Thoughts on 40 from my friend Mark

This post is written by my friend Mark. I met Mark at a bar on University Ave called Big Time. He sat behind his crossword puzzle and I was intimidated. I was there to meet Mark and Patti, two of my new boyfriend’s (now husband) closest friends. That was 13 years ago. Since then Mark has become a dear friend of mine, too. Our sons adore him and I’m thankful he is part of our life. Earlier in this blogathon I noticed a comment that was waiting approval. It was long and full of good thought. From my phone I couldn’t tell who had submitted it. When I got home, I realized the comment was from Mark. I convinced him that it should be a post, not a comment. He relented (probably because it’s *nearly* my birthday). I’m honored to have him visit Motherlogue.

———

Avoid Reductionism: Looking at things as black or white is almost always a mistake. Things are very complicated, and nothing happens in a vacuum. Most things are contextual.
Personally, I’m skeptical of any explanation of human behavior that doesn’t take into account the biological, cultural and psychological circumstances. Would you go steal a candy bar right now? Of course not. If you hadn’t eaten in three days would you steal a candy bar? I bet you would!
The morality of the circumstance changes, too. It’s pretty unethical of you to steal that candy bar from the poor shop keeper right now, but if you haven’t eaten in three days and have no money, it might be that HE’s the unethical one for refusing to feed a starving fellow human being. Is it wrong to steal? Sure, sometimes. Always? Probably not.
Challenge your beliefs: Dust off the things you believe every once in a while and ask yourself WHY you believe them. If you don’t have a good reason, it’s probably time to take another look at them.
Have fun: Make time to have fun, every day. Try to work some place you have fun, and try to associate with people that are fun to be with. Life is too short not to enjoy every moment you possibly can. You’ll never end up on your deathbed wishing you had spent more time at work, but you might be there wishing you’d spent more time enjoying friends and family or traveling or pursuing your hobbies or learning French. DON’T BE THAT GUY – get off the Internet and do something you WANT to be doing (unless you want to be on the Internet right now, then keep doing that!).
Learn: If you stop learning, you stop growing. If you stop growing, you just grow old.
Assume good intent: Nobody wants to be disliked. If you are having conflict with someone, there’s probably a fundamental misunderstanding that needs to be solved.
People only get angry about things they care about: If you are in a dispute with someone, you have that in common – you both care about what’s going on. Use that to your advantage to work past it.
Avoid Sweeping Generalizations: All Republicans are not evil. All poor people are not lazy. Whenever you say, “All X are Y,” you’re wrong. Life is not that simple and everyone is different.
What haven’t I learned? LOTS. I still don’t know how to deal with being frustrated, for example. It usually comes out as anger, and it’s often not even directed at the source of frustration. I get angry, wonder why, and realize it’s because I’m frustrated about something completely different.

photo courtesy of stock.xchng

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4 Responses to Thoughts on 40 from my friend Mark

  1. Mark Squire says:

    I am not sure how a 5’7″ guy can be all that intimidating. Something never change, I guess, because I was sitting in Big Time last night. But NOT doing a crossword. 🙂

  2. Jan Udlock says:

    Nice job, Liz, getting this guy to write your post!

    Mark, good stuff to think about. I like assume good intent. I have a child that means well but it doesn’t always come off that way. And because he’s almost 6’2”, he’s not easy to miss. I think I’ll go hug him.
    j

  3. Mom/Gayl says:

    Mark, lots of food for thought to get my brain stimulated and a good reminder to have Fun everyday! Hugs, Gayl

  4. Trelawney says:

    I like all of Mark’s points, but especially to challenge our beliefs. I guess this is on my mind today with the news that some folks think the world is going to end tomorrow. I don’t have any beliefs about the end of the world… but even small beliefs about what’s important or who I am deserve some thought every once in a while. Thanks for the reminder to check in and make sure that I’m being true to myself. (And, thank you, Liz, for getting such great guest bloggers!)

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