Old Guy Lessons

50s manGetting older and having little to lose by expressing my opinion, has some real advantages. I have a lot of ideas and values that are very different than those I embraced in the first half of life. I like to write about these ideas once and awhile to help be define what I am learning and what I would like to pass on to others.

Be yourself. The best contribution we can make to the world is to be ourselves. Yet, being ourselves is the hardest thing to do because almost every force in our lives will try to get us to conform to expectations. Listen to your heart. God is at work within you and didn’t make any mistakes in your creation or your experiences.

Screw the system. Systems are rigged to expand their own influence and profitability. Adherents will almost always care more about the system and their position in the system than individuals. I am not advocating ignoring systems or even rebelling against them. That would make life in the civilized world impossible. Just be aware of their limitations and their self-interest. If a system really bothers you, come with an alternative that will one day make the old way irrelevant. That could become your life’s work.

Choose your friends carefully. Some relationships are toxic. Some people are manipulative. Some people are so needy that you could never become all they need and want. Don’t be afraid to establish some boundaries.   

Value individuals. Never give up on relationships and keep making new friends. Appreciate whatever level of relationship you have. Deeply value your friends. Learn to love your family members unconditionally.

Look for outsiders. There are multiple reasons to value the people that our society pushes to the margins. Jesus did. That’s a pretty good one. They need a little help, love, and friendship. Lastly, change comes from people who live the margins. People for whom the system is working seldom want to change it, but people who suffer its injustices are often passionate about changing it.

Stay at it. Life is full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises. The important things will require far more persistence, flexibility, and adjustment that we can ever imagine at the beginning of the process.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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