We Are Our Parents

moonIt strikes me more every day how much life doesn’t change.  You can try all you want, but you eventually realize you have become your parents.  It’s inevitable.  Always has been, always will be.  I could follow my family tree for eons, and find the same thing; we start out young and stupid, yet think we know it all.  Then in our mid to late 20s we realize we don’t know it all, and make an effort to learn everything.  We read, we watch, we study.  We raise a family and tell ourselves we won’t make the same mistakes our parents did.  Unfortunately we still make mistakes, just not the same ones.  Yet we think we do a good job.  We become successful in our business or work.  We work hard to prove ourselves worthy.  We muddle along, just like our parents, and their parents, and their parents.  Arguing about politics with our neighbor.  Discussing the news, debating the current war, whether it was a world war, or a tribal war. There has always been war of one kind or another.  We gathered food, then grew food, then we bought food.  But our need for food has obviously never changed.

Amanda and RuthieWe lament the current state of the world and are convinced it was better ‘in the olden days.’  Whether that was 30 or 40 or 100 years ago, it was always better ‘back then.’  We watch as our idols die.  In my mother’s time it was Frank Sinatra.  Grandma remembered when Rudy Valentino died.  (I’m sure there are some of you who don’t know Valentino was the heart-throb movie star of the early silent movies.)  I remember when John Lennon was shot, r any kaWe learn that we don’t know everything but we run out of energy to keep learning new things.  Our brains become full.  We become convinced that we are right.  We know it all, have seen it all.  Just like our parents.  And some of us stop growing.  Become stagnant in our beliefs.  Some of us choose to keep believing what our grandma used to tell us about how salt was good for you, or you needed cod liver oil every day, or that Blacks, or Hispanics (or women, or gays) should know their place and stay there.   Preferably out of sight and not next door to us.John Lennon

Once I realized all this was inevitable I was finally at peace with turning 50.  It took me nearly three years, but I got there.  I hate it.  I hate that nothing has really changed.  Sure we had the Industrial Revolution, the invention of the printing press, emancipation (for Blacks, for women, and now for LBGTQ).  We’ve always polluted our surroundings.  Don’t believe me?  Look at London in the Middle Ages, or Paris, or Amsterdam.  We dumped our waste in the streets, there was no trash pick up.  The streets were dirty and full of animal manure, and when it rained, the manure and waste would be washed into the lakes and rivers which we drank from.

davincis manThere have always been those less fortunate, the poor, the disabled, and unwanted.  Whether illegitimate children, those starving in drought stricken areas, so has it always been and always will be.

We have always loved our family and friends and hated our enemies.  It seems we cannot change our black and white vision of our world.  Us against them.  Us being the religious, them being the Atheists.  Those people–being anyone different from ourselves.  When I was growing up long hair on men was not acceptable.  And by long I mean 1964 Beatles long.   Bald men were seen as less virile and less attractive.  Now most men I see shave their heads.  I can’t understand it.  There is also the current trend of being completely hairless.  Which I totally do not understand.  I like a man with hair.  Long, bearded, and with at least some hair on their chest.   Where I come from good girls wore modest pastel dresses to church, bad girls wore bright red short-shorts.

Everything changes, and yet everything stays the same.  All is cyclical.  The phases of the moon, the tides, taxes, what is considered ‘good’ or attractive.  And yet we like to think ourselves so much better than previous generations.  We’re smarter because we know DNA sequencing, understand chromosomes and viruses, and own tiny computers.  Imagine if you dropped Leonardo DaVinci into a evolutionBest Buy.  How would Thomas Jefferson react to riding in a car.  What would Cro-Magnon Man think of today’s cities?  Culture shock for sure.  Culture changes.  The people, not so much.

So much of life inevitable, and impermanent.  There will never be an end to religion, for religion has always been with us, from our pagan days to Christianity, to Scientology.  People have a need to believe in something beyond this world.   Even Buddhists with all their understanding of the cycles of life and the impermanence of everything believe they come back to the world to try to be better the next time around.

Humanists are a little different.  They are like Buddhists in that they understand everyone has the right to happiness and to be treated with respect, but they don’t believe in an afterlife, or reincarnation.poppies

I like to think we are not reincarnated or live in heaven, but our essence, or soul, or atoms are returned to the world via our bones and ashes.  We become part of the world we left.  We are in the worms and dirt.  We are the grass and flowers and sun.  Everything is one and we each play a part in the construction of the world.  Leonardo DaVinci is still with us.  He falls on my flowers as rain.  John Lennon is still here as sand in the ocean.  I will always be here, though you won’t see me, and I won’t see you.

