“Here’s to When I Gave a Feck”
“Look, Garrett, I’m closer to the end than to the beginning. So, some of this stuff, I just don’t have it in me to care anymore…It’s the rest of it, the posturing, the little digs, the wasting my time….” ~ Police Commissioner Frank Reagan; from the TV show Blue Bloods, Season 6, Episode 9, “Hold Outs.”
I can relate. I often say, “I don’t care.” But I do; in an odd, almost cavalier way. Normally, when I think I can help someone or fix something, I give my time and effort to the issue. I now care less about many of the things that were high on my list when I worked at my paying job. I haven’t lost my motivation; I now own it.
Opinions others have of me have lost much of their importance. Nowadays, I care more about issues that were of little interest during my past. Conversely, my “that’s bull shit” list is longer than ever. I worked, if you can call it that, for about 50 years. Now retired, my perspective on what’s important is changed.
Since age 18, excluding my time as an undergrad, I had one six-month period of unemployment. Even then, I treated my job search and being Mr. Mom, as two jobs. I enjoyed them both. The pay was horrendous, but the benefits were good.
I learned about myself during that time, simply by being me. That was the early 90s, the decade that I like to call my figure it out for myself years. Looking back, I now recognize that I was depressed and confused. I worried about things like money, a job, and my kids. I was more overwhelmed than I like to admit. I paid my dues. But now?
I wear blue jeans, shorts, or sweat pants. It’s like every day is casual Friday, but it’s really another Saturday. I’ve not worn khakis more than twice in 18 months. I haven’t worn a tie, suit, or sports jacket either.
I care about style, as long as it’s casual. While I still think wearing argyle socks with sandals is a sin for which any man should burn for eternity, there’s something to be said for not caring what others (like me) think, even in the choice of clothing styles. I toy with the idea of wearing a kilt cuz wife says I have great legs. Some opinions will always count.
It shouldn’t matter what most other people think. I’ve read that what they think of me is not my business. But it often does matter. If I ask you what you think, feel, or believe, you should want me to care about your answer. If I do, it’s fair enough.
If I like your idea, I may accept it, implement it, or otherwise go with it. When someone says, “You should do a blog on that,” it gets my attention. I often write with inspiration like that from someone else.
I’m a grandparent. A parent called to complain about a grandchild. I listened, but said nothing. I allowed my child to rant and get it out. My wife wasn’t home, so I was on my own for the call and the associated drama. These are my monkeys in my family circus, after all.
Then I hear, “You haven’t said anything, Dad. What do you think?”
I take a deep breath and wonder if I should respond (the answer here is no).
Raising my kids, I made the same mistakes. But now, I have a different perspective. I answer with a quetion, “Are you sure you want to know?”
My ranting offspring responds, “Yes.” The tension builds. While I knew that this wouldn’t end well that day, I also knew it would eventually pass, and it did. I blurted out my answer as the Frank Reagan of my family.
“It doesn’t matter. What you’re so upset about is no big deal. There are more important issues in your child’s life. This is minor and kind of expected. As children, we’ve all had problems like this. We get over it and so will he. Allow him the dignity of experiencing and learning about life on life’s terms, not your conditions. I suggest you calm down and wait.”
Blue Bloods writers would handle this scene at the family dinner table with everyone drinking wine.
I’m a here and now kind of guy. While I firmly believe in living in the present, I acknowledge that each life has a future and that’s the direction we live it. Today’s crisis is tomorrow’s funny dinner chat or neighborhood gossip.
Life goes on, and everyone should enjoy every possible breathtaking minute. What other people think is probably unimportant, and may be dangerous. So learning when to have had enough, to be tired of the BS, and to move on; to no longer give a shit, is good.
“But Mikey’s father, champion of all pint drinkers, is like my uncle Pa Keating, he doesn’t give a fiddler’s fart what the world says and that’s the way I’d like to be myself” ~ From Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt
So, care as you must. Live in your world and in your time. Figure out what’s important to you and to people close to you. Make choices, change your mind, look back and look forward. That makes perfect sense to me, I hope it does to you, too.
Meh takes a big swig of the foamy grog and grunts, “I don’t give a feck.”
Live life forward, understand it backwards,
mind the gap, and look both ways.