Good Sunday morning to you, folks. It's my Sunday off, so I'm enjoying relaxing today while Cowgirl Slim and her mom take care of the farm for me. It's so nice to have people I can count on to take care of things the way I want it done. So nice. Thanks ladies!
I want you to know, I almost titled today's post as, "How Many People Do I Want to Hack Off Today?" I'm aware if people only read part of it, well, I'm going to have a lot less friends on Facebook!
So, read it all the way through whether you know me personally or not. I think you may begin to understand folks better. Just thinking through this has certainly helped me see the light on some previously misunderstood issues.
So today, I want to tell you about what I've observed on the farm regarding how seriously people take life. The farm attracts a virtual microcosm of American society. Older, younger, male, female, retirees, students, working people, stay at home moms, home schoolers, public schoolers, private schoolers...you're getting the picture, right?
From these observations at the farm and among my friends and family, I've decided there must be stages of taking life seriously. No one tells you this. For me, it's still a theory in development.
My theory thus far tells me that people go in and out of how seriously they take their lives. It would be one of those things that would be nice to know from the beginning. You know, it would better prepare us to deal with people at their stage of seriousness. I, for one, wouldn't make so many missteps with folks at a certain stage. I'll get to it.
This is how I see it so far in my developing theory:
Elementary school aged kids are pretty present focused. They aren't serious about the larger issues in life. They aren't serious about anyone's political or religious views. Kids that age are happy or unhappy based on what's going on in the moment. Beyond that, they don't take life too seriously.
As kids age into teens, they get really serious about certain things in life--friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, appearance, maybe getting into college. Other things, teens don't give a rip about. They don't take too seriously how adults see them--much to the adults' disgruntlement. They aren't serious about politics yet, for the most part. And, probably only a few of them are deeply serious about issues like career, marriage, and religion.
As teens become young adults, like the college and graduated students who work for me, they start to become very serious...about everything. I don't think this is restricted to my herd of little Christians. I've seen it in many people this age.
I know in my early 20s I was desperately serious about everything. I'm told I was very "intense." I'm not even going to give you examples here, because really, those early 20s folks are serious about everything you can image. Even going out to party, very serious endeavor. Recycling. You name it. All, very serious stuff.
The next stage in "seriousness" that I see seems to be a very long phase. It seems to run from age 25-45. In this phase of life, people tend to get married, have kids, and really "buckle down." They begin to "change their perspective on life." They get deeply serious, but in a different way than the young 20s group.
I see all of these folks at the farm. All of these age groups come in for lessons or with their children for lessons. And, I see the range of behavior, too. Some, not serious about life at all up to the folks who are so serious about it all I worry that their heads might explode.
I know, you're thinking I skipped an age group. No, I didn't. I'm just separating them from the first groupings. Why? Because folks over 50, and especially over 60, don't take much seriously at all in my experience. It's a really weird transition.
This older age group, it's like they got burned out on "serious" in the 25-45 bout of it. They got so tired of making sure their kids, careers, and marriages turned out right; it just burned out their "seriousness sector" in the brain.
This is my theory because in that 25-45 time period, that is some intense seriousness about important stuff. I'm really surprised we don't see more spontaneous combustion in people in that age range. Holy moly. They are serious--meanwhile being kept company by their children who aren't serious at all. That must be maddening.
Maybe that's what happens? Maybe all that hanging with their kids who refuse to take the same things seriously, or refuse to be serious at all, mucks up their "serious sector"? Maybe that's what does it?
Maybe that's why grandparents and grandchildren are on the same team? Maybe that's why parents are so irritated with their parents when, as grandparents, they suddenly break all the rules with the grandkids?! Holy cow! I might be on to something here!
Think about it. Grandparent-age people just really don't get upset about much. Bart is forever saying, "Well, I can't do anything about it. Why worry about it?" That kind'a freaks me out sometimes. I mean, you gotta at least think about some of it, don't you?
