For Tomorrow

Fifty-eight Truisms and a Story

By Ken Walters

Dedicated:

To Joyce, of course, I love you

To Shelly, Ben and Rusty, I love you, too

And especially

To Heather, Matthew and Katy

To Bugsy and Mugsy, Leighton and Bentley,

To Bailey

And to any other grandchildren, or glimmers in the eye, I have yet to meet

I write this in my fifty-seventh year, soon after the birth of currently my newest grandchild.  If he goes through the stages of life that we most do, that unconditional love followed by that adolescent rebellion, he might understand this work in his maturity, while I am teetering on a cane.  Until then, this work is for anyone who chooses to read it.  Perhaps, there is a line of wisdom or two.  None of the ideas or words is particularly new–No idea or word is.

Honesty

Truism Thirty-One:  Be honest with yourself.

There is only one person who will be with you from the time you were born until you die.  You.  Get used to that person.  Do not lie to him or her—you will always know the truth, whether or not you want to believe it.  You will know when you do not understand something, no matter what you can convince others to believe.  You will know when you do understand something, no matter what others believe.  If you are sad, let yourself cry, but do not cry to appear sad when you are not.  If you are happy, let yourself enjoy it and share it.  That is one of the greatest gifts you can give both to others and to yourself.  Still, if the person you try to share refuses the offer, do not force it.  That will make you both sadder.

Despite all of this, you will fool yourself constantly.  You will believe what others tell you.  You will see the worst in yourself that really does not exist, or you will see the best in yourself that really does not exist, either.

If you are slightly above your ideal weight, as determined by others, you will see yourself as “fat,” or if you slightly scant, you will see yourself as a stick. If you are truly overweight, you may not see it at all, or truly scant, you may think yourself obese.  You will wear blinders, because you have failed to do the most obvious thing in the world.

Talk to yourself.  Have honest conversations.  Answer back.  Take account of truths within you.  Do not care too much what people think.  Whenever you are alone, talk to yourself, and do it occasionally in the company of others.  If appearances do bother you, sing instead of talk, since people don not judge self-singers as much as self-talkers.

Tasks

Truism Thirty:  Finish what you start.

I offer this truism more personally than many of the others.  As with many tasks, we have multiple purposes in our performance.  This work, whatever you want to call it, is set as truths by my perception aimed toward my descendants, along with anyone else who might want to read them.  I have a personal hope that it might inspire both people’s hearts and people’s readership of other words of mine.  Toward that final goal, I feel somewhat unsuccessful, and toward the more lofty purposes, only time will tell my success.

Over the past several days, I have found myself busied by the endeavors of living and found less time to work on these truisms.  The preceding sentence is what many people call “an excuse.”  The truth here is that my intent is lessened due to felt failure.

We begin many tasks.  Some whittle away by the doing until their purpose is truly lost and their completion left undone.  Some are accomplished due to deadlines and responsibilities others have set and we cannot falter from.  But, some are inspired by ourselves, and these often blow in the winds, remaining undone for reasons we do not fully understand.

Do not wait until you are old to set a “bucket list.”  It is more difficult at 80 to ride a bronking bull than at 20.  Find the tasks and goals you want to accomplish in your life as you go, and accomplish them fully as you go.  There is a sincerely good feeling that comes with finishing a task, be it a book you write, a painting you master, a fish you catch, or a love you keep.  Live you life as a “bucket list.”  X off your accomplishments and feel pride for them, but do not flaunt them to others.

Housekeeping

I thank all of the readers I have gained for this blog.  Many of you have blogs I am now following.  I admit I have not found the time to read them thoroughly, but the project I have placed before me was to complete this work as quickly as I could.  Toward that end, I have completed almost half of the project within the last ten days.  For now, I am scanning your blogs for ideas and inspiration.  I promise to read more completely and comment more as soon as my endeavor is complete.  Feel free to comment.  I would love to hear what you think.

If you find this blog interesting and even slightly inspirational, I request whatever publicity you might be able to offer.  Like you, I hope for greater readership.  I must also admit a degree of mercenary, hoping the blog will lead people to my Kindle books.  I speak badly of money, but in the world we are in, it is necessary for the rent.  The books are only 99 cents.

