Finger pointing

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There is a whole lot of finger pointing going on these days. “You did this,” or “You did that,” or “You failed to do…” is a common refrain heard across the land. It seems no one wants to be responsible for their own actions any longer. It is always someone else’s fault. It is always because of someone else’s failure. It is because of someone else’s attitude. It is because of someone else’s wealth or lack thereof.

Someone else is always to blame.

Or at least that seems to be what a majority of people believe and are trying to convince others of.

Newton’s Third Law says, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In general, Newton was actually talking about physical items. Some, however, would argue that it doesn’t really apply to “life” and shouldn’t be misused that way.

I say those people are idiots.

I would posit they are saying that because they are one of those people who don’t believe in ownership of their own actions.

How about coming at it from a different angle – Every action, inaction, attitude, reaction, has a consequence. Perhaps this would be more influential coming from someone else:

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. — Sivananda

So, how does this apply to the topic at hand?

EVERYTHING we do or say has consequences. Those consequences are in direct correlation (almost always) to how we navigate through life. Our actions in our environment, our interactions with others in our environment will always have consequences – sometimes positive and sometimes negative. There is never not a time when this isn’t true. Sure, the result might not have immediate consequence but make no mistake, there will eventually be a consequence.

I can’t help but take a look at the news and wonder how life would be different for lots of people had they made different choices in any given situation, whether a long time ago or in the immediate time and space.

Situations?

  • Law enforcement interactions: How you react in the situation will determine how they are going to react to you. Resistance, evasion, force, weapons, or suspicious activity will generate various levels of reaction. Do you always deserve the type of reaction you are going to get? Nope. But, you have to remember that your actions likely triggered the interaction in the first place. As such, your actions will also determine how the interaction progresses and ends. I can’t help but think there are a lot of situations as of late that ended terribly for lots of people (on both side of the law) because they weren’t following the law.
  • Cheating (whether in minor things or big things): You make the choice to be dishonest or to hide something from someone. You are creating a situation that will have a consequence. Will you experience that consequence right away? Maybe, maybe not.
  • Financial decisions: Spend wisely, reap positive consequences (most typically). Spend poorly, reap negative consequences (almost always). Either choice will likely result in habits that become a cycle. The cycle, as cycles go, repeats itself over and over. If you stop pointing fingers at others on why the cycle keeps perpetuating itself and change your behavior, because really no one else is to blame, then you will get different results. Thus, an action still has a reaction – just you get to decide if it is positive or negative.
  • Weight or health management: Admittedly, there are some genetics involved here, but for the most part you are still responsible for what you do or don’t put in your body. Make good choices, reap good benefits and a healthier body. Make poor choices, reap poor health and continually cascading issues. It all starts with a choice.
  • Work ethic: Your outcomes at work are directly related to how you approach work. If you are diligent, dedicated, conscientious, motivated, and energetic then you will likely have a good work experience. If you are lazy, apathetic, unmotivated, and have attitude issues then you will likely have a hard time keeping a job.

Are there exceptions to these things? Of course! Even Newton had exceptions to his 3rd law.

BUT, you can’t make a life out of pointing fingers and always blaming someone else.

You can’t be finding or relying on the exceptions for everything. If you are always looking for the exception, you probably really are looking for excuses. And those excuses? Those are the things holding you back and keeping you from making the right decisions at the right time, because you’ve trained yourself to point fingers and not take responsibility.

I’ll end with this, and I know it is cheesy, but the whole “Don’t forget if you point a finger at someone, you still have three pointed back at you.”

It’s true. Before you blame someone else for something, you better look at the choices and decisions you made along the way that got you to where you are at that moment in time.

Asking, for a friend…

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Asking for a friend. It’s a rhetorical question, really, but I still need to ask just to get it off my chest. You can provide your answers to the question in the comments, if you are so led. What would you do?

Scenario:

If you knew someone (let’s say a really good friend or even a family member) was struggling financially and you know that they had a history of making really poor decisions, what would you do when you learned they made yet another one?

Said someones are on state and federal assistance, have four kids, can’t keep up with rent or other bills, has debt collectors “knocking on the door,” and is basically using every sort of charity they can qualify for to meet needs the other sources can’t or won’t meet.

It’s tax return season and they likely will be getting a pretty substantial return based on the low income from the previous year and the number of children. There is also a pending 3rd stimulus payment coming up, so there is money coming in that could be used to do what needs to be done to get caught back up.