My mother is the same way. She'll come to help out at the farm on a Saturday and steam will be coming out of my ears because an employee has royally mucked up. Mom is like, "Well, don't worry about it. Whatever. I think I'll plant daisies in the garden today." Huh? Before she retired, she would get steamed too when one of her employees royally mucked up. I saw it with my own eyes. I didn't imagine it.
Maybe my brother, Jack, broke her of it? He must have broken my dad of it, too. I'm a good bit older than Jack. I must have been off at college when it happened.
Dad was a previously very serious person. He'd blacklist people from his life if they irritated him enough. Now, "Well, maybe that governor who was screwing around on his wife...well, maybe he really just fell in love with that other woman and he didn't mean to." What?! That one almost made me scream at him. And, I've never screamed at my father.
Dad has gone from being fairly harshly judgmental of people to this kind'a stuff. Mr. Puritan has mellowed. Definitely.
So, why do I think it was Jack's fault and not mine? You mean aside from the fact Jack spent years telling me I didn't break our parents in properly? Well, I was really into pleasing my parents. I didn't want them to be unhappy. I was one of the few kids in the world who, in middle school and high school, was deeply involved in my church and seriously planning my career. I was a serious child. Maybe I was getting some of it out of the way upfront?
Jack, however, was not a serious child. He's a pretty serious adult now, but that's 'cause he's smack dab in the middle of that 25-45 stage. And, he's about to have his first child...a girl. That'll serious most men up.
But until fairly recently, the only thing Jack was serious about was rule breaking, limit pushing, and generally marching to the beat of his own drummer. I mean since he was in "footy" pajamas as a tiny little boy he was doing his own thing.
Jack was pretty much going to do as he pleased and take none of it seriously. That had to be what broke my parents! That must be what breaks most parents! That's why they are such goofy grandparents all of a sudden!
It's 20 years of intense seriousness about this kid and making his life go "right" and that little bugger doesn't get it. He's off playing in mud puddles.
"What! I just paid $400 for those orthopedic shoes to make your feet right! And, how do you repay your old dad? Well, you go play in a mud puddle in them. Do you think money grows on trees?!" Can't you just hear your own parents saying it, or worse, yourself?
That must be what shorts out the "serious sector" in the 50+ brain! The brain just can't take it anymore. That explains so much! Like when my previously dapper grandfather started wearing Hawaiian shirts, plaid pants, and sandals with socks when he retired. That's it! It's gotta be!
No wonder the grandparents enjoy seeing their grandkids ride horses so much. They aren't figuring out his grade point average and the ratio to college scholarship money on their smartphone during the lesson! That's the parents! I'm starting to see the light, here!
Now, you ask, "I thought you said you get into trouble with one particular bunch of these people?" Well, I confess, I do. I get accused of not being serious enough periodically. Actually, it comes out, "Well, you just don't understand. You don't have kids." It means the same thing.
Even though I'm still in the deeply serious 25-45 range, I don't have kids. I don't have to worry about report cards, ADHD, soccer practice, and saving for college. I elected to skip all of that.
And, folks think because I skipped that part of adulthood, that I don't get it. They must think I skipped straight to grandparent level of seriousness--rather non-seriousness. I'm imagining my friends with kids reading this saying, "Uh-huh. You got it Cowgirl Domino. You don't understand because you don't have kids. Just like we don't understand the way you live. Drinking wine and going to baseballs games in the middle of the week. Not to mention not marrying your boyfriend."
I am anticipating some angry harrumphs from my friends. I'm thinking of emails, text messages, and my phone ringing. So, hear me out people. Don't un-friend me on Facebook just yet.
Of course I don't take the same things seriously as people in this 25-45 age group. How could I? How do I take saving for college and ADHD seriously when I don't have anyone in my life for whom those are issues? I know your heads are about to explode thinking about all that. I get it. I'm not that obtuse. But, here's the kicker...
