Life’s challenges

123 requested a blog on life’s challenges.  And THAT is a challenge…but I think he/she was thinking more along the lines of classic/tragic/life-altering challenges mixed in with bigger-bite-than-can-be-chewed challenges – those that are inflicted by life and those that are self-inflicted.

I have had some of each.

Having said that, one thing is surprising (and only learned later in life): it is only a challenge if you see it that way.  In other words, challenges are defined by circumstances and timing and all that dross and chaos but I think they are mostly determined by one’s attitude.  As Sal has often said, “Attitude is everything!”

So, I suppose my first challenge was being a short, thick, brutish Celt with a dour attitude (even as a swaddled infant) but NOT knowing that – not at first, anyway.  And that view coloured my entire youth (along with some especially difficult circumstances and bad timing of course).  Ooooooh, it was tough.  It reeeeaaaally was!  Poor me.  I.e. I had some pimples when I was virtually unable to cope with them (lots of Clearasil got me through the worst of it).  I got almost frozen when talking to girls until grade 10 (but then suffered from listening to high school girl drivel for what seemed like an eternity).  I hated school and most schools hated me (or so it seemed) and I have never been even medium sized let alone slim (Hey!  Looking good in tight jeans was important back then).  Youth was just a continual horror show!

But, at 21, I met Sal and sunshine broke through.  It’s all good now.  Whew.

Despite that specious example, I think that the first challenge for a child is knowing when there is a challenge.  Kids do not have perspective.  I.e. we were insanely poor growing up.  My father was totally wrecked from WW2 (100% disability).  I attended 13 different schools before graduating and I skipped a grade!  I had a part-time job from age 11 on.  Had to.  But were any of those real challenges?  Being poor was just ‘the way it was’.  My wrecked father was all I knew.  Adjusting to different schools WAS a challenge but it was also incredibly good training for lowering the intimidation factor later in my life.  Was it a challenge or a gift?

In other words, a large part of ‘challenge’ is attitude.

But you knew that.

123 may have made the request for this subject more to get perspective from my rather disparate readership.  We all have points of view.  We all have attitude.  We are also NOT young.  My dwindling readership is likely of the median age of post-middle.  I am guessing 50+ and maybe older.  The ‘challenge’, such as it is, is to 1. get more readers, 2. get more comments. 3. learn from everyone…..even the Bubbas.  So, I have not met those challenges very well.  But, oh well……(see?  Attitude is everything).

And the forum topic is open……

Before we get to that, it may be that 123 is currently facing a big challenge and either wants advice or wants to vent and share it.  I think that is OK, too.  On the assumption that advice is wanted, I am inclined to the trite: “This, too, shall pass.”  Or, perhaps, “You can always move and change your name.”  Or, “Hey!  Babies happen.  Suck it up and do the right thing, man!”  Or, in the enduring lyrics of Paul Simon, “Get on the bus, Gus!  Get a new plan, Stan.  Get yourself free.”

Clearly attitude should also be very flexible…….



18 thoughts on “Life’s challenges

      • Well, just so long as you dont start talking to Comets and Northern Lights….I’ll keep tossing my two pennies in the comment bowl.

        I’ve been busy at work. barely get a chance to surf let alone comment…… 😉


  1. Challenges…I think it also depends how you look at life. For me, my glass is almost always half full, so I look at most things as a positive challenge, or a motivation to do better. I recently listened to a podcast of Dr Jordan Peterson (I think he teaches at Toronto University). He has some amazing insights that I want to read and hear more about. Basically he says, that if we fail at something, we should not be disappointed, or be angry that the world has treated us unfair, but we should see this as an opportunity to try harder and succeed. Interesting insight. During this 2.5 hour podcast, this guy gave so many good ideas and insights that it is worth checking it out further. But basically that is how I have faced my “challenges” so far, I might feel a little down for an hour or a day, but then I pick myself up and try to make things better. I always have a few plans in the back of my head (like a plan B and C if something does not work out). Being without challenges seems a bit boring (although I can enjoy some time off or just being lazy); I think we all face hardship and face challenges, but every cloud has a silver lining…
    But you are NOT alone out there…I’ll join you looking at the stars 🙂


