New York. 1970. Hippies. Peace. Love. Living life based on a dream, and a no bull shit. Don’t care. Live my life attitude. The thought of it literally takes my breath away. Can you imagine? It’s difficult for me sometimes to understand how I can miss something that I’ve never experienced. I yearn to be a part of history, and the shaping of our world. Technically I suppose I am, but who wants to be a part of their nation’s demise?
Families are starving, the cost of education has skyrocketed, the rich are richer and the poor… Well.. The poor are scrambling to survive. It reminds me in a way of the movie “In Time”. Will we reach a point where people just pass in their homes, dying of starvation? It’s happened before in this country. It’s interesting to me that we are supposed to be one of the most successful and influential countries in the world yet we are slowly digging our own graves. We have become greedy for wealth and power, and now both are slipping from our grasp.
Wednesday night I sat with two lovely ladies over dinner and they rehashed for me their experiences in life. They WERE a part of the NYC movement. They lived out the 70’s in a time where camaraderie and happiness went hand in hand. A time where people were less afraid of each other, and more afraid of the authority. They told me tales of floating job to job, supporting themselves, but living to find or experience their passion. One was a musical theater dancer/ actress on Broadway, the other tried her hand at marketing before she ventured out to find herself in something new.
When I asked the second if she ever really found herself out there she replied, “For a long time I was ashamed to tell people that I wstill hadn't settled into one position. I never reached that acceptable level of success determined by society. I didn’t have a high level corporate job on the “right track”. What I found eventually was that I could measure my own success in a different way. I started measuring it based on what type of person I was. Whether or not I had done any good in the world that day or that week.”
How many people can say that they genuinely like the person that they are, or the way they portray themselves? I’m not saying that they must like the way that other people perceive them. That’s an opinion, and frankly in the words of my mother “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.” Not the most profound statement, but true none the less.
I think it’s important to have an opinion, because it means that you’re thinking. It means that you feel something. I don’t think however that you should base what you feel about yourself on what someone else thinks. Who cares if you don’t have a 6-figure corporate job in engineering or economics. You’re a pottery painter? Perfect do you love it? Great. Do you apply yourself to your craft and strive to develop it in an original way? If you can say yes, then isn’t that successful in it’s own right? You are making the most of life and THAT is what’s important.
My mother became a nurse the year I was born. It was 1989 and our economy was picking up. She said that she could remember the first time she sat down in a nursing class. The professor told them that very few of them would have what it took to graduate. The number of hours they would have to apply to studying was minimal compared to the hours they would be putting in when they actually got into the field. The medical field is an industry that never slows down. You never have time to catch up. There is always an epidemic or tragedy. Someone is always sick or hurt.
She had a career where people’s lives were literally in her hands and she loved it. She has always been a caretaker, and she was passionate about helping people.
She told me that at that time you found more often than not, most of the people in that field were there because they loved it. They wanted to be the best at it. There were a few who did it for the paycheck, but the work was so hard that they could find something easier for more money.
My grandmother just moved into a nursing home. Her Alzheimer’s has become unmanageable. My mother has been retired for many years, but still does what she can for the family when needed. She went with my grandmother to move her in, and she was horrified at what she found. The young women filling the position that she once filled were astonishing. There was lack of friendliness, lack of protocol. Often they would be late on her pain medication, and never once offered to fluff her pillows. The common courtesy that one human being offers another when they are being paid to care was out the window. My mother sat and cried because she wanted so badly to shake them and tell them “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be done. How can you care so little and be so cruel?” Of course if my mother shook someone there would be a lawsuit to support that need for instant gratification and entitlement that I have spoken of before.
It’s fine for employees to mistreat those that they care for, but if a patient complains then they’re labeled as “problematic” and overlooked.
It’s sad. How do we care so little? How is the best interest of EVERYONE not the common practice?
I'll never understand.
Remember me, I'm Tennnessee