I have also read The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw.
The vet I was paired up with was 97 years old, whom I will refer to as John. John didn't tell one war story, but did share philosophies on life and living. This experience, combined with the stories I read about in that book came together in my mind as I listened to a commentary on the radio.
This thought is....we are witnessing the results of a generation that quits. We have lost the ability to process through conflicts...we seek easy fixes, pills to loose weight, file bankruptcy with hardly a second thought, blame everyone else for our situations and ailments, switch jobs when our current one doesn't fulfill us like we thought it would, throw out a TV rather then get it fixed.
My parents generation really started this trend in the 1960s. The didn't intend to, they really thought they were changing the world for the better. I believe they looked at their parents struggles and said....NOT FOR ME! WE WILL DO BETTER! What they found out is that D was not the fix-all, quick fix they thought it was. That living for themselves was not problem free....selfish living turned out to be very unfulfilling.
Add to this that our daily lives have gotten easier and easier with each generation and our high divorce rate and equally high adultery rate is not surprising.
The Greatest Generation remember doing without during the Great Depression (REALLY going hungry), remember getting indoor plumbing and electricity, remember doing odd jobs for cash (something that many of us feel is below us now and we feel sorry for those occasional people who still do this), took pride in their jobs not for what it did for them personally but what it did for their families...it fed and clothed them.
I am not pointing at anyone specifically...and, actually, I am throwing myself in this generation of quitters too.
I have changed jobs 6 times in 20 years as I sought more professional fulfillment too. I did it in part to provide better for my family, but we were never close to starving and going hungry. So I am part of this quitter generation.
God tells us to give thanks in every situation...not to feel thanks, or to think about giving thanks but to GIVE thanks. There is value in conflict, there is fulfillment to be had outside of Filling Oneself. Our problems are not someone elses problems to fix...they are ours to fix. They are not to be dreaded, they are to build our character.
Even today, I find myself upset over what my M is not. I have to believe John would not struggle as I have after DD. To be sure, he had many DD in his lifetime...he has proven he is willing to rise to his challenges....near as I can tell he has not run from anything.
Yeah, I know I only spent 24 hours with John and that I only read 1 book on this generation...but it has worked on me something fierce. This generation had far far less then we have now...and yet they were more content.
Why is that?
This reminds me of something I keep seeing on FB...
An old couple was asked how they have managed to stay together so long. Their answer... we were born during a time when if something was broken we fixed it instead of throwing it away. That statement had a profound effect on me and I am working on having that attitude when it comes to everything in my life.
I am glad you had that experience with John.
Thank you for this post.
An old couple was asked how they have managed to stay together so long. Their answer... we were born during a time when if something was broken we fixed it instead of throwing it away.
Thanks shatteredheart7...again, another SI member said in 2 sentences that I took 4 paragraphs for me to say! My pride gets a necessary adjustment, again!
LA44....it was a powerful experience. I thought I would take lots of pictures and be a part of the experience....it was so powerful I felt like I was invading their private experience so my pictures were few....I followed their lead on conversation....they hardly said anything at the monuments we visited...but I could feel their emotion as if they were screaming it at me....make sense?
But screaming is not the right word...just powerful...in a peaceful awe inspiring way.
anyway...it was just about them that day....I adopted the attitude of a seeing eye dog really.
Wonderful men and 1 woman veteran on this flight...even the political grand standing that took place due to the government shut down didn't phase them...no anger or disgust at all by the vets...some guardians got excited, but not the vets. Guardians are of my generation...I was actually embarrassed by their actions and by the congressmen and women that were their equally passionate. Of course their passion was how the problem was somebody elses to solve.
God be with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 9:13 PM, October 17th (Thursday)]
I also like how you pointed out they were not Great by choice...it was forced upon them. Many vets told us that....we did what we had to do, the world was in turmoil...we had to do something.
Our marriages are in turmoil....we have to do something...perhaps it is true that great things can come out of this too. BS and WS are all sinners and all have ghosts and demons within us by our own making...like that point too!
[This message edited by blakesteele at 9:28 PM, October 17th (Thursday)]
But I don't agree with him completely.
Every elder generation starts off with "kids these days...." and go on to recite why their generation was better.
It's what we strive for, to be better. Some people are selfish, greedy, want more materialistic things, aren't grateful etc etc etc, but I think you have that in every generation.
What I like about our "generation" is we have the right.
We aren't forced to or made to feel guilty for putting our needs above "what we should do"
A woman/man doesn't have to stay in a marriage where she/he is being abused. A child going through CSA has the right to speak out. A husband/wife who has a spouse that refuses to stop sleeping around doesn't have to take it cuz they "made their bed".
There are many things each generation does wrong, but I do not believe we are quitters.