    • JP is an interesting read. He is a truth-teller. But, but, he has a lot of critics. Basically nonsense criticisms – i.e: he is DEFINITELY not politically correct. In fact, he kinda violates some special PCs sacred cows.
      But I have no problem with cow-violation…in moderation of course (apologies to Hinduism and cows, tho no bovine was harmed in that statement). You know, I like steak and hamburgers? That kind of thing.
      He also tends to make statements that are Bible and masculine based perspectives. I tend to agree with most of them but, of course, many feminists and non-Bible types do not. And, to be fair (like me) he is sometimes simplistic and very subjective. Again, I cannot critique strongly as I am, too. I am always trying to boil down complex issues into simple terms. So, I am a fan of JP, and I accept the criticisms of him as valid and, like him, believe that we all have a legitimate place in this world.


  2. If you make statements like he does (and you do), you tend (and must )to have at least some critics! But i’d like to go in discussion with his critics (preferably over some scotch) and see what their criticism is. We do miss a very good opportunity here as we both kinda like what JP has to say…if we disagreed on his points of view, we could have some really long discussions over some good scotch someday! I also don’t agree with all his views (maybe I will not agree on all his biblical perspectives), but generally he knows his stuff in my opinion! And simplistic is good, right?


    • Me? Critics??!! You must be joking. If ONLY they were just critics! There are people who actually do NOT love me! Can you believe that?
      Yeah…I have a few critics and, for the most part, what they criticize is true. True-ish,anyway. I am impatient and getting more so as I age. I am getting less opinionated but I started out very, very opinionated and have only shed a thin layer of that. I am mildly obnoxious at times and really obnoxious the rest of the time. And, worst of all….? I share it all.
      As for simple being good? Well, a wheel is simple, a kiss is simple and the ‘Golden Rule’ is simple…….so they are good. But Trump followers, racists and the fanatically religious are also simple-like-rock and, at the same time, reprehensible. We can have simply bad or simply good. Yin and yang of everything, eh?


  3. Dr Jordan Petterson teaches a course or did teach a course aimed at young first year college men teaching them about self efficacy. His course is also open to women. Many of these young men arrived in Peterson’s course having been instructed some how prior to meeting the doctor that they do not measure up as young men. Many of these young men have been labeled as failures. Some of the young men have assumed disabilities but do not have actual disabilities. They often offer the excuse when asked to do a task with, “I can’t!” That is they assume failure before they try. Not all do but some of the ones in Dr Jordan Petterson’s course do feel worthless at the beginning of the course having been battered as young men. Many reasons exist for the low self esteem of many of these young men. Petterson teaches young men competencies. Ironically many people think the boys are all right but some are not.


    • Men, today, do not have the benefit of ritual marking of their maturation. Jews still have it in Bar Mitzvahs but, generally speaking, the average modern young man does not have any metrics to use to know when he goes from kid to teen, from teen to young adult and from young adult to mature manhood. African kids used to go kill an old lion or some indigenous kids had to endure a gazillion stings from bees or bites from ants. Some had painful tattoos or scarring rituals. We had all sorts of ways to usher males into the ‘manhood club’ (sometimes referred to as the Old Boys club- but there were very, very few in the OBC. Most ended up in the ya ya brotherhood). But NOT now. Now, most men are raised by women and taught by women In schools). Since our prime reason for living is to get laid, we also willingly ‘doormat’ for women to get where we want to get. It’s primal. Why the hell do you think I listened to the girlish nonsense of High School girls? WE are all under the PRIME DIRECTIVE and we do what we have to do.
      Modern men were given sports and war and business in which to ‘play out’ their aggressive natures. And so we did. But that is NOT the same thing as actual personal growth, it is just pseudo growth. Superficial. And we see that in man-boys wearing Confederate flags and watching football on TV. Macho nutbars NOT knowing how to be real men.
      Do I know? Not really. I, too, have been raised without ritual milestones. But, after almost 73 years, nature fills in the gaps and even the most retarded men start to see where they may have gone wrong. Can we fix it? Not soon. We relinquished the helm to women. They are now the leading faction. We follow.
      Is that true? I dunno…….but I can say this: a lot of male angst is due to NOT knowing how to be the adult or adult partner. We, instead, cling to icons and images. We are ‘held back’ by the industry of ‘mass control’ that is society. Society saw that men were dangerous so they channeled our energies towards CRAP. Jordan P sees that and spoke up.