I have wanted to keep this blog intact for as long as possible, but with the number of entries and the YouTube videos I have added, it is becoming long-on-the-page.  Soon, I will be shortening the page so that some early entries will be archived.  Any new reader who reads this will, I hope, look at the complete work through the archives.

Again, I do promise to look at your blogs in greater detail soon and make honest comments.  I hope you will do the same.

Friends

Truism Twenty-Nine:  Friends are the side steps in the Dance.

You will have many types of friends in your lifetime.  Some will be from very brief exposure and can range from momentary acquaintances to business associates to neighbors.  The amount of effort you both want to place in the relationship, and for lack of a clearer definition, the similarities in your dances will determine how deeply the acquaintance becomes and how long it lasts.  Tens of thousands of these friends will pass through your lifetime.

Occasionally, closer friendships will emerge.  Be somewhat guarded about these, for a moment can be misleading.  The closeness can seem sublime, but might hide the fact the relationship is truly little different from the first variety.  If your life separates you from these friends, the living you both do elsewhere will erode most of the initial feelings.  You may not realize this at first.  You may think the friendship will endure any separation.  But, it will not.  Eventually, the friendship will become a memory you while away a Sunday afternoon with years later.

Also, beware friends that are unrequited, whether by you or the other person.  Despite the momentary nature of brief friends, again, the moment can be misleading.  The angst the moment reveals to the damaged one can be particularly painful in unrequited friendships.

Trauma, much like the moment, can enrich a friendship, while being misleading about itself.  Whether it be war or the end of a marital relationship, not so dissimilar, the spark of a friendship might ignite into a fire you think will last a lifetime.  But, little more than kindling is truly present and the fire will likely die out quickly.  If you suffer from a trauma, be careful of where you turn and uncertain about what you feel.

If you are lucky enough to create long-lasting friendships, be proud.  They are rare.  They are more like family than friends.  You may think many relationships are like this.  They are not.  You and your friend are lucky.

Family

Truism Twenty-Eight:  Your ghosts will haunt you.

Likely, you will have three kinds of family in your lifetime, rather like Dickens’ three ghosts.

Your historic family is your ghost from days past.  That family you were born into knows who you were the best, though they often do not know who you have become.  Like a candle burning but at an instant can be extinguished, your birth family will not be with you always.  Your parents and grandparents will probably die before you and before you realize all of the questions you have of them.  Your siblings will carry off their knowledge they have of you to the people they become.  Your imprint upon them will be as lasting as theirs on you.  Unlike the friends you will choose for your dance, your family is determined by the melody of the universe.  They will be imperfect, just as you are.

Probably, you will marry, although with the shrinking number of people who choose this lifestyle, the odds are less than they used to be.  That commitment you make with another will carry the weight of that person’s family.  Your in-laws may greet you magnanimously with the heartiness of Dickens’ middle ghost.  But, the family will hide part of their truth beneath their robe.  Or, they may be more spare in their acceptance of you.  Either generous or spare, it will be up to you to get to know them.  As you do, you will gain knowledge of the person you have chosen to be with for a lifetime.

Your final family will issue from you in some way.  Having them will tell you something of your fate.  You will die.  Whatever afterlife there may or may not be, one afterlife is assured.  The thing that is you will make the people your children will become, just as your historic family created you.  Bring them up wisely.  Make sure they are ready for what life has to offer them.  They may hate you for the moment when you lay your guiding hand upon them.  Try to guide them well so they do not hate you later.  Later, what they become is what you are.

Book of Love

The Book of Love

Peter Gabriel

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing
But I
I love it when you read to me
And you
You can read me anything
The book of love has music in it
In fact that’s where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb
But I
I love it when you sing to me
And you
You can sing me anything
The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we’re all too young to know
But I
I love it when you give me things
And you
You ought to give me wedding rings
And I
I love it when you give me things
And you
You ought to give me wedding rings
And I
I love it when you give me things
And you
You ought to give me wedding rings
You ought to give me wedding rings

by Peter Gabriel

Marriage

Truism Twenty-Seven:  Marriage is a good thing.

Marriage

I am a proponent of marriage.  I think it is a good thing.  Marriage is the most basic form of society, the formation of a union, using the committed strength of both parties to protect itself as a unit.  Two are stronger than one.