But, instead of using the money to do the right thing, some of the money is being used to ponder a move to another state, has been used to purchase flights to the possible state, and of course the spending for the trip will go up from there. The trip is being seen as a “vacation,” almost a scouting trip for their plans.

Advice?

They have been advised that moving is expensive (especially to a new state). They don’t have any prospects of a job at the place they would move. They have no real clue what the living expenses are like there.

They won’t listen to good counsel. Others have told them this is a terrible idea. Yet they charge forward.

So, I am asking for a friend…

What would you do? How would you address this? How would you go forward in this situation?

Bailing, again

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Why do I feel like we are constantly responsible for bailing out the adult children? Good grief, it is never ending.

“Can we borrow the car?”

“Can we live with you?”

“Can you watch the kids?”

“Can we use the house?”

“We need help…”

“The kids need…”

“Can you help us find…”

“Can we do laundry at your house?”

“Can you keep this in your big freezer?”

“The car broke down again…”

“Will you co-sign with us?”

Choices. It all has to do with choices and theirs are continually poor. Much of it stemming from the fact that they rarely think about the future. Vision for the future and putting in a little thought about consequences and what might happen if…thus, the lack of forethought constantly has them stamping out fires of their own creation and never allowing them to head in the right direction.

Once again, we are being asked about borrowing a vehicle and providing a place for them to hang out while they have appointments in town. They are the ones that chose to move over an hour out of town (“We like living in the country”). They are the ones that made poor financial choices and only have one running vehicle, which also happens to be providing the only manner of income at the moment. They are the ones that have chosen to have four children on little to no income (supposedly the last two were unplanned, but we know better…).

These adult step-children are killing me. They know they are the source of friction in my home and yet they do nothing to help. It is a constant stream of needs, wants, and demands (or at least putting us in a position where it feels like a demand, leaving us with little choice).

The problem is, when I try to mitigate the help and limit the aid, it comes back to bite me in the ass. The wrath and second guessing in the household becomes palpable. Winter inside, and outside the house.

Yeah, good times…

Here we go again…

Slaves

hotrod die cast model on board

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We’re all slaves.

Slaves to something. Whether it be an addiction or ideology or habit or whatever, there is something that controls us to some degree. It is inevitable.

Guaranteed you’re a slave to money. So am I.

We all need it to one degree or another. Some of us need it less and some of us need it more but, any way you look at it, we all still need it. We don’t live in a hunter-gatherer society any longer so we obviously live beyond just a subsistence level (those were simpler days, weren’t they?).

So, I was thinking about the fact that we are all slaves today.

Through this whole pandemic thing, I have had to keep asking myself about whom I am willing to be a slave to. I need money, that isn’t an option. Because of that, I have really been questioning which is more important, my job or the government? Essentially, I am asking which am I willing to be a slave to.

Would I rather be a slave to big business or to big government?

Some might argue that they are pretty similar, really, but let’s not get into the weeds of the debate here. Would I rather be at the mercy of big business where, for the most part, there is innovation and some freedom to decide where I want to work OR would I rather be at the mercy of an all powerful government where I have to rely on them for most everything and not question them and there is little to no innovation or freedom of choice?

Business or government? Freedom or oppression?

Now, I am a historian and I know the history. I know big business can be a lot like a government in my ways.

There is always going to be abuse, but at least with business there is always the chance for the little guy to break away and try to make it on his own. Start something new if he doesn’t like the big business or has an idea that could possibly innovate an industry.

But with a government, in most cases, I can’t just pick up and move to a different government if I don’t like it (like I can with a job). Know what I mean? In most cases I am going to be subject to the current government and there isn’t a way for me to break away and say, “Hey, I have a better idea, let’s do it this way!” Thus going about establishing a new government I see fit for me and those who agree with me.

That option doesn’t exist under a government like it does with a business.

Anyway, all this to say, have we let the government(s) go too far with this whole lockdown thing? Which response, meaning what level of government, was appropriate – federal, state, county, city? Whom has abused their powers? The powers WE gave them and that WE may possibly need to fight back to get again?

I feel like I am rambling now. I was hoping to keep this as a short, salient point, but I fear the more I explain it the more confusing it gets.

So, who or what are you willing to be a slave to?

“Emergency”

dead end road sign

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Why is someone else’s “emergency” suddenly mine?

How does someone’s repeated poor choices, bad decisions, and terrible money management become my problem?

Why am I forced to suffer the consequences of others’ stupidity?