      • I guess this is where Sal would step in and say “you can see that this blog is being written by a man”. But I also agree with what you say


  4. Yes, yes, I agree with you. You mention a number of painful rituals boys all over the world experience while moving to manhood this suffer is evidence of their transformation. These transitions involved instructions and a path to adulthood involving further ritual rites and covenants. Modern boys also suffer privations often without the benefits of the guidance and instruction some boys need. Whereas boys elsewhere in world suffer but their suffering is seen as ennobling but many boys in the West suffer isolation and alienation. This is where Dr Jordan Petterson steps in and instructs such boys about what their future as adults and reminds them that in adulthood suffering will continue for them. What is the source of some of their sufferIng ? …desire, envy, frustration, and many other emotions.


    • Sal might disagree with some of my observations and conclusions but she acknowledges that modern young men are socially and psychologically retarded. She is also not much of a ‘chatty Cathy’ either so ‘inane chitchat from High School girls’ would be tolerated and she knows all too well my primal side so I would not get too much dispute from her on that little rant except maybe a disapproving look.
      Which, by the way, CAN be devastating if delivered with malice.


  5. I have read the back and forth discussions about male self esteem and I would like to offer a few observations if I may.

    I noticed about 10 or 15 years ago that on tv and radio commercials……. men are portrayed as buffoons.
    Most of the commercials that you see today are very one sided.
    The “Man” does something stupid , (ether verbally, financially, physically, etc) and then is chastised, corrected or rescued by a woman.

    Dont believe me?
    Watch and or listen to the majority of commercials these days.
    The ads are usually done in a humorous, joking, style but the message is clear.
    Men are buffoons that need help.
    I noticed this 15 years ago and said nothing, to anyone.
    I was at a party one night a few years ago and sat listening to a feminist rage on and on and on about “male domination, male privilege ” , blah blah,blah.
    I mentioned my observations to herabout tv commercials and she called me a liar.
    I grabbed a tv remote and said ,”lets watch commercials!”
    I clicked on every commercial I could find and they were all the same,
    Men stupid….., women to the rescue”
    After about 20 minutes I said,
    “Can you imagine the uproar if these commercials were reversed and it was women who were “stupid” and needed “saving”?

    Men suffer their gender silently and, unfortunately, we are creating an entire generation of politically correct, needy, clingy, man child’s that have zero ambition, zero confidence, zero goals……………because ……that’s what they were taught…….



  6. as a kid, I was on the streets the whole day, exploring, finding, testing and sometimes crossing my limits, but that’s how we learned that there ARE limits. Now kids spend their entire childhood in front of phones, ipads and the likes. Ho can they ever find out there are limits? How can they build self esteem and confidence. We cut whole trees just to make a camp, to be chased by an angry farmer because we cut down his trees 😉


    • I agree. The kids out here do NOT do the cell phone thing because they don’t get reception if the phone is away from a fixed antennae. So that kind of solves that. Out here without a phone, they go fishing, exploring, build stuff, fix stuff and help around the house. As a consequence, these kids are way more accomplished and skilled than any of the kids/adults that come from the city. Coincidentally none of them has ADD/ADHD, peanut or bee sting allergies. I have a lot of time for the kids out here. They are healthy and intelligent and part of the community.


      • Yes, your are totally correct! Young people with self efficacy have a path to adulthood. These young people are positively accomplished!


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