Back when people had the idea that more than one is stronger than one and societies were born, they mucked up the idea. To develop society, they developed them based upon control.  After all, all relationships are built on the idea of control.  When they designed society, they built it upon controlling one another.  Laws, trade and rituals told the individual what not to do, or else punishment would be administered.  It did not instill an attitude of working together.

As the basic form of society, marriage is doomed to failure if it controls individuals negatively.  The two will constantly be at odds.  Marriage, and for that matter society, can work best if it controls them positively and on togetherness.

Marriage in hard times tends to work better than when things are easy.  The partners work together against a common adversary and the partners worked together.  When survival became easier, marriage began to fail.  The partners had nothing to work for, so they against each other and for the individual.

Marriage, and society, can succeed in easier times if the partners work for the relationship, itself.  The commitment of marriage rather than co-habitation means you have decided to build, rather than separate easily.  The ease of divorce destroys the commitment, too.  Before you marry, you need to be sure of your willingness for the commitment, and you need to fulfill the vows you make.

Sex

Truism Twenty-Six:  Sex is not magic.

Sex is a hallmark in the process of maturing, so is pimples, voice pitch and hair at your armpits.  Sex has a bit more mystique associated to it.  Sex also elicits a euphoric sensation, so does tasting certain spices, smelling certain aromas and hearing certain vibrations.  By the way, intense fear also tantalizes the nervous system.

The flying monkeys from the movie The Wizard of Oz were intensely frightening.  By the 1960s they were consider corny.  Alfred Hitchcock movies like Psycho and The Birds were intensely frightening in the 1960s.  By the 1970s, scenes in Hitchcock movies were considered corny.  Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead made graphic the scenes Hitchcock alluded to.  Soon these movies were corny as graphics de-synthesized viewers to the very scenes they promoted.

Several periods in several cultures attributed sex as a naughty thing.  Just as the movie vision of fear presses us farther and farther into not understanding fear, recreational sex has moved us from understanding intimacy.  The act of sex has only the mystique we place on it.  It, quite frankly, is just another endeavor the body is capable of performing.  Sex is not a big deal–intimacy is.  The intimacy between two partners in a monogamist relationship demonstrates both persons willingness to reveal themselves completely.  Having sex frequently with whomever is nearby de-synthesizes us to its real joys—not the incidental physical sensation, but rather the emotional connection.

Jerk

Truism Twenty-Five:  Don’t be a jerk.

First, I need to say:  There may not be as many jerks in the US, maybe elsewhere, as I think there are, and it is true that past times always seem better than they really were.  There seems to be a growing mindset that the self is far more important than anyone else that might stand in a person’s way and that if a person wants something, or does want something, everyone else should get out of the way while the person takes it or throws it away.

You are not more important than me, and I am not more important than anyone.

You have the ability to lose your jerkiness.  Think of others.  Think of consequences.  Think of the growing number of jerks in this world who don’t give rat’s ass about you.  Don’t throw the F-bomb in every sentence.  Don’t shoot the bird.  Don’t cut people off on the interstate or in parking lots or in line at the subway.

While you have the ability to change your jerkiness, you are not the cause entirely.  You should have learned discipline from your families.  They should not have taught you better.  They should not have yelled curse words at you when you did something wrong.  They should have taken something away that you wanted, and when you sulked about it, they should have put you in time-outs.  They should have reinforced good behavior.  They should have commended you, complimented you and validated you.  It should not have been OK to leave food on your plate at dinner, instead of giving you a snack to shut you up two hours later.  You should not have been allowed to use the Internet until your chores were done, and you should have had chores to do.  It should have been fun to play outside, more fun than on video games, and your parents should have been out there playing with you instead of griping about how much work they have to do.

Again, you do not have to be a jerk, but if you are one, drop it.  All of the other jerks will have you for dinner, though I doubt if they clean their plates.

Procrastination

Truism Twenty-four:  Don’t put off until tomorrow…

I was going to write this truism earlier, but I kept putting it off.  We procrastinate for many reasons, but usually, I think, it is because having a task we have to do forces a control on us, and we resist control.  If someone told you to eat some chocolate cake, very likely you would resist it.  You are going to procrastinate sometimes, so be prepared for the consequences.  Choose what you put off wisely—which by my comment above means you will resist it.  OK try this—procrastinate all the time.

When dealing with real deadlines, account for what will happen if you fail to meet them.  If it’s a mere slap across the wrist, you might take your chances.  If you delay filing your income takes, you might go to jail.