These questions, unfortunately, will never be answered. I am just unlucky enough to have to ask them on a frequently repeated basis.

I had to buy a used car this weekend so that I could loan it to a family member for a short period of time. Because they have no transportation and desperately need to keep their job, which is needed to keep other disastrous things from happening…which might still happen anyway.

It’s something I really didn’t have much of a choice in because I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.

 

Stolen retirement?

Retired

People who aren’t relatives, but look like their retired. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This morning’s irritation doesn’t really have anything to do with me, so much as it has to relatives. Well, this isn’t really an irritation for just this morning. This is an ongoing irritation that flairs of on a regular basis, especially when I feel like someone is being taken advantage of.

I have some family members who are generous people. They like to help others.

I have some family members who make poor choices and like to ask for help when things get tough.

As you can see, this combination of two types of family members makes for some behavior enabling and as a result, I don’t think anyone in the situation wins.

The biggest problem here, as I see it, is that the family members who think they are being generous and helpful are the grandparents of said family members who can’t seem to get their adult life and behavior figured out. Sure, the grandparents are free to spend their money as they see fit. They are adults and they are still of sound mind and body (at least as far as any of us are).

However, the issue I have is the frequency with which the grandchildren take advantage of their grandparents’ generosity. Less than six months ago, one of the grandchildren got a huge chunk of money (to the tune of about $3500) so they could move their family into a different rental house, one that was really beyond their means. Now that same grandchild is in need of a more fuel efficient vehicle (rental house is too far from job) and they don’t have the money for that either…and so an offer from the grandparents is on the table again…

I just can’t help but wonder if the grandparents are being robbed of their “golden years”? They live within their means and they obviously know how to manage their money, but we are often told they live meagerly and they can’t afford this or that, or they can’t get a better car for themselves, or they don’t go to doctor because they don’t think they can afford it. It’s stuff like that. Is that really how they should be living in retirement?

As the parent (step-parent/SNL, at that), when is it appropriate to say “Enough is enough” or to “Stop” or to “Step back”? Or, do I just stay out of it and let it go…none of my business kind of thing?

 

Options, so many options

black leather padded cushion couch near to black leather padded cushion loveseat

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When faced with so many options, do you buckle under the pressure and decide not to make a decision?

I am sure you are well aware that when shopping for something there are often so many choices that it becomes difficult to make a decision. Cars. Shoes. TVs. Restaurants. You name it, there are probably more than three options. And then, to top it all off, there are probably options for the options! Say what? Now I have 209 different options to choose from but each of those options comes with another 117 other features to pick from as well? See? It can get overwhelming.

I went furniture shopping over the weekend. The living room needs new furniture. A couch and love seat to be exact. My only specification for said couches was that they had recliners in them (something the current seating does not have). The room is too small to have a single recliner, so they have to be combined into the other seats in the room.

When thinking about shopping for furniture in our little neck of the woods, there are only four places to really go for selection. Yes, there are big box stores but selection is rather limited in the store and shopping online is always an option, but don’t you wanna try something before you buy it? I can’t imagine buying something like a couch without having sat on it first.

Anyway, two of the stores are really the same store. They are in fact two different companies, but one of the store carries the same product as the other store so there really wasn’t an option that was acceptable in either of the first two stores.

Next was the La-Z-Boy store. Good grief it was recliner heaven. And a headache. Find the style you like. Then find the firmness you like. Then find the fabric you like. Then find the recliner function you like. Do you want dark? Do you want light? Do you want puffy? Do you want motorized? Do you want modern? I tell ya, my head was spinning. Oh, did I forget to mention the cost was also adjustable too? Every feature came with an additional cost or reduction based on what you chose. So, trying to decide where my butt was going to be relaxing couldn’t just flat-out be based on the sticker price.

Finally, the last store. Not a lot of options as far as couches with recliners, but the quality of the furniture is awesome. Plus, you could still have some options for the furniture that was on display so you didn’t have to take what was on the floor if you didn’t quite like it.

It was settled right then and there. The (near) perfect couch was right there in that final store. I say near perfect because, well, I am not the only buyer of said couch and there were other specifications that had to be met, mainly it couldn’t look like it belonged in a media room (there go the cup holders, leather, and arm rests…). Compromise would have to be involved here. Anyway, the near perfect couches met almost all specifications with the person that really counted and the pieces had recliners. So, mission accomplished.

Now, if I just didn’t have to compromise the USB ports for charging devices that would have been perfect…