The Loss of Fear

The Loss of Fear

I feel, having reached the ripe age of 50, that I now have a certain amount of experience, knowledge and understanding about how the world works.  I can objectively judge a person’s character and I now have enough time behind me that I can remember how our society was and how far we have come.

One of the things that has evolved–to our detriment–has been the loss of fear.

I’m not talking about the fear of the boogeyman. I am talking about the fear from safety.

Let me explain.  As I was growing up–I had a lot of fears.  I did not see those fears as a bad thing.

I was afraid of strangers–so I never strayed far from my mother and father when in public.

I was afraid of getting sick–so I wore my gloves and my scarf in the cold, an umbrella in the rain.

I was afraid of big dogs–so when I walked home from school with my little sister, I made her cross the street with me so we could avoid the house on the corner with the big german shepherd.

As I got older I was afraid of different things.

I was afraid of failing–so I made sure to study and get the best grades I could–in high school and college.

I was afraid of drugs–so I stayed away from them and anyone that used them–even if it was just “one time”.

I was afraid of being attacked, mugged or abducted–so I made sure to never go out at night by myself.

These fears, to me, were healthy. They kept me safe. And I did not “miss out” on anything.

Kids today, I am finding, have lost their fear.  They are not afraid of vicious animals–they instigate them. They do not take care of their health–often walking through the rain in no hurry to get where they are going, or wearing the inappropriate clothes for the weather.

But worse–they are not afraid of strangers talking to them, calling them or connecting with them on the internet.

They are not afraid of drugs, drug users or drug dealers–seeing it as a right of passage.

They are not afraid of guns or violence often running to see what is happening when a serious situation takes place.

They are not afraid to walk around late at night in the dark by themselves.

This new generation has lost their fear–and with it they have lost their safety.

As a middle aged woman now, my new fear is these young people. Not for what may happen to them because of their lack of fear–but for what may happen to us due to their disregard of actions and decisions that keep us all safe in our community.

The loss of fear is hurting our youth and our society.  The world around us has not changed that much–it is how we choose to view the threats in our world that has changed.  I will chose the healthy fear–every time.

Reinventing The Library

Reinventing The Library

I am a reader and I love books.  I have been reading books for as long as I can remember and I have been a patron of my city library practically all my life, in every city I have ever lived in.

My earliest memory of going to the library to check out books is one of myself at about age 6, walking several blocks to the public library on Belmont Avenue. I remember choosing the books I would read and hugging them to my chest all the way home in anticipation of the stories I would enjoy.

When I had my own children, a trip to the library was an exciting outing–each of us with our own library cards–to choose the next adventure we were to read. Both my girls are readers too.

Over the last 45 years I have continued to borrow books from the library.  But as technology has changed my borrowing habits have changed as well. Now that I have an e reader on my phone and as a separate tablet–all I have to do is  download the app, borrow the book and enjoy it.  I never even have to leave the comfort of my home.

When I have gone to the library for an actual book these days, I have found that it is very empty and understaffed–with staff that is not as knowledgeable as they once were. Also, I found something disturbing.  A library patron, who seemed to be homeless, was bathing herself in the library restroom.

That in itself is a sad situation. For the lady and for others who witnessed it. I am not saying she was unwelcome to use the facilities at the library–but clearly she was not there to check out a book.

So I began thinking of how times have changed and how the original reason for the city or state to provide libraries has now changed as well.

The public library was established to provide all citizens the right to borrow books to read and have a place of sanctuary in which to read them, regardless of income, race, religion or creed as a public service.

Over time the public service expanded to include computers, job search and job training classes, children’s reading sessions and a myriad of other programs for the public good.

And–of course–it is all free to the public.  But–of course,– it isn’t free.  The public library is funded from a portion of homeowner’s property taxes–so it is not a free service at all. We are paying for it.

More and more people are not using the library to check out books and many buildings are lonely.  Each city, is different, but the libraries have changed none the less.

Librarians are not paid a very high wage and in fact, I found after a bit of research that most libraries now have very few full time positions–opting for part time positions in which they do not have to provide benefits for the librarians–who have to have a bachelor’s degree to even be considered for the job.

The hours of the library have also been cut. The library closest to me now is even closed on Sundays when it would actually be the most convenient for me to browse and pick books up.

The libraries in out country seem to be dying.

It is this avid reader’s opinion that perhaps we should reinvent the library.  We should consolidate multiple libraries that exist in the same area to save the money on the upkeep of the buildings and reinvest that money to provide more books in electronic format that can be managed by  less people but provide more availability to the actual patrons that read the books (electronic though they may be.)

Certain libraries can be maintained as the Main Library– in cities in which people can still visit and check out a physical book if they choose–still providing that service.

While it is sad that libraries are dying, what is important is that people–especially children–are still being encouraged to read.  The skill that is needed the most by an informed nation is the ability to read and comprehend–not the physical building in which to house the multitude of books that are being left on the shelf.

I still enjoy searching for authors and books that I might enjoy. I still am eager with anticipation at the start of a new book.  The love of reading has never left me even though the technology has changed. Reinventing the library can keep the flow of the written word alive for many generations to come.

What say you? Should we reinvent the libraries–for the public good–so that they will still provide a service and be of use? Or should we just let them fade away and lose the treasure of being able to have thousands of books (electronic books) at our fingertips?

Asking For Lemons

Asking For Lemons

Once in a while my husband and I will go out to lunch or dinner–we enjoy these meals mostly because we don’t have to cook them or clean up after them.

That is the purpose of restaurants, to have a meal that is stress free, to relax and enjoy or celebrate a special day.

With people’s busy schedules more and more people are eating out more often. Restaurants are full and busy and loud. And the job of being a server is getting harder and more demanding.