My grandmother was the same age as John. She only raised 1 child, my mom.
My mother was adopted by my grandparents. My grandfather was a lot like John I bet,a war vet and an amazing, loving man. He put up with my grandmother's mean streak and abuse to my mom. They were very wealthy and my grandmother was a mean-spirited woman who never loved herself enough to be able to love anyone else. My mom suffered so much through her blessed, adopted childhood.
If only someone had spoke up, but no, that wasn't done back then. You stuck it out. For better or worse, no matter who it hurt.
So, I may be a bit jaded here, but I prefer to think our generation knows better.
I don't quit, I demand better. From myself, from my H and from and for my family.
I won't say the world doesn't have the folks you described, but there is so much good. I see it every day and I believe we all do the best we can with what we are given.
My mother, who was born at the tail end of the Great Depression, ended up a widow because my dad cheated on her, then killed himself. In the 30+ years since he died, my mom never dated and is now old and alone. And bitter.
My grandmother admitted years after my grandfather died that she dated, then married him because he was one of the very few men she knew who had a job during the Depression. Even as a young child, I saw that not only did they have twin beds in their bedroom, but most nights didn't sleep in the same room. They stayed married until my grandfather died. My grandmother was not a happy woman.
People do what they have to do, based on what they know at the time, how they were raised, and the times they grew up in.
Different times, different people, different options.
As much as I loved my parents and grandparents, I'd much rather be me and have my life. I didn't have to suck it up, tolerate being cheated on, and stay in a marriage growing resentful and bitter. I was able to take a second chance at loving and being loved, because it's acceptable to this generation to divorce a lying, cheating bastard.
I tend to be a black and white, all good all bad type of thinker. Counselor says that is tied to my abandonment issues...my family was one unit, then my parents divorced without fighting and my dad completely disappeared for 10 years. All good....all bad. That is what I saw as a boy.
Glad I posted...thank you all for the thoughtful nature in which you nudged me around to see a bigger, more positive picture.
I never thought that D was the fix-all. For me it was the only choice.
I have never quit anything. I did not quit my M, I simply ended a financial nightmare that was already dead.
I am not a quitter. And none of my siblings are quitters. And my DD is not a quitter. But hey, thanks for that generalization.
My parents, of that generation, were married for 40 years until my mom died. My dad never even dated in the 27 years he lived after that. FWH's parents were married for 60 years. Those were the examples we had. I bought into the "partners for life" thing, him not so much.
I don't think quitting is the whole problem, it's thinking there's always something better, newer, more exciting out there. And don't I owe it to myself to be happy and go for all I can? That's what advertisers have been telling us for years. That's fine for cars and clothes and TVs and smartphones. When people use it as justification to screw around, the mental and emotional wreckage they leave in their wake is tragic. At some point, you have to decide that what you have is good enough, and put your energy into that.
Latest DD - April 2013, PA
God tells us to give thanks in every situation...not to feel thanks, or to think about giving thanks but to GIVE thanks.
Powerful, powerful line.
May you continue to have supernatural strength as you journey this hellish road. Blessings, brother.
I projected from my own parents situation. I have talked with my Mom openly and honestly about their D....this is 30 years past the day they D. In their situation both my mom and dad very much did NOT try to fix their M.
It was originally stated to us boys by Mom (because Dad disappeared quickly and completely) that financial strain was the reason for their D. Turns out this was NOT true. They had financial strain, but neither my Mom or my Dad tried to budget or work on that weakness. After the D my Mom struggled with finances....does to this day. She made decent money but never worked on budgeting skills.
This is one example of many that I witnessed my parents quitting. I don't blame them per se, but I recognize that they are both quick to find blame in others....and very slow to accept responsibility and change themselves. They were quitters in my mind. My Dad disappeared from the family....my Mom did for herself and went out of state to college while my youngest brother was a sophomore in high school, I was in college and my older brother took the role as head of household and saw that the mortgage was paid and my younger brother had food. Even that decision was not fully explained to us by my Mom......it, like their D, just kind of happened. This is the self-centeredness of a generation that equates to quitting, to throwing in the towel on a previous agreement because it was harder then was originally thought it would be. This is where John would not have quit.
These are my marital role models. My wifes experience was to watch her Mom fight hard to keep her marriage, her Dad was an alcoholic. She tried for years to get him to be the man a family deserves, begged him to stop his abusive ways (not physically abusive but verbally so) finally she divorced him. She was not a quitter and her family was safer and better off after her D due to the abusive nature of that relationship. Her Mom was not a quitter, she did improve her family after D, her Dad quit the family...he choose to drink over be the Dad.