I am just as serious about things as other people in their 25-45 "deep serious stage." It's just that my head is about to explode over running a business that will determine if I retire comfortably or in a homeless shelter. I don't have a 401-K with employer matched contributions. I'm it.
I'm the be all and end all of what happens to me in the future. There's no pension program. There's no vesting schedule. I'm it and it's an all cash plan.
It's an all cash that I earn plan, too. There's no one else helping plan for my retirement. No spouse to share that burden. How's that for some head exploding stuff? Kind'a scary huh? Makes your head start to pulsate a little, doesn't it?
Wanna be more scared? There's no one morally obligated to take care of me when I'm old or sick. Nope, that's the flip side to not having kids. That's the flip side to choosing not to get married again. That's the flip slid to this "carefree" life you see me leading. This life of "no responsibility" you see me leading.
Seriously, someone who I love dearly told me that one day. "You don't have any responsibilities." I was somewhere between flipping my lid and laughing my a$$ off on that one.
You gotta be kidding me right? I'm simply, completely and totally responsible for me forever and ever, amen. No help will be arriving on the next train. It's just gonna be me.
I'm leaving off my responsibility for my employees, my animals, and my parents as they age. I don't think Jack and Mary will be coming back from their foreign country to take my parents to doctor's visits when the time comes. I don't think Jack and Mary will be loading their pill minders for them.
I don't mean it in a bad way. It's ok. Jack and Mary are happy where they are. I'm happy for them. But, I realize as our parents' age, they will become mostly my responsibility. It's ok. I was their responsibility. It's gonna be payback time one day, that's all.
Again, I'm not mentioning my animals and employees. That just makes people in the 25-45 serious stage mad. I know when not to make them mad. I know when to keep my mouth shut. In reality folks, I'm solely responsible for them, too.
In a whisper, imagine me saying to you, "Shh...don't make my friends and clients mad at me. But, if I don't deliver on the caretaking and money-making, my animals are off to the auction." I know it's not the same as auctioning off your kids, but it's pretty darn close.
How would you like to know your family dog, Fido, is going to the county pound to be euthanized if you can't buy his dog food? Well, multiply that times 16, friends. That's how many animals of mine could....well, I can't even say it...if I don't make money here.
Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. See, I'm overly serious, just like the rest of the folks in my "seriousness bracket." I'm just serious about other stuff. And, that other stuff allows me to drink wine at night and go to baseball games mid-week. My stuff doesn't have to go to bed on time and be alert at all possible moments. That's the difference.
Now, you know what that next grouping ahead of me would say? "Why worry about something you can't control? Just do your best. Don't worry about it." Or, "Oh, it'll all work out. Plant some daisies." You know what I mean.
Think of those 50+ folks in your life. Or, if you're one of them; you know what you say, don't you? You know how those 25-45s bristle at you, too, don't you?
So, I guess in all fairness, I am some combination of the 25-45s and the 50+s. I do have stuff that weighs me down and overly occupies my mind. I just don't have to go to a teacher's conference at school about it's behavior and save for college.
I get to be like the 50+s and say, "Aw, what the heck. I think I'll drink some wine tonight. Or, I'll go to a ballgame. Spot and the gang will be ok home alone."
See, that's where I'm different because I don't have kids. But, I like your kids, though. Really I do. I'm just glad they go home with you so I can live this "wild, carefree life" you think I've got going here. Oh yeah, it's wild and carefree let me tell you. Uh-huh. Yep. Life of a single cowgirl. Wild and free.
I'm laughing my a$$ off right now, because otherwise, I might blow my cool. I don't like blowing my cool. That's why I look so laid back. Teehee, a-teeheehee. Wild and free. Yeah, right! It just looks that way, I promise.
Thanks for reading. Hope you didn't take this too seriously--even if you know I'm talking about YOU. Those of you who think I mean you...well, I do love you. Really. I do. Seriously. Smile. Have a nice Sunday.
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