Do You Play By The Rules?

There are moments when I want to know who thought it was ok to stick a bit in my mouth and smack me on the back like I am some sort of plow horse.

You could say I have been graced with broad shoulders, significant amounts of tenacity and determination and a will to win. You could say I will walk through hell covered in gasoline and it would be true.

That is part of what comes with the territory of being me and part of why there have been moments where I have said I live alone and apart. It is not always like that, not by a long shot.

Most of the time, the overwhelming majority of time there is no significant substance to alone and apart but it doesn’t mean that frustration doesn’t come out and bubble over.

Life is interesting and it is part of why I think of whether people play by the rules and if they should.

Thus far I have found that my way of doing things has gotten me to where I am going but it hasn’t been working as well for a while now so I have been doing my best to mix it up. Change is easy and change is hard.

But it is necessary, so I am doing it.

I don’t want to destroy all the structure in life nor am I trying to change things so that it would be fair for all because I don’t believe that can happen.

But I see possibilities and want to turn them into opportunities- that is the goal. So when you ask if I play by the rules I suppose I have to answer…sometimes.

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27 Comments

  1. Ralph October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I know a couple of those sheeple. Now I know why life is so easy.

    It must be a real challenge to teach your kids to choose the right path. Let me ask you, how hard will you steer?

    Interested in the regular podcast. If you are ever looking for a collaboration let me know. A designer talking to a writer. Oh, the possibilities.

    • Jack October 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

      Hi Ralph,

      I will keep you posted about collaborating. Are you free around 1 AM PST? πŸ˜‰ Lately that seems to be the only consistent free time on my schedule.

      It is not hard to teach the kids what to do- it is hard to do all the little things that show them we are serious.

  2. Brian D. Meeks ( October 22, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I like some rules. The speed limit is, generally, just fine for me or at least within five miles per hour. It annoys me when I’m rolling along between 55 -58 and people come screaming up from behind, angry that I’m not going faster.

    When I see them pulled over, getting a ticket, it makes me happy.

    Still, there are other rules that have been put in place, mostly by the “establishment” of the writing community. They are beaten into the students who aspire to be writers. They say, “You must NEVER use an adverb, rewrite everything a dozen times or it will suck, NEVER under any circumstance use the passive voice, or your writing will be weak and we will mock you for all eternity.”

    One can certainly overuse adverbs, but a simple, “Try not to use so many.” wouldn’t be dramatic enough. These teachers assume that their students can’t put a thought together, written well, without dozens of changes, because they can’t. It isn’t the student’s fault that their teachers aren’t talented and chose to be professors because McDonalds wouldn’t hire them with their snotty attitudes. Also, Earnest Hemingway was known to rewrite 100 times and it didn’t help him. He is a dreadful writer. Seriously, have you read “A Farewell to Arms”? It is pure rubbish.

    The passive voice, to me, has a different weight to it, a unique texture, and sometimes that is the exact stroke I’m looking to add to the canvas.

    So, no, I don’t play by the writing rules. I’m thankful that I went to school for economics and not writing. The lack of “education” in how it is supposed to be done, has helped me tremendously.

    Free Tibet (Okay, I didn’t really know what to put there. I felt like there should be some sort of anti-writing-establishment battle cry, but there isn’t, so please assume that Tibet is where these terrible professors send the bad students.)

    Nice post.

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm

      Hi Brian,

      So you are the guy who refuses to drive faster than 60- damn you, damn you I say.

      We are on the same page about writing and rules. I get tired of listening and reading to a million different things we are told not to do and the million we are told to do. There are very few that I hold to be sacred.

      That is because experience has taught me that people respond to lots of different things and you never know what it is going to resonate with one. Forgive me for being narcissistic, but I am a blogger and you know how those people are.

      Anyhoo, I receive enough traffic and comments to know that my thoughts on this matter aren’t totally misguided either which reminds me, you ought to see about Henry visiting the main character from 50 shades. Maybe he could arrest him or at least rough him up a bit.

      And those professors might very well send the students to Tibet or cleveland, but if I had to choose I’d pick Tibet- much more interesting.

  3. Vidya Sury October 22, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Sometimes, rules are comforting. Change is definitely good – because it shakes things up and lets the energy in.

    By the way, have I told you your voice is fantastic? When you publish your book, I can just imagine what your audio-book would be like. πŸ™‚ And the recording is superb.

    That said, I must say that I prefer to read the written word when it comes to blogs and books!

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Hi Vidya,

      As long as it lets positive energy in, I am good. Positive energy is what I want, that negative stuff can go hang out elsewhere.

      Thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it. Sometimes I think about trying to find out what it would take to do voice over work. I don’t know how competitive it is, but it could be fun.

      Can’t say that I would be the voice on the audio book, but I appreciate the support.

  4. Alexandra October 22, 2012 at 5:36 am

    As difficult and painful as it feels, we have to change to grow.