When dealing with the work you do, develop a strong work ethic, so it is really rude to put off and make others do your work.  If you want to be a jerk, no one will like you and you might get fired.  If that’s OK with you, go for it.

When dealing with your own personal deadlines, you have the most leeway and the greatest of not setting the deadline in the first place.  You may have meant to set it, but put the decision off.

Consequences

Truism Twenty-Three:  Watch for the backlash.

Every action has a reaction, but unlike Newton’s law of motion, the reaction in life is seldom equal.  Foolhardiness is the action of fool, and they have to be hardy to withstand the backlash.  If you are texting while walking, you may fall in a manhole.  I hope you don’t get hurt, but you deserve the falling.  Texting while you’re driving, is just plain stupid.  You do not deserve the results, and neither does the person you hit.  You do deserve the jail time.  If you perform a good deed for a stranger, you deserve that moment of joy.  When you begin living with the recognition of consequences, you can truly succeed even if fickle money unluckily escapes you.  You can avoided bruises.  And, you can win at chess.

Risks sometimes have to be taken, and sometimes the real consequence might not be predictable.  If you run into the burning building to save a child, it can be the most joyful moment of your life.  You both also might die.  Decide well before you try.  It is probably not wise to run in to save a cherished cat.  You decide.

Consequences are the main provider to teach.  Falling in the pothole should teach you not to walk and text.  But, do your best to think ahead.

Do it or die

Don’t let your troubles make you cry
Don’t waste a moment wondering why
When everything goes wrong
You have to go on
And do it or die
Do it or die now
Stand your ground

Don’t let your bad breaks go gettin’ you down
Even when times get rough
And you’ve had enough
You still gotta try
Do it no matter what the people say
They don’t even know you

Die before you let them stand in your way (Don’t you know that)
You should know that life is a gamble all along
Winners or losers you keep rollin’ on
So go on and roll the dice
You only live twice
So do it or die

1979  Writers: J. Cobb, Buddie Buie, Ronnie Hammond

Polydor Records

Failure

Truism Twenty-Two:  Failing sucks.

Failure and the feelings it evokes are probably the most common state of being for people.  Of course, we succeed, and we do it often, from the first time we sit up in the crib until get up the nerve to start a relationship, but we will topple over dozens of times and most relationships will be momentary acquaintances we soon forget.  When we succeed we move on to conquer more—we sit, we stand, we walk—we build friends.  We do not sit on our hands, dwelling about our successes.  Maybe, we should.

But, we all dwell about our failures.  We are far more apt to think about our failures, to hope for validation that usually never comes, to bang our heads against the wall.  Advice we usually get after failing tells us not to dwell, to get over it, to count our blessings.  These acts seldom work.  We are not in the mood for it.  The reason people do not know how to help us with our failures because they do not know how to help themselves with theirs.

What they should do and what we should do is pretty simple, really.  When you have failed at something, you are in a bad mood, obviously.  Use it.  Think about that ugly mole on your left thigh, or wherever.  Think about your awkward, side-ways smile.  Think about other failures you have had.  Realize you cannot do anything about those things.  Think about the quantity of things on your list.  Make fun of yourself for things that are not faults at all.  Laugh at yourself for how silly you are being.  Laugh more.  Look at faults on other people.  Laugh at them, too.  Humor is the best stress reliever you have.  The failure you have just made is not that big in the whole expanse of the universe.  You do not need to move on—existence moves you on naturally.  You just have to survive the moment.

Education

Truism Twenty-One:  Education is the fore step

It is entirely possible that learning might bore you.  We begin learning from birth, if not before.  By ages one, two and three, we have learned the word “Why” and apply it to everything.  We have so much we want to learn and so many other needs, our attention spans are not terribly long.  So, if our parents try to actually answer our “Why,” we lose interest for that moment.  At best, the schools we attend try to teach answers, but it is difficult sometimes, and they want us to remember things that are not immediately gratifying.  Teachers start assigning ridiculous grades to us for quantifying purposes.  We become fearful of grades, which act like negative reinforcement against our early curiosity.  People who want to sell things to us, and to our parents, recognize our short attention spans and need for immediate gratification.  They use these tools to train us into buyers.  By our teens, it is a wonder if we want to learn a thing, at all.

