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.

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.

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.