    And that hurts. Anything that causes us to have to change, must hurt. How could it happen otherwise? It’s hard to admit — but there it is, and I, for one, don’t like the process. But I love the fruit.

    Growth comes from that.

    xo

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      Hello Empress,

      One of the best parts of adding a few rings to the old circle of life is knowing that some changes are nothing but good. Sure, some are painful and they hurt- but it is just something we have to deal with.

      The manner and method with which we take it on plays a big role in whether it is hard or easy.

      I love your metaphor about fruit, that works for me.

  5. Betsy Cross October 22, 2012 at 3:34 am

    What did I sign up for? How much leeway is there for me to express myself as an individual within the given structure? If it becomes painful for me to participate within the structure, and I can find no other place to express and share who I am (or growing to be) I know I have to reassess why I’m there.
    The worst thing for any “organization” is to have someone there who isn’t happy but won’t leave! Instead they become passive/aggressive in their participation, affecting the group dynamics and overall mood.
    So, I tell my kids, “You signed up for it. If there’s room for negotiation, negotiate. If not, make a choice. But there’s usually no need to break rule. Just break out and go somewhere else after fulfilling your end of the agreement and amicably explaining that you’re off to greener pastures!”

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      I think it takes some time to figure out the answers to the questions you posed, but they are important. The question of how important is subjective, but that is ok.

      We take a similar tack with the kids. When they take something on they need to understand the value and importance of making a commitment. I don’t want them to think they can’t ever switch, but they need to understand it can’t happen willy-nilly.

  6. Andrea October 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    “Change is easy and change is hard.” – isn’t that the truth?

    It’s the rub of it all, it seems. It’s necessary, so we do it, sometimes. And we don’t, other times. And then what? We figure it out the best and sometimes the only way we know how. I wish you well on your journey!

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Hi Andrea,

      Yep, there are days when I miss being in school because I knew the path well and appreciated how well marked it was. The trick in my mind is to smile and enjoy the journey as best we can.

  7. a.eye October 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Change is easy and change is hard and it is necessary – so true!

    I wish you well in whatever changes you are attempting and that you will not always be someones plow horse.

  8. Jules October 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I always play by the rules – overtly. But I have passive-aggressive tendencies that rear their ugly heads when I don’t want to follow rules that make no sense to me.

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Hi Jules,

      I understand that because I have moments like that too. The rules that make no sense to me make me insane sometimes and I want to scream.

      But it comes to back to me trying to figure out why is it ok “now” for me to adjust the rules and not other times.

  9. BigLittleWolf October 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I was having a conversation about this topic with a friend, just today. Playing by the rules doesn’t work – all too often. But what do you do when so much of your “self” is wrapped up in your integrity?

    We all bend the rules on occasion, and I suppose the extent to which we do so says something about us – or possibly, the situations we find ourselves in. It does seem like we live in a world in which playing by the rules (or what I consider, being honorable) has less and less value to many.

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Hi BLW,

      I think about this often. What do I need to do to take care of my family and what am I willing to do to make it happen. For example, is it “fair” for me to try to apply pressure upon the teachers so that my children receive extra or special attention even if this might have an adverse impact upon other kids.

      Should I fight to try and get them more playing time than the other children receive? It would benefit my kids, but what would they learn from it.

      There is a growing sense of entitlement that troubles me and I say that knowing full well that sometimes I succumb to it.

  10. Shonali Burke October 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Well, don’t we all play by the rules “sometimes”? I think we do it when it’s easy for us, or we do it when we have to… otherwise we play by our own rules. Because they’re much more fun, because we made them up, and we can change them (because they’re ours).

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Hi Shonali,

      You summed it up quite nicely. Convenience is a big factor and obviously of great import to people.

      When I walk through the grocery store parking lot and see how many carts are just pushed to the side it is obvious to me people have decided they are too busy to take the carts to their “proper” location

      If the stores required payment to use the carts and then refunded that upon their return you’d see more of them put back. But when people aren’t forced to, well…

  11. Rosstwinmom October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Love your metaphors in the beginning.

    Sometimes sounds good enough to me!

  12. Gina October 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I think “sometimes” is an honest answer for just about everyone. Shed some light on the changes you may be seeing for yourself. I hope things calm down for you as much as I hope they do for me…but not for too long!

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Hi Gina,

      The rules of the blog state that if “growth” and “understanding” is to be experienced than honesty is required. So on posts like this I am careful to do that. Sometimes is exactly how it goes.

      I worry about people who say they never follow the rules or never cross any lines. It just seems off.

      Anyway, hope you took care of that sugar craving and got that workout in. A good workout makes everything look a bit more clear.

  13. Megan Broutian October 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Oooh, very good post. I’m intrigued. Very intrigued as to what changes you are making.

    • Jack October 22, 2012 at 12:27 am

      Hi Megan,

      Well, I could tell you about the changes but that would rob me of 1,983,392 blog posts so I can’t say. πŸ˜‰

      Just your basic forty something life changes going on here, nothing too special or unusual.

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