To be warned, this post has nothing to do with athletic performance enhancement, corrective exercise or really anything professional other than perhaps personal development. After being on the road for another Saint Patrick’s Day and being one of the only person out at a restaurant for the rare St.Patrick’s Day throw down who was not drinking I turned to thinking. Now I am sitting in Tampa International Airport and what started out as another post on recovery from athletic performance I have shifted gears.
Now if you are Irish or have seen Good Will Hunting or Hall Pass you know what the Irish Curse is.
I am not talking about that. this is more along the lines of infamous Irish Guilt. This is about being tied to a station in life. A peasant will always think like a peasant, a merchant will always think like a merchant a noble will always think like a noble and so on. That being said we always want the next version of ourselves to be more have more and do more than we have. That is typically what we want for our children. The problem is that our kids are stuck with the wiring that we give them early on unless they learn to program themselves. As a kid my life was pretty average, in a good way.
In elementary school I thought that average was “good”. You wanted to be average height, average weight, live in an average house like everyone else. I didn’t want to be excluded. Even when they explained the grading system in school a “C” was average. Not bad right? Did I need to be above average? Maybe it was my background, which as a kid is more about your parents background. They were pretty happy to be average.The strived to be average. They were not poor, but things were tight for them. My father has an older brother and younger sister and his mother (my Nana) raised them on her own most of their lives. Nana worked full time for the city government to provide a roof over her family’s head and food on the table. They used food stamps when they needed and lived in the “projects”, but coming from Ireland to find greener pastures, this what America was about. Opportunity to provide a better life for her family. Unfortunately her husband was not much help in that department and luckily Nana took the kids and moved away after an abusive situation became untenable. In Ireland would a single mother of three been able to legally provide for her family and retire with a pension? I don’t think so. A place to sleep with heat? Regular meals? Average was a goal! My Dad and his siblings took that with them and wanted to provide for their families. The American Dream. A steady job, with benefits a pension and two weeks off every year. Never mind access to lines of credit that allowed them to live beyond their means, I mean this is the stuff.
My dad was lucky/smart/fortunate/unlucky enough to get a job with the US Government http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Postal_Service right after he married my mother. He was looking for a way to provide for his fledgling family like his mother did for him. You may not like your job, but it if provides a steady paycheck and a pension, what could be better? Now I can tell you after a career of doing something that you don’t love (or probably even like) in an environment that can be described as un-supportive and uncaring, and driving a cab, or cleaning office buildings at night to make ends meet when times got tight, does not sound like much fun. He continues to work for the US Postal Service
trying to maximize every last penny of his pension before he retires although he is eligible to do so and can’t stand his job. He also hangs on to this job because he is unsure of what to do next with himself. Imagine doing the same thing for 38 years or so and then trying to figure out what to do next? A big decision. I also think that he does not want to give the steady paycheck up just in case he needs to bail me and my family out again, which he has done several times with smaller amounts of money to pay impending bills.
He just can’t walk away yet. Someday soon he will. Hopefully he will find something else to do with himself that he enjoys, not work in the mail room of one of the businesses on his mail route like he has suggested. Enough with the mail Dad! Now he wanted a better life for me like I want a better life for him. Unfortunately our programming has us hardwired to only slightly better than the last predecessor. He made more money and lived a comparatively better life than his father and I am making more money and living a comparatively better life than him. Or am I? Does the fact that I went to college (attended and graduated from three of them) make my life better? I was the first only only one so far from my family to earn a minimum of a four year degree out of the cousins on my father’s side. What constitutes a better life? I am happily married and have three amazing children. I Enjoy helping other people and have a world of opportunity in front of me. Do i work my butt off? Sure. but I am not emptying other people’s trash barrels at 2 am or driving cabs overnight to make a living. So maybe I am. Could I have more? Be more? Do more? Be a better father, husband, son and person? Without a doubt. So why don’t I? is it because I comfortable with how things are? Is it because I have lived my life for a set amount of time a certain way? Or is it the Irish Curse that makes me feel guilty for what I have, for not suffering in a potato field. More on that another time my friends. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.