I am sorry for the general tone of my original post. It was unfair to those, like my wifes Mom, who have valiantly tried to save their M but came to the realization that the other half just is not courageous enough to step up in the same manner. It is courageous to D and continue to improve and be committed to your family. Divorcing is not a definition of quitting...hopefully the illustrations of my family and my wifes family divorcing show that I recognize where the differences can be had.
It absolutely takes two. Dreamboat...I understand their are exit affairs, I also see first hand how detrimental staying with an abusive person can negatively affect a family. While I am in pain daily I am grateful that for where I am at on this journey....I have a wife who is currently willing to own her part of this M and work on that and that neither of us are abusive in nature.
Even with those two things going for us, I believe our society today would support my decision to D. This is where I think our generation has swung too far to the quitter side of things....much like a poster to this post pointed out that The Greatest Generation swung maybe too far to the stick together even if it is abusive side of things.
Life is dynamic and pendulums swing.
I am grateful for the responses to my original, general post. It has re-centered my pendulum...something that needed to be done.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:40 AM, October 18th (Friday)]
I don't think quitting is the whole problem, it's thinking there's always something better, newer, more exciting out there. And don't I owe it to myself to be happy and go for all I can? That's what advertisers have been telling us for years. That's fine for cars and clothes and TVs and smartphones. When people use it as justification to screw around, the mental and emotional wreckage they leave in their wake is tragic.
Brokendancer7 captured eloquently what I feel....particularly with adultery. Ashley Madison websites, combined with tabloid articles make adultery into an almost acceptable solution today....and take away any notion that adultery is quitting, ducking responsibility.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 5:58 AM, October 18th (Friday)]
I am rather offended by this post. That does not happen often on SI.
I am very glad that I lived in a generation where I did not have to feel guilty about ending a marriage to a serial cheater. My own life was so much better than my mother's life for she felt trapped and dependent on my father and getting out of that marriage was not much of a realistic option for her. My mother was not a quitter, but her options were also severely limited.
But I do feel today's generations seem to have unrealistic expectations. When something like cheating does happen, we rush to counselors to "fix" us and fix our spouse, and we take all sorts of prescription medication so we won't have to feel so depressed and anxious. I expect this will offend some here too, but it is my personal opinion.
Maybe past generations abused alcohol and drugs (whether prescription or not) in order to cope, but I don't think it is a good idea for any generation.
While precription drugs seem to meet approval these days, I think they fall in mostly the same category of unhealthy crutch, as abusing something like alcohol or illegal drugs. (I know many will disagree; I don't mean to offend anyone). IMO, we need to learn to cope by natural means. We actually have better, more comfortable lives than our predicessors and yet we have no coping skills (without counselors and drugs).
Sometimes my husband will go off on how he wishes he lived in the days when people had ethics, when a man was as good as his word, and so on...
And when he says this, I don't know if such a time existed, but even if it did, it was also a generation where you could expect a family to have 6 to 10 kids, and some of them would die of horrible disease like small pox or polio. My own mother's mother died when my mother was 6, of appendicitus, at age 32. This would be extremely unlikely in our country today. Her youngest sister only two at the time, had to go live with an aunt. Her father never remarried and raised the rest of the kids on his own, through the depression. It makes me cry just thinking of my mother's life. God I would not want it! And then she lost two brothers in WWII. Those brothers never got a chance to marry or have kids or anything.
Then she married my father and he treated her like shit for all those years until she died.
Would I trade my life for one like my mother had? I think not.
Am I a quitter? Well, I guess that would depend on how one looks at it. Yes, I divorced my XH. And I have changed jobs a few times. In some cases, people quit jobs because they are "quitters" but I think many of us have very good reasons for quitting one job to take another, better job. Sometimes it might turn out to be a mistake in retrospect, but I sure don't see that as being a quitter in most cases.
As for me, personally, I started working on a Ph.D. in 2005. My step-DD died in 2006 and my H had an A during the same time period. I could have quit, but I didn't. I finished it in 2010. I don't consider myself a quitter. In fact, I would say in most situations, once I set out with a serious goal for myself, I don't quit until the goal is reached.
him idiotic sex addicted, hormone addled, porn watching, post pubescent male with a walking hard on for anything without a penis
4 kids 15 13 12 8
Earned my *F* the hard way.
This generation had far far less then we have now...and yet they were more content.
I agree with this statement. You only have to take a tour of a house built in the 30's, 40's. 50's etc... and see what kind of storage they had built in. Usually a one car garage, if that, and tiny, tiny closets for two people.
Why do most houses now have walk-in closets, two-three car garages, etc... even when remodeled? Why do we need all this stuff?
We are a throw away generation... Trying to work on that myself.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Viktor Frankl
"When you are happy, you can forgive a great deal."