11.02.2016

A caretaker generation


Nelson, NV - 2NOV2016
A few years back I was watching Interstellar.  While absorbing it there was a scene that stuck with me.  The father (Coop) is at a parent-guidance counselor meeting and the counselor mentions that their generation is a "caretaker generation".


This struck true for me.  As a middle of the years Generation X'er (born in years ~1964 to 1982ish).  I feel this is so true for us.  I didn't quite understand why this felt true  until I read this article from the Washington Post - "Baby boomers have been a disaster for America, and Trump is their biggest mistake yet"
.

Two quotes stuck with me:
"The boomers are idealists — same as the generations that led the United States into the Civil War and the Great Depression. Gen Xers are reactive — cynical and pragmatic — and clean up idealists’ messes. Millennials, like the Greatest Generation, rebuild institutions."

"... Rosen is hopeful. 'When we see national emergencies arrive, Generation X will be able to get things done when it needs to,' he says."

While I don't hold all the vitriol for boomers that the author does, I do find them (as an entire entity, not necessarily as individuals) a bit condescending and full of their "greatness."  Woodstock was pretty cool, but it was not the generation that got us to the moon nor brought  down a great deal of segregation and enact the voting rights laws.   The protests definitely helped, but it was many efforts from multiple generations that got it done. I am not saying all boomers are this way.  Just that as a group, there is something ringing true here.  On a positive generalization though, this generation created some best music ever. 

In my interactions with Millennials I often roll my eyes at some of their newcustoms and ideas.  Some things are truly annoying, i.e., man buns, but much of my annoyance is me knowing I am getting older and don't understand, nor feel a part of, a new vision and way of living that the younger generation is creating.  I also realize I am of an age to them where I am becoming invisible.  I am another middle-aged white guy who can help serve a purpose (I can buy stuff and leave tips).  Being unseen is not always fun, but in ways is very freeing. 

I find most of my cohort of GenX to not be the publicly inspiring, or self-aggrandizing types.  We work, we love, we live, and we keep the system going.  We keep the airplanes on schedule, the water flowing, and crops coming in.  We support the arts and participate in them, mostly for the love of the art, not for our own fame.  We are the quiet caretakers trying to keep the nation floating and slowly growing.  We have our flaws in our quiet self-effacing ways.  The music we grew up with sucked, well most of it.   We often go about unnoticed due to our quiet ways.    We also aren't the great visionaries or creators like the WW2 and Korean War generations.  Our deeds don't get easily noticed.   A few more charismatic voices would really help us, but they may seem out of place in the land of foggy grey boredom of Generation X.  While this sounds sad and dull, you need us to keep everything working. 

GenX are the caretakers.  We are keeping the house together after the wild and selfish party of the boomers and helping and supporting the Millennials get ready to rebuild a truly great nation.  Once they are able to take this on, I suggest that the boomers sit down, listen, and learn and the Gen X to retire out and make room for them. 

10.31.2016

*That look

Rain DeGrey - 103116

You can seduce a man without taking anything off, without even touching him.
Rae Dawn Chong

Jolene -103116

There is something special about that look.   Some call it the "Come-hither look".  It is not the coy flirting glance across the room or the laugh that lasts a moment to long.  It is a look that is directed to you and only you.



Valya - 103116
I don't use my body to seduce, no. I just stand there.Ursula Andress

I think of it as the boundary moment when the moment is now and now is the time to move, to act.  In my young days, I was bad at reading that moment, that look, that signal.  I think learning what that look means and then knowing what to do next is one of those things that separates the boys from the men.
  

*Originally published in my former blog, shadowsexposed.com 

10.26.2016

Something old. Something new.

A few years ago I started a blog with a friend from high school.  It was a fun ride, but as the saying goes, "All good things.."  You can go visit it's beautiful grave site at www.shadowsexposed.com, while it is still up. 

Luna New -  26OCT16

I have harvested my writings and photos from it.   Every once in a while I will call up one of those old posts and photos, but only the good. ones.

To celebrate, I am sharing something old and something new from my photo world. 

Leila Swan - never old - 26OCT16

10.24.2016

Doors closed and paths faded

Moods - 24OCT16

There was a young lady I grew up with in my senior year of high school.  She graduated the year after me.  During that year we became close friends.  I had a crush on her, but back then I never got out of the "friend zone" with any lady I was interested in.

A summer later I kissed her, once.
Empty Rooms - 24OCT2016

Decades later we reconnected, artistically.  We created a space for our art.  She lived there.  I lived here.  We got together one to celebrate and create.  While it went well... the paths didn''t merge again.  Shortly after, the paths faded into different forests.

As Donald Justice wrote:
Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.


Doors closed and paths faded

Moods - 24OCT16

There was a young lady I grew up with in my senior year of high school.  She graduated the year after me.  During that year we became close friends.  I had a crush on her, but back then I never got out of the "friend zone" with any lady I was interested in.