10 thoughts on “We Are Our Parents

  1. I do believe people who have passed on do remain with us but I guess in a different way… I believe their legacies of what they accomplished on earth whether it be art, music, laughter, kindness, wisdom live on. My mother left me a legacy of love and strength and so many things entailed in memories of her… she lives on in my memory. I guess the reason I use her as an example is that you say we are our parents and I think you’re right. What they taught us, the example they set does take root in our being… (Mother’s Day just passed and I guess I’ve been thinking of her and I do in my ‘religion’ though I really don’t like the word… I prefer ‘belief’… do look forward to seeing her again in heaven) I know we differ in faith and I don’t usually say much on the subject, but this time I just felt led to…. Diane

    1. I’ve learned to let people have their own beliefs. I’m afraid I have been rather biased and judgemental. Who am I to say what is right for someone else. You and other bloggers have been instrumental in my making that much needed change. 🙂

      It brings me comfort to believe that our energy/life force/soul lives on in the world and is used to replenish the world. It’s the same thing as heaven to me, we just use different labels. I’ve found there is little difference between Buddhism and Christianity if you think of the Buddhist concept of reincarnation to be similar to having another life in heaven. I think if we traced religions, like we can genealogy, we would find it all comes from a single source, just like people. 🙂

      Thanks for putting up with me. Hope you had a great mother’s day!

      1. And thanks for putting up with me too…. I had a nice Mother’s Day… There were a few tears because I didn’t get to talk with our daughter… she called but we were at church… the thing is she knows when we are and I believe called so she wouldn’t have to speak to me….but I still had a nice day with our one son …the other was at the cottage… Hope you had a nice day ! Did you get that apartment you put in for? Diane

      2. I’m happy you had a good day with your son. Give your daughter time. She may still come around. Believe it or not, after 15 years I’ve been in limited contact with three of my sisters and one brother. I’ve even thought about contacting my mom.

      3. We have still not heard the final word on the apartment. The waiting is really stressing out husband and he’s thinking about trying to stay in the house and see if the bank will finally do a refi since we are now in a position to catch up on our back payments. We even have enough to make some of the repairs around the house. But I am certain we will get the apartment, just don’t know why the guy is dragging his feet at the decision. He’s all but said the place is ours. There is only one other couple he is considering so you’d think the choice would be easy. But he’s out of town, so maybe he just hasn’t had time to review and compare. He says he’ll have the answer the end of the week, but we have already been waiting almost two weeks. We even passed up on our second choice apartment.

  2. Good read and I can totally see where you are coming from…
    My Mum says I remind her of my Dad (They been separated 20 years now)
    She hates him for what he did to her, he beat her all the time..

    I hope I never turn out like him!


    1. I’ve come to realize my dad was just terribly introverted and self-absorbed, a narcissist, He didn’t play well with others, including his children. But he did what he thought was required: we always had food on the table, a place to sleep–what more does a kid need?

      He had a nasty temper also. I never saw him hit my mother, but I can recall a couple of beatings of my brothers. The threat of a beating was always hovering over us. I no longer hate him. I’ve come to understand and accept him for who he was.

      Being a parent is pretty tough, especially if you are ill-prepared for it.

  3. being a parent was in essence forced on so many of our parents due to societal expectations. my husband has mentioned he was not passionately in love with his first wife but at the time he was at the age when men married and had children. this was and still is expected by the majority. i have a step-daughter who has not married and has no children, friends and family often ask if we think she will. i find this interesting that anyone would think it is their business to question her choices. sorry i diverse, many were never meant to be parents. that instinct is not “natural” in all of us.

    i too believe we become a part of the universe. maybe that is comforting to think those i love and lost are here in sense that i will know one day. i love the way you have come to accept being 50. i admire your honesty that it did not come natural to just accept this part of life.

  4. Again, your post is like poetry to me. I like how you observe: culture changes, people not so much. It’s very true. Many of us find the inspiration to keep trying though. I can see that you are one of them. You have obviously learned a lot that you were not taught. You have broken away from societal expectations and learned to believe what feels right for you, and have opened your heart to so many more people because of it. I think my beliefs of what happens after we die mirror yours. I would like to participate in the planet by becoming worm food some day. I think of it as an honor.

    1. It seems I always battled against the grain. Now that I’m older, I am finally free enough to think for myself, speak for myself and do what I feel is right. We don’t have to take the media seriously. I haven’t trusted a news source since Cronkite died. I think he was the last ‘real’ honest reporter. Now they’re a bunch of talking heads, trained to parrot the current social mores.

      I like the idea of being worm food myself. Makes me feel a true part of the cycle.

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