like a gang”. There was no way out. He would have become persona non gratis in his small town. He commuted to L.A. I told him he had enough open-minded friends in L.A. who didn’t care what he believed and he could be who he wanted. It was too late. He died while I was there.
It was a lesson for me; one of the most valuable lessons I would ever learn. Though I was then in my 30′s, it was time for me to get educated. I mean really educated. That meant re-evaluating everything I learned from my teachers, my parents, my Sunday school, my college, and my experiences. It did not mean they were all wrong. It meant it was important for me to write them down and study them closely. Many of the ideas of which I hung onto are ideas I formulated decades before. Did they still serve me? Some did but most didn’t. But that left “the great unknown”. If I let go of a lot of this political, religious and educational dogma that was no longer valid, but of which I identified myself and bonded me to my friends, and dropped it, what then.
I wasn’t getting any younger nor any happier. Nor were my friends. It was mandatory that I be honest with them. I was changing. They may or may not like the changes but that was their issue, not mine. It took some bravery on my part, bravery I didn’t think I had. But I had it, which led me to believe that most if not everyone has it if need be.
Nobody needs to die in their own toxic dogma. They can change midlife. The average college student is now in his/her 40′s and when I went back to college at 51, many of my colleagues were in their 60s-80s. As I got to know them, and my professors, I discovered they were going through healthy mid-life changes, as opposed to mid-life crises.
We never quit learning. If all we are doing is teaching, we might as well be dead. Socrates and Aristotle even knew that. Perhaps rethink your ideas. Many of them may work for you, but many may no longer serve you well. You can learn new things. My wife and I do almost every day.
God gave us this beautiful planet to enjoy. Yes, life can be a struggle but if all your doing is struggling, fighting, arguing, fighting, etc., I can almost guarantee you, its time to rethink your life.
Dance a bit, sing a song even if you’re alone. Do something nice for yourself and/or someone else. Smile. Be yourself. Experiment being your new self. That does not mean letting go of your moral or ethical principals. It is understanding and celebrating others opinions that might be different. It is re-learning tolerance. It is re-learning understanding. It is celebrating life. And do it often, even, no especially when you get the urge to flex your political muscles and “show them the light”. We’ll never get perfect at it. But we will make progress; and with that progress, love ourselves and others a lot more for it. It’s scary at first..no absolutely frightening….then so sacred and positive, there’s really no going back.
I am a mountain man from rural Arkansas. I founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 and it has been Google and MSN’s #1 Offbeat Cartoon since 2005. I founded numerous stores that sell over 1/4 million funny greeting cards, tees, mugs etc. I design unique shoes and clothes at shops like Shoes That Amuse that sell the world’s only famous love quotes shoes & Shoeshies.com which sell Sushi Shoes, Clothes & gifts.