A summer later I kissed her, once.
Empty Rooms - 24OCT2016

Decades later we reconnected, artistically.  We created a space for our art.  She lived there.  I lived here.  We got together one to celebrate and create.  While it went well... the paths didn''t merge again.  Shortly after, the paths faded into different forests.

As Donald Justice wrote:
Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.


6.26.2016

Visit, but not live.

Karl and the Bear's tooth - 062616


I travel a lot for pleasure and work.  One of my first reactions when I get to a nice place is to think if I would want to live there.  I look at what life would be like there, including, housing, entertainment, work, art, etc., all the things worth living for in a place.  Almost all the time, the answer is the same, great place to visit, but not to live.


Last week I was in Montana, and I mean IN.  I drove over 2200 miles in that state in 7 days and rarely repeated the same section of road.  I saw Glacier National Park, Fort Peck Dam, Yellowstone National Park, and drove through the big Montana cities of Missoula, Kalispell, Helena, Great Falls, Bozeman, and Billings.  Some how I missed Butte, one of the greatest gems in America, but I've been there quite a bit.

I grew up in Montana and still have family there.  I visit it twice per year to help out on my parents' land and around the home.  I love that state.  It is a part of me, my heart, my loins, my art, my spirit, but...  it isn't home anymore.

I looked at what it would be like to live in Great Falls, Butte, and Red Lodge.  I explored so many options, but in the end I realized, I left their in 1997 for a reason.

There are many reasons I prefer the Bay Area and Las Vegas, but to list them would seem anti-Montana and kind of mean.  I love that state and am glad I can visit it and love it.

On a side note, this photo was taken at 10,800 feet in elevation near the top of the Beartooth Pass.  It is one of my spiritual homes.  I treated myself to a short hike (air is thin and hiking is hard there) and meditated for 15 minutes.

I closed my eyes and focused on breathing.  I tried to be present to all the senses other than vision.  I got lost in that world and forgot where I was.  As my timer went off telling me my 15 minutes were up, I opened my eyes and this was the scene before me.  I started weeping from the grandeur of the moment and my being a small part of it.  I felt so alive after that.  In another post, I will tell you about the clouds above me and how they die.

PS - The mountain range is named after the tiny, craggy, tooth shaped peak you can see at the top far right of the image, the last little point along the horizon before hitting the photo's edge.

5.22.2016

Big heart, no stones to exit.



Luna Lain - 052216
When I was a teen I had a big heart and no confidence.  I could never show my interest in a lady without my nervousness and fear holding me back from talking to them with intent.  Instead of trying to start a romantic relationship, I ended up being the very good friend.  These relationships became anchors that pulled me under emotionally polluted waters.

I have a big heart and try to fix things.  It's a very guy thing to do to try and fix things when something, or somebody, is broken.  With a something, the fixing is usually easier because the object has no feelings, so it can just be fixed without having to accept change.

With people (both genders), I tend to gather birds with continually hurt wings.  I must give off a vibe of big heart and care.  By getting into these caring and nurturing relationships, I get embroiled in the sufferers woes.  I give advice, loan assets, help people move, and try to comfort.

Since those days, I gained confidence in relationships to start and grow them into romantic entanglements.  My quiet, introverted charms coupled with the big heart, worked well to seduce the injured birds.  I genuinely cared for them as the relationship grew, but I also knew that with adults, intimately emotional relationships that focused on talking about things of the heart (life, love, failures, ruined relationships, mid-life regrets and aspirations will quickly connect both hearts and genitals.  I fully own that I wanted deep, intimate relationships, but only as a side bar.  I never wanted them to become a single, monogamous thing.  In harsh terms, I was an emotional user that used deeply without an exit strategy.  I am ashamed of that part of me.

While I was great at starting these relationships with the hope of getting to know the person and experience a piece of life with them, including sex, I am really lousy at ending these relationships.  A few years ago I got into the mother-of-all-bad-using relationships.  In the beginning it was my fault for planting, nurturing, and using this bad relationship for my selfish needs.  She matured it into a monster for both us.

For the sake of brevity, I am not going to dump the whole Yolanda (not her name) story today, just share the three important lessons I learned from it. First, don't use matters of the heart to get into a person's pants. That is using. Second, communicate expectations of an open relationship ahead and check in often on how both sides feel. Love can develop, but expectations must be kept or the relationship should be negotiated or ended. Third, recognize when it needs to end it, and have the hutzpah to end it. The cleaner and quicker the cut, the sooner everyone can heal.

None of this is to excuse what I do/did. I am both a monster and a monster's victim in that horrible relationship. I learned, at great cost, that having a big heart and using it to use others (without their knowing the overall goal), is wrong and will deeply hurt.


Photo credit - the incredible Luna Lain. More of her coming soon.