Stuff is amazing, whether it is history that tells us who we were and what we are, science and math that explains all of those “Whys” we had as toddlers, language that gives us our voice to add our lyrics to the melody of the universe.  Education is the fore step in life’s dance.  Letting yourself be destroyed by the people that did not handle our natural “Whys” well can sentence you into thinking moving forward is boring.  No dance consists only of back peddling.  No wonder many of us get stuck in the temptation of the back step, vice.

Vices

Truism Twenty:  Vices are the back step.

A vice can mean many things, but here it is meant to refer to those nasty habits we all have and already know are nasty habits.

First, beware drugs.  They can eliminate your capacity of knowing their danger, while being among the most dangerous things you can do.  Second, beware decadence.  It has much the same effects as drugs, as a segment of society will deny its danger, while leading you to a lifestyle you never imagined.  Third, beware extremism.  While washing your hands, collecting mementoes and having personal rituals are certainly not bad things, an overriding fear of infection, hoarding and absolute belief in superstitions can be harmful if they effect your everyday life.

All of us practice vices.  Some of us talk too much, criticize too much or apologize too often.  Vices are the back steps in our dance.  How we deal with managing the back step and overcoming the back step to move forward builds our personalities and develops our strength against more malicious vices.

By definition, vices are bad things, things we should avoid, rather than a term to excuse behavior we know is bad.  Recognize your vices.  Never fool yourself.

The Body

Truism Nineteen:  Appreciate your body.

The brain is an extraordinary thing, as I have expressed before and will again.  Next to the brain and encompassing it, the body rivals the brain’s marvel.

Live in a health-conscious lifestyle and the body, despite any faults it may have, will serve you for any endeavor you may pursue.  Unfortunately, it also means you may never taste lasagna, fudge and bacon.

Live in an unbridled lifestyle and the body, despite any natural strength it may have, may falter in a dozen vital organs.  You may live half as long, but you might enjoy the time twice as much.

Some researcher somewhere will eventually discover a major problem with everything we enjoy, from the egg to the chicken.  Just as a prosecutor examines supportive experts, a defense attorney can find equally expert witnesses countering a claim.  The bad cholesterol of the egg may clog your arteries.  The nutrients of an egg may be beneficial for the eyes.  Truth be told, moderation is the key for the body and most other aspects of life.  Exercise may save your life or may contribute to heat-exhaustion.

Remember the following about your body:  Protect your teeth—you will miss them if you do not; Protect your joints—they will torment you if you do not.

Omega Factor

Truism Eighteen:  Beware the Omega Factor.

There is a power in the universe called the Omega Factor.  Little, if anything, is known about its origin.  It exists rather like bubbles of varying size.  Frequently the Earth’s orbit takes in thousands of the OFs.  Some withstand gravity only a few minutes, while other tarry for days or weeks.  Inside an OF, everything skews, random people begin acting bizarrely, making little sense, and with one acting in such a manner, others are prone to join, dominoes.  Occasionally, an OFs can be dangerous, but usually they simply mystify.

To my real knowledge, Omega Factors do not exist, but they, as well as anything, explain why the world, either in its entirety or just the world about you, seems to go crazy at times. I wish I had advice on how to handle the dangerous times, hurricanes, earthquakes, divorce.  The benign times, though, when people make the least sense, like people around the cartoon Ziggy, are there for your enjoyment, as far as I can tell.

Please call me if you every figure out what causes OFs.

The Gift

Truism Seventeen:  The Gift is you.

It is difficult to understand completely in this commercialized, money-oriented, materialistic world that we have created that the greatest gift is you.

A couple of confessions:

First, when I was young, I’m not sure exactly why, I wanted to leave the smallest footprint possible on this Earth, wanted to affect the fewest people that I could, so that my end would hurt the fewest number of people possible.  I thought I was giving them a gift and causing the least about of grief.

Second:  When I was young, I felt I was a disappointment to my father.  I was the child of his middle-age, born when he was 54.  He retired when I was ten.  He wanted to share good times with me, hunting, fishing, gardening, things he found important.  None of these things were important to me.  I was that geeky-type and preferred to spend time alone.  I am still not certain if I was a disappointment or not.

I direct the following to those I have dedicated this work to; maybe it will strike a chord with more of you.

You are not a disappointment to me.  Your existence is, just as my existence is, the most extraordinary gift you or I can imagine.