Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The New and Okay You

     Fair warning, I have been drinking.  But we are going to do this anyway.

     We all know the basic questions of journalism, right Company?  Go ahead and shout them out with me: Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How.  I am not sure why we always seem to put them into this order, I am sure that it has to do with the order you need to answer them if you are one of the three or four newspaper journalists still left employed out there, but it makes me violently angry the way we order the questions.  I get why "how" is on its own; it is the only one that doesn't start with a "W."  But the others we could at least do alphabetically.
     That still isn't right, though.  It definitely satisfies the OCD part of me, but it still isn't right.  The one which stands alone should be "Why."  Because even though all of those questions are basic fact finding questions, ":why" is the only one that we really struggle to answer on a regular basis.  All those other questions were solved by CSI:Miami a long time ago, but "why" gets so much more complicated because we can't always figure out the answer.  And that sort of unknown frustrates us as human people.
     One of the major reasons why we cannot always figure out the "why" is because it so often features a human element, and we can't always access that human element.  Guy walks into a gas station and lights it on fire then takes his own life.  We may never know why, unless he saw it fit to tell us.  We can guess, we can get a pretty good idea, but we might never know the exact thoughts and reasons that went into the actions which followed.  That makes us uncomfortable.
     Even more difficult to figure out is when the "why" is left up to fate.  That is the worst.  Because we are people, and we can sort of get a handle on people.  We can put ourselves in anyone's situation and let our imagination take control and we can get it.  But fate?  We can't ever figure that out.  There is no rhyme or reason when fate gets involved, and that scares up, because nobody on any CBS procedural (I am looking at you here now Criminal Minds) can even begin to figure out what fate is going to do.  Things that we don't understand create religion.  Back in the days of yore it was things like the Moon or the weather.  But once all those scientists with their lab coats and telescopes and weather vanes got a handle on the Moon going around the Earth and warm air rising, a lot of that went away.  Fate, however, still remained.  So we still have religion, to answer the questions about why things happen that we just don't understand.
     Somewhere along the way, a bunch of people figured out that there was an alternative to religion when dealing with fate: acceptance, which really isn't a fair description because what I really mean is acceptance without blame.  Religion is accepting fate but needing some entity to pin things on.  But a lot of people have just embraced that most frustrating of sayings "It is what it is."  It is acceptance without blame.
    And we accept a lot of things.  These things magnify as we get older, because we realize that through a million twists and turns and decisions that we never in our wildest dreams thought we would have to make, the plan we laid out or the dreams we had are gone.  And we don't always have a reason why.  Maybe you wanted to be an astronaut but now you are a rising star at an insurance agency, pun intended.  Or you wanted to be a sea captain and now you are a mid level government official.  Or for a select few of us maybe you wanted to be a short order cook but ended up being a marine biologist.
     The point here, Company, though all of the Scotch and whiskey and barely coherent sentence structure is that acceptance is key.  Whether there is blame involved or not, acceptance is where it is at.  So many people just can't do that.  But it really does make make a difference in your happiness and your well being.  Because sometimes the point will come where it is your birthday and you are staring at yourself in the bathroom mirror with your hair clippers in your hand, and you are buzzing your head and you notice the gray hairs around the edges and the disturbing lack of hair on the top and as the long hairs from around the skullet fall into the trash can you come to the realization that all of that stuff from the past is going with it.  Suddenly, as the hair falls away so does all of that other stuff you though you'd have: the architecture career, the kids, the wife, the beach house, and you are left with what you are.  What you see in the mirror.  Be okay with it.  Please be okay with it, and don't obsess yourself with the "why."  Because even though all that stuff might be gone, whatever it is you are or have become, it is okay.  You are good and you can sleep at night.
     You know, unless you are a piece of shit or something.

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