Aging is Extraordinary

September 30, 2018

You never know about these quote memes. Sometimes quotes are attributed to people when they didn't actually say them. But let's assume David Bowie did make this statement about aging. It's cool, because most of us watched him evolve. If he didn't say this, someone did and it makes a lot of sense, especially considering our current culture.

 

I'm sure many of us don't want to be reminded of the dumb things we did in high school or even later. Luckily, there wasn't social media when I was younger, or I probably would have stuck my foot in my keyboard several times. When I was sixteen, I didn't think of running for public office, but when I was forty-six, thirty years later, I did. My thinking and lifestyle didn't change drastically over time but it did change. I'm more liberal than I was in my youth and I've had children and jobs encouraging me to take responsibility seriously. I care less about what other people think and more about what I think is reflective of my own values. I'm less patient with foolishness, sexism, and bullies.

 

I like to reinvent myself every several years, do something different, learn something I've never studied, challenge myself. I've had major fails doing this, but I've also learned something. I learn by doing. I've known that for a long time. When I see someone struggling, I try to place myself in their position. I think that's why I went into social work. Their history and their experiences impact the way they react to their current situation. Everyone has a story and in our stories are periods of time we might not be proud to own, because we are evolving. We are human and we evolve and change.

 

In our human experience we have friendships and practices that come and go. Each person knows what those have been in their own lives. Some of them were great and some of them we release and never intend to revisit. If you focus on your own life and only make decisions about your immediate circle, your sphere of influence is relative to you and only that circle. However, if you intend to represent others, to place yourself in a much wider circle, to be a source of influence and judgement, then you have to be aware of your history and how you've changed and grown. You have to accept a wisdom from that growth and in order to do that, you can't deny where you've come from and how you've grown.

 

So, public figures must be vetted and those of us who care about their influence have to question their ability and their judgement. But most of all, we have to question their veracity, the principle of truth telling  grounded in respect for persons and the concept of autonomy. As a society, we have every right to insist that people at the highest levels of our government know the truth about themselves and are able to use their mistakes to enhance their own growth. The wisdom any judge has rests in their ability to understand the law and accept their own human frailty. For me, this is true of every judge, but especially a judge sitting on the highest court in our country.

 

I don't know what's going to happen with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. For me, his appearance before the congressional committee last week was disappointing. Regardless of whether he was the person Dr. Ford was abused by, he lied. He lied about small things when it would have shown more character to tell the truth. His demeanor was argumentative, ranting, sarcastic, and confrontational. His actions were consistent with the raucous youth he was being questioned about. In my opinion, he hasn't demonstrated he's grown, wise, or comfortable being his age. He's still the arrogant frat boy clamoring for the attention and laughs with Squi, P.J. and whoever he enjoyed drinking too many beers with. If none of the allegations regarding his treatment of women are corroborated, this man will continue to be immature and unable to accept his own truth. He's not capable of sitting in judgment of others.

 

Initially, I thought maybe he could, but after watching his behavior back in parodies over the weekend, it is even more disturbing. There is already disregard of truth at the top level of our government. We don't need another person on the Supreme Court with such little character. I'm including Clarence Thomas in this company. No one's perfect, but we deserve better than terminally flawed.

 

 

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