Birthday Reflections

He was obviously at least twenty years older than she was. He was also ignoring her as she texted away, seemingly oblivious to my stares. Why was she with him?

They got into a Mercedes. I know I shouldn’t speculate but I have known many clients, often more female than male, who are attracted to people with money or power. I have a hard time getting my head around such a desire but I know it exists and is doing quite well.

If there is any moral lesson to The Wedding Singer it’s that you should do what you love, rock that mullet, and damn the money. Corporate sellouts with feathered hair and a taste for Heineken will ultimately lose the girl to the hobo guitar player and his pure love.

It can happen. Some people love musicians. I’m fairly certain, however, and I’m not really going out on a whim here, that more people, way more, like money and all the spicy things money can buy. If you fall in love you might as well fall in love with someone who is rich, right? Musicians may vibrate my crazy bone but a lawyer with a Maserati keeps on giving. The meek may inherit the earth but the rich suffer in comfort. Money may not buy you happiness, as the comedian said, but want to know what really doesn’t buy you happiness? Poverty, poverty does not buy you happiness.

Many of us find security important. It would be, for lack of a better illustration, on the Top Three List Of Our Values. It’s easy to be idealistic and want to save the world when you are twenty and will never grow old. It’s another thing altogether when all your friends are retiring and you are a greeter at Wal-Mart… again.

I want a ski boat. I’ll never get one but it’s still nice to dream of water-skiing on Alouette Lake on a warm Sunday

Alouette lake May13-07, late afternoon

morning. It’s tempting to believe that my life would be incrementally better if I only had a boat. It’s not true, but it’s easy to that it is. It was easier to be idealistic when I was younger. I still want a ski boat.

Being true to who you are and what you want out of life can be hard. It’s tempting to wander down little side roads that promise something quick, easy, and free. It’s often difficult to continue to give when you see others benefiting so heavily from taking. Most optimists end up as realists, pessimists who aren’t very self-aware. The rich do get richer and sometimes the assholes win. Often. Other people do have it easier than you might. Some of my friends did fall accidentally into opportunities I never had. Some did worse, but they don’t support my argument so I’ll pretend they don’t exist.

So many bitter old people. So many of us who have forgotten what we loved about living, forgotten to tip our heads into the sunshine. We have taken ourselves too seriously. There has been too much trauma, too much ‘water under the bridge’. Life is routine and pain and boredom and drama, all wrapped up into a little financially strapped ball of poop.

Learning to understand why your life has meaning is perhaps the meaning of life. Making peace with your demons, putting your hurts to rest, and refusing to get old and bitter, these are the real spiritual quests before us. Amazing lives are no accident. Spending more time reading psychology and philosophy, even theology defines those who are on a quest to be more than they were. Wisdom is the goal, contentment the gift.

It’s my birthday today and I’ve decided that I don’t want to get bitter, growing older. I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life feeling sorry for myself, blaming things on others. There are still scary and challenging mountains to climb, it’s just more and more tempting to sit on the sidelines. I want to be that old guy who is so alive he cannot be ignored.

Like my dad.

23 thoughts on “Birthday Reflections

  1. Hey Scott,
    Happy Birthday! I hope it’s fab upcoming year for you.

    A comment about being poor: I have found a lot of meaning in my own life, but when your very basic need for survival is threatened, it kinda puts life on hold sometimes. I love living simply, I don’t need all the frills, not even a ski boat now (we use to have one), just the basics to live and our health. You can definitely create meaning from very little…Here’s to hoping that there isn’t a REASON for you to be bitter at all. May joy and peace follow you…

      1. you do realize what a hassle it is to have one, right?

        Ok, admittedly once out on the river….it’s totally fab. We use to take ours out, water ski (with five kids in the boat, age 8 and under), park the boat at one of the islands off the river, hang out on the beach, then spin down the river to a hamburger joint where you hook up the boat at the end the day with a great burger, a glass of wine/beer and watch the sun go down…best burgers ever, bbq’d on the spot.

        Good times, good times!

      2. Scott,

        We bought out boat on an excellent deal. Is this something that is truly not financially feasible, or are you just not quite ready yet to pull that trigger?

        If you can swing it, find a good deal, which are plenty, it might just be a great gift to yourself and you can easily justify it by all the healing you provide as a therapist, as well as a writer….just sayin…..

  2. Happy Birthday! What does this comment mean – “Most optimists end up as realists, pessimists who aren’t very self-aware.” Can you clarify what you were trying to say here? I didn’t grasp it.

  3. Happy Birthday, Scott!!! Very wise words and perspective to launch another year. And, who knows, maybe you’ll end up with that boat one day.

  4. Scott Happy Birthday!!! You might as well have been reading my mind!! That is exactly the way I feel about growing older and life in general. A friend recently said I was like her sister and could survive on “hippy love” and I thought yeah she’s right. Money was never my focus, I was generous to a fault, forgiving to a fault, and more apt to fall in love with the staring artist than the lawyer. All my girlfriends dated wealthy men, one friend worked at a bank and did credit checks on every man she dated.
    After a 30 yr marriage my dad dumped her and got involved with a woman who had been my friend, about 20 years younger than him. My mom cried for a year and then started dating, her attitude about dating was, “You can fall in love with a man with money as man without money”. and she stuck to it. She did marry a man with money and she has lived a very comfortable life the last 25 years.
    She does not understand me at all. She is concerned about what the neighbours think, has a huge social circle and spends freely, her and her husband go to Mexico for 8 weeks every year, own Island property, and take a “big” holiday every couple of year, they have seen the world. They held the mortgage on my mobile home when the economy tanked in 2008, they felt they needed to liquidate some assets and sold my mobile which left me out in the cold. Yet when they still went to Mexico for 8 weeks she said they had to go because it was a previous commitment; even sent me an email from the cruise ship saying to find a place to live by the time they got back. she felt tension between us and said she didn’t know why, aside from the selling the trailer she had done nothing wrong; she felt the two should be separate; our relationship and that because that was business……….she was right I suppose but I would never do that to my kid. But I guess that’s why some people have money and others don’t.
    One time I asked her if she ever wonders what her purpose in life is and she just stared at me.
    I worry about leaving the world better off for me being here, I don’t want to just take up space, I want to learn and grow always, I want to make a difference. All very noble but I have also lived in horrible conditions, struggled financially and had a lot of stress in my life. I have helped my son when I can and I never give more than I can afford to give and don’t expect payback, I told him I don’t mind helping and would live under a bridge with him but if he moves on and leaves me under the bridge then I would be pissed.
    Years ago my brother and son both confessed to drug addictions within months of each other, my mom could afford the best rehab in Canada at a cost of $30,000. I couldn’t afford rehab at all but was able to get my son into a free rehab eventually. My brother completed the program and OD’d 5 days later (luckily they found him and were able to save him) my son completed the program and went on to university.
    I was talking to a wealthy man one time and he was telling me about his step daughter who got cancer. He went to the doctors and said, “Fix her. I don’t care what it costs; just fix her.” His eyes were brimming with tears when he looked at me and said, “That was the only time in my life I couldn’t fix a problem with money.” She died within 6 months.
    This has gotten far to long, sorry for monopolizing your post, once again you hit on a topic I am passionate about.
    Again Happy Birthday!!!

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