I had a conversation with my eight year old grandson, Anders. He is the most easy going kid imaginable. He seemed to be deep in thought and I asked him what he was thinking about? “Life “ was his reply. Getting ready for some deep conversation, I asked, “What about life?” He said,”playing and stuff.” His answer so honest, simplistic but most of all positive was beyond refreshing.
I like to think. I enjoy just taking a concept and letting it rip so to speak. I do research to get my juices flowing and then try to make sense of it all. Many of you might see this as foolish or even worse the mark of a rapidly aging man. Others will just brush it aside and say you have more important things to do. I am just too busy. Good for you.
But we all think thousands of times a day. Unfortunately a lot of it is negative or stressful. Kathy and I are flying to London on Wednesday to see our son Scott and his family. Some of you might point out the possibility of a bomb or terrorism of some sort on our sojourn. Could be on the plane or in the heart of Piccadilly. Ted, did you see what happened on that flight from Barcelona? Who knows who is behind the wheel?
Parents get whacko about their kids. Will my three year old get into Harvard? How can I best prepare him or her in these formative years? I guess the only way they are going to make it to the varsity sports team is if we send them to two week summer camp and then intensive personal training when they get home. Are they pretty or handsome enough? Got to restrict their diet and maybe even a nose job. Walk home from school or the store alone? Are you nuts? Think of all the BAD things that can happen?
I know a bunch of parents who obsess about their older kids. Sure I love my offspring but it is their life to succeed or fail and it doesn’t require my worrying during every waking hour. Are they a happy couple? Do they have enough money? Do they want a bigger house? Maybe I should help them. The apron strings get longer and longer instead of shorter as time marches on. How could they ever survive on their own?
The market, our health, our retirement accounts, our legacy to pass on, occupy an inordinate amount of that oh so precious time every day. The Greek debt, easing in Europe and the impending rise of China both financially and militarily? How can you just sit there TTG, our preeminent position in the world is crumbling. This is getting depressing….and yet we do it.
We seem to obsess on things gone wrong in the past. I am reading a book on our mini depression of 2008. It wants to let Wall Street off the hook and lay blame on Barney and Bill or HUD.They might be right. Last night there was a news segment on the BP spill five years later replaying the ecological disasters. Did any of us forget about either of these events? Sure there is a ton of blame to go around and yes as in any debacle some will get away scott free but do we have to regurgitate and relive them again? It is almost like we keep replaying these disasters time and again hoping the result will turn out differently.
Sure things bother and maybe even scare me but those are emotions I can control. There are very few cases where I really can have any control over an event. What I have tried to do is concentrate and take ownership of just those things around me where I can have an effect. The nuclear pact with Iran. The price of oil. The stock markets. Do you think little old me or you can really change the course of events? Look at poverty or waste in your town or city not the 50 states. Improve your neighborhood not the whole state. Make it manageable but do it.
David Brooks has a new book out, “The Road to Character”. It’s not so much the writing of the book as his thought processes that intrigue me. He and Charlie Rose had the quintessential interview. They both fed off one another and in the end it was a big name personality laid bare. No teleprompter or script. Just a young man in the process of sorting out so many things and letting us watch. Can you imagine if this were the norm rather than the rarity? Where politicians, corporate giants, big name doctors and lawyers just let us see who they really are? Fascinating stuff.
To get into this yourself you have to take a time out. Not so easy in today’s world. Separate yourself from the day to day to just take stock and get inside you. You look at morality in your life and the world around you. You get spiritual in not so much a religious sense but more of a divorce from that which is physical.How do you really view your life and that around you? Its sheer ambiguity should keep you on the edge of your seat.
I am not Pollyanna. I would like to describe myself as a pragmatic optimist. I know what is good and bad. Right and wrong. I actually am egotistical enough to think I have solutions to many of the problems that plague us. I am sure you do too but what are the chances of you and I having any impact on immigration, farm subsidies or the deficit in the short run.
Right now I could not be in a better place. No I did not win the lottery but I have decent idea what makes my world tick. I have enough savvy to accent the positive and eliminate the negative. Not rocket science. That’s what’s on my mind. What’s on yours?
Ted the Great
The interview with David and Charlie can be found on charlierose.com. Go to the April 13th show and look under David Brooks, the 33 minute interview.
In the political arena over 30 million Americans are unhappy with the outcome every four years. They will obsess and get nuts for four years seizing every opportunity at the club,local bar and business meetings to express their ill will. How much of their precious time is wasted on talk, emails and cursing the TV. What if all that energy was put to use for something good? Just 30 minutes a day bitching comes out to 43,800 hours until the next election cycle. Okay you only do it 10 minutes per day. That’s only 14,600 hours!
Bad Feeling….hatred, resentment, bad vibes, repugnance, choler
Anxiety…angst,dread,uncertainty, the creeps, foreboding