Friday, January 6, 2012

The Wackness - Living Life Without Foresight

I was just sitting here watching "The Wackness".  Great name right?

A pot dealer was listening to those graduating. They were at a party and they were talking about how they were going on with their life and he was still going to just deal drugs. He was looking himself, at his graduating High School soon.

It got me thinking. When I was just about to graduate High School, there was no talk, among anyone that I knew, about who was going where to do what. I ended up working full time at an Insurance company that my sister had worked at before she went to work as a model, then a Flight Attendant, which she is still doing.

I had applied at a bunch of places and the one hit I really got, that worked out, was the insurance company my sister had worked at. Well, it was a first job out of High School, after all. She had said, tell them I'm your sister and you will have a good chance there. They told me later that once I mentioned my sister's name, I had a job, they were so impressed with her.

To be fair, I only failed on one thing they put me up to and the simply gave me another job. They had wanted me to resetup their warehouse. It was full of legal insurance forms. I walked around there for a couple of hours and then, sadly, went to my boss and admitted a loss of what to do with them. He was very nice about it and said that the last guy they gave the job to couldn't figure it out either. Now were they to give me that job now, I could do it in my sleep. But that has little to do with being a seventeen year old.

Getting that job was kind of my academic history all my young life. I'd hit a new grade level at school, my sister having been there several years prior, and they'd take one look at me, and you could see it in their eyes: "They're related?" they would think. Several people even mentioned it outward: "Are you really related to your sister? By blood? DNA? Etc.?" Yes. We were related. She was the pretty straight "A" student, I was the solid straight "C" student with ADD.

Point being, I did get a job. Kept it for a couple of years too, until I decided to quit and travel before going into the Air Force. Plus, my little brother was busy dying and I helped out there off and on.

But no one from High School, as I remembered it, talked about or expected to get anywhere. I had been told in fact, that at our school, we had the highest incidence of rapists, robbers, burglars, and criminals in general, in the entire city. Twice the  Puget Sound Bank across the street from our school had been robbed by one of our students. One guy, they pulled right out of gym class, his gun and the money both in his gym locker along with his civvies.

Lucky us. A banner group of students at that school. Now to be fair, there were plenty of students that didn't know that culture at school and probably went to college after that. But I didn't know any of those kids.

Anyway, watching this film pointed out to me that in this world of today, kids now talk about where they are going, what they will do, where life is leading them. In my world, when I left High School, I guess I did pretty good in the end, but then, I know now there was an upper middle class group that I suspect most of the school didn't talk to. I suspect my sister knew that group and was surely in it.

Something similar happened when I was in college. About three months before I graduated, I went into the "Career  Center". I said that I was about to graduate and wasn't sure what to do about getting a job, using my new, soon to be, four year degree. They just looked at me and said, "Why weren't you in here back in September?" I said, no one told me to, I had no idea I needed to be. And they replied that most of the kids had been searching for a job since the beginning of their Senior year in college.

News to me. My girlfriend too, who had lived with me since we started college. After graduation, we both went back to our old jobs, well, career fields anyway. She was a veterinarian technician. She had started volunteering before I met her, when she was younger. I went back to Tower Records. This was after I got out of the Air Force, after the Insurance company.

After I started college, I got a Veterans Administration check once a month to pay for my school and board. But it wasn't much so I got a part time job at Tower. Then when I moved to the University after getting a two year degree, I coasted for two years, really not needing a job. At least, needing study time more than job time. So when I graduated, they said to come back if I needed to, until I found a job more based upon my degree (Psychology).

But I never wanted a job as a Psychologist. I only had wanted to learn about people, so I could write. I immediately found that a job as a Psychologist paid the same as I got at Tower. Great, all that time, money and effort, for what? So I looked elsewhere and ended up with a job in the computer field which I eventually excelled at and have made good money at for many years now, raised a family or two and now the kids are out and I'm on my own.

But, I kind of stumbled through things. Foresight would have been awesome. But then again, I have always been pretty good at "surfing" or "dancing" through life. When a waves shifts, you have to be able to stand on that board and keep surfing; or when life shifts on you like music or a dance partner, you need to be able to keep dancing along.

That's all great and everything, but really, it's not a bad idea to learn about what is coming up. To be forewarned about what to expect next, to be prepared to jump on the next train, or answer that door when opportunity when it knocks. In a way, I didn't have that in my life. But that didn't mean that others didn't have it, or that I can't have it now.

I'm sure there are others out there who also have had this experience. Sometimes, all it takes to counteract that, is to have someone to tell you to look up, look around, go ask people. Find out, what you need next, what the next step will be in the direction you are headed. Ask those who have been there, ask them far enough ahead of time so that when it is your turn to do something, you have either already done it, or you are prepared to do it.

The wackness of life doesn't need to bring you down. Rather than it wacking the Hell out of you, you should be wacking the Hell out of it.
I had this happen in Canada once when I was 17, she said she was 13 and I politely found another new friend.

Just remember Look Before You Leap, sometimes, way before. The next time you have that thought (or no thought at all) about a big change in your life, seek professional help from therapists, career advisers, doctors, lawyers, whomever know what you will be encountering. If you are going to get married, seek counseling about it, now, beforehand. If you are thinking about divorce, same thing. If you are about to graduate college (and don't tell me you are most of the way through your final year), seek counseling. Set yourself up. Let the world know what you want and that you are ready for them.

One other thing. We should be raising our kids to look ahead, too. We should be raising our kids to believe they need to retire by fifty. It may be the only way we get this society to actually start to look at that. In case you haven't noticed, we are retiring older and older. We need to be retiring younger and younger. We need to be thinking ahead, in many different ways.

Simply consider, that any change you are going to be going through, that a year ahead of time, you have already started full speed to set yourself up for success. Yes, you may be able to dance your way through anything, if you find at the last minute, that you need to have already done this, or that. But consider how much further down the line you will be, how much richer your life will be, if you are already to go, when the time comes.

Don't seek to ride the wave. Be the wave.

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