A Guilty Conscience

One of the things I do with this blog is let the softer side of the curmudgeon out. I air out the darker and danker places within my skull because it is good to get some fresh air in there. I am one of those people who holds onto things, both good and bad.

There are things that have happened to me that I can pull up as if they happened yesterday and yet I sometimes have to remind myself that they were many years ago. I happen to believe that some of that energy is positive because I am able to call upon the good alongside the bad. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that some of the less pleasant events have been like nagging injuries that do not want to go away.

I think that some of this can be attributed to being a passionate person, to sometimes feeling emotion so strongly I can taste it. As I have aged I have learned how to make it all work for me, but there have been some rough spots along the road. There have been places I look back at and shake my head.

I shake my head because I have the advantage of hindsight to see how I acted poorly. I have the chance to look back and say that I was an ass, a schmuck and at times a prick. The reality is that there are people who look at me or think of me as being an asshole. And some of them are justified in their view. Some of them were treated shabbily and I didn’t have the maturity, the grace or the wisdom to act differently.

The moments that bother me the most are those in which I knew exactly what I was doing. I wasn’t reacting. I wasn’t just responding. I was acting. Sometimes I was able to reel myself in and other times I let go of the reins and the gave the horses their head.

So one of the things that I work on is letting go of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t carry it around and live through it, most of the time.

I don’t much like admitting any of this. I don’t like exposing the cuts and wounds, but who does. What I know from experience is that when I do open up a bit I allow myself to heal and I find that I become stronger.

There are still a few readers here who have followed me from message boards or other places on the net. Some of you are nursing grudges because I can be aggressive in making a point. Some of you still like to leave comments that are supposed to sting and hurt. I accept that, it comes with the package.

Something else that comes with the package is knowing that I choose whether I let those things bother me. I determine whether these remarks have power, strength and validity. It is rare that any of them do. I have no harsher critic than myself.

But the thing that bothers me more than any of this is the knowledge that my son has taken on my ability to hold onto the past. I see how the little things sometimes stick with and bother him. I see how it pains him and that hurts me,

I am trying to teach him how to let go. I am trying to give him the benefit of my experience, to distill a little fatherly wisdom and to accept that he has to go through some rougher patches so that he can grow. But it is hard, so much harder than I ever expected it to be.

If you don’t have children you cannot imagine the things that they do to and for you. You cannot conceive of the depth of love that you can feel or the fear that can strike you when things go wrong.

I don’t think that I am any better or different from any other parent, but the truth is that my first allegiance is to my children so the question is not so much what I think but what I do. So each day I work hard and hope and pray that I help to make my son and daughter into people of character and integrity. The kind that others respect and look to for friendship.

In the end I know a few things courtesy of my parents and grandparents.

You can’t screw an old head on young shoulders.

You can’t turn a nag into a thoroughbred.

And most importantly there is no such thing as giving 110% there is the knowledge that you did the best that you could, even if it is not always good enough.

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