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The Double Nickel

March 2, 2014

I celebrated (or mourned) turning fifty-five just over a week ago, a mirror-digit birthday (11/22/33/44).  At most, you only get nine of those and reaching ninety-nine is a long shot — hell, for me, seventy-seven is a long shot; the adage “you see old folks, fat folks, but not many old, fat folks” comes to mind.  So I’ve decided a mirror-digit birthday, like those ages that end in zero, is a milestone event.  I think most of us tend to reflect a bit on any birthday, but on a milestone birthday we reflect more than normal.  When you reflect and come away somewhat depressed, perhaps you should figure out why.

If you live in a developed country, have a reasonably decent job, a place to live, good health care, food to eat, a family that cares about you, a bit of spare money to spend or put aside . . . well, basically if you reflect on that and come away depressed a lot of folks across the big dirt marble would suggest you might want to stop grousing. I get that, I really do. When doing the plus/minus column additions, my life adds up significantly on the plus side. But the guy or gal that spends hundreds and hundreds of hours over many years practicing, sweating, crying, falling, getting up, and doing all over again didn’t do all that to walk away with the bronze. I’ve a good life, I know, but would like it to be better.  It’s not the end of the world if I continue down this line, and I can wrap this experience up and go on to whatever comes next without significant regret. But . . . .

The principle problem I have is simple: I’m a control freak.  I enjoy flying an airplane, though I’ve not used my private pilot privileges in several years — but I hate commercial flying, because I don’t want to put my life in the hands of the guys or gals at the controls.  I don’t do that driving except in rare situations. At work, if there’s a lunch outing, I take my car and invite anyone else to be a passenger — but I’ll ride alone rather than ride with anyone else. I want, heck, need to be in control. And so much of my life depends on the whims of others, it bothers me. Scares me.

For all of us, decisions are made routinely that can significantly impact our lives, yet for many of those decisions we have no input and often no way to impact the decision being made. And there are a lot of folks making decisions who have no concern how the outcome affects others and, worse, clearly do not have the acumen to be in a position to make such decisions. I’ve no control over such decisions, and as mentioned I’m a control freak. See, the gold medal for me isn’t a large stack of gold, but to minimize the ability of others to negatively impact my life.  I don’t need fame or fortune, but will admit more fortune surely would lower the impact-ability of others.  I don’t need a million dollar house, luxury car, or private jet (though I’ll take all, if offered with no strings, feel free to test that theory), but you do have to have a coin or two socked away to be able to have the control of which I write.

The holy grail many of us are looking for is simple: minimize the ability of others to negatively impact our, and our family’s, lives. Some folks move in that direction by adjusting how they live their lives to become less dependent on others, which lessens the ability for others to negatively impact them. Face it, if your lifestyle requires a $200,000/year salary your options are much more limited than if you require a $20,000/year salary.  Some find ways to add or increase an independent income stream.  Some combine both methods. You’ll often hear it referred to as “a simpler life.”  But it’s target, in my mind, is to approach the goal of minimizing the ability of others to negatively impact our lives.

I think that goal is reasonable, unselfish, and worth attaining. I’m certainly not there even after 20,095 days of life, and that’s what leaves me feeling somewhat depressed. Now that I’ve determined why I was down, though, I feel better. Figuring out how to move closer to the goal, well that can be problematic. I do have some ideas, so we’ll see.

From → Ramblings

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