We have been very lucky to always have good servers. I don’t remember one that has not provided good courteous service–even when there is a problem at another table or food is backed up in the kitchen.

I was surprised, at lunch yesterday, when I asked for ice water with lemons and the server–who was a very nice young woman–apologized profusely because they were out of lemons.  She asked if limes would do, and of course, I said yes.  What difference is there anyway between limes and lemons?

The service was good and the food delicious.  But our servers’ nervousness at the restaurant being out of lemons has stayed with me. I believe the lady was truly worried that I would be upset at the absence of lemons.

And that means that she has experienced customers being upset over unimportant things and taking their anger out on her.

I think it is a measure of a person by how they treat the servers at restaurants.  Here are a few things to remember:

  • Being a waiter or waitress is a hard job–they are dedicated and must be outgoing and cheerful when they don’t feel like it and when the people they are serving do not deserve it.
  • They are at the mercy of the restaurant manager and the cooks in the kitchen and yet are loyal to the brand.
  • They are on their feet walking back and forth bringing us the food and cleaning up after us because we did not want to stay home and do that for ourselves.
  • They are paid very little and have to rely on the tips they receive from the restaurant patrons.
  • Lastly, they have to deal with guests that are demanding, rude, sometimes inebriated and that apparently have issues with limes instead of lemons.

It is a good reminder that we all share this earth together and we should remember to be kind and respect those that help provide us a service, a hot meal and a smile.

Your Circle

Your Circle

Your circle of friends should want to see you win.

Your circle of friends should not be joyful when you are struggling.

Your circle should be quietly supporting and not critical of your life decisions.

Your circle should not spend their time trying to change you to be more like them.

Your circle of friends should recognize that you are unique and that in reality they are better for knowing you.

Those that are part of your circle should be helping build you up and not constantly breaking you down.

Who is in your circle?

Your circle belongs to you. You don’t have to let everyone in–you don’t have to let ANYONE in–that does not fit in with your goals, your lifestyle, your values and your priorities.

Life is challenging enough without having to surround ourselves with people who are not going in the same direction.

Others will define you based on who you surround yourself with.

And it is never too late to create your circle, modify your circle or remove yourself from a circle that is not aligned to your true self.

For those that don’t belong in your circle, that use their energy to being you down, or that only want to use you, wish them well and let them go.

No hard feelings are necessary, they just don’t belong with you.

Create your circle with people that will encourage you to be your best as you encourage them to be their best–those are the people that belong in your circle.

Old School

Old School

The older I get the  more and more I realize that it is not just because of my age that makes me the person I am but my old school attitude.

This is also what is missing from young people today–they are NOT old school.

More and more or I should say less and less there is no one to teach the next generation how to BE old school.

What makes me old school? I think there are 10 traits that seal the deal on being truly old school–here they are:

  1. If you say you are going to do something, do it.
  2. Do everything with integrity.
  3. Always be early to where ever you need to be.
  4. Respect your elders.
  5. Say please, excuse me and thank you.
  6. If someone is paying you to do a job, don’t do your best do the best they are expecting of you.
  7. Adversity occurs to make us stronger, better, smarter.
  8. Honor your God and respect the God of others.
  9. Hard work always pays off.
  10. Always save some money for a rainy day.

So if you want to be old school or you want the next generation to be old school you have to teach them and lead by example.

I’m proud to be old school, and to be surrounded by old school people. Old school is what has been the fabric of our productive society–don’t let anyone take those ideas and values away from you!

Liberation Day

Liberation Day

Some of the most important things I have learned in life I learned from my parents.

I have been very fortunate to have parents that were always present, involved and encouraging .

They taught me to depend on them while I grew into my own independence.

Likewise, it was my goal, as a parent, to be present and guiding but to make sure my children could stand on their own two feet.

And like my parents, we did a good job because just like I became stubbornly independent in my 20s, so too have the girls become independent.

My dad calls it Liberation Day! It truly was liberating for all of us.

The girls now liberated were taking those first scary steps into adulthood and we, the parents, are also liberated to continue with our lives, goals and dreams outside of parenthood.

But it does not end there. My father in declaring Liberation Day shows his pride in the passing of the torch to the next generation.

So today I celebrate that we have made it to this point in time, with gratitude and high hopes for the future!

Happy Liberation Day!

Getting to Know You

Getting to Know You

There is no person on this earth that you need to get to know more than…yourself.

Especially as you get older and change. And you should be changing, all the time, as you age.

Every day we encounter new things, new ideas and people and new experiences.

This will change you–at least it should.

Your basic personality, of course, stays pretty similar day to day and year after year, but you are never the same person you were yesterday.

If you strive to be the same person or worse portray to the world that you are the same person year in and year out, then you are not growing.

Worse, you know yourself but you are unwilling to show the world who you really are because it may not be who others want you to be.

So you need to get to know yourself and you need to learn how to share who you are with others.

Now, that does not mean that you behave badly, are inconsiderate of others and just expect people to deal with you whether they like it or not.

But it does mean you need to associate with people that are similar to you and like minded.

For example, if you are a kind and generous person you will not want to be with people who are the opposite– always taking advantage of your generosity.

If you are an honest and moral person, people who are not are going to rub you the wrong way. Why aggravate yourself?

Let those people spend time with each other since they share the same values–or lack there of.

You are a reflection of those you spend the most time with…and if you know yourself you will be better able to choose people that will build you up and not try to tear you down.

Those people–I guarantee–know themselves and they do not like who they have become, so they spend their time trying to bring others down to their miserable existence.

As we grow and change and get older it is okay to let go of people in your life that do not serve to add to your happiness.

Wish them well and move on. Don’t worry about what they have to say about you and let it go.

Getting to know yourself means you are comfortable with who you are, in your own skin and that will help you be happier. After all, wherever you go, that’s where you’ll be.