So this is Fifty Four

I hope it’s true for everybody, age aside, that they learn a little more—become a little wiser and a little bit more able to deal with their respective world—on a daily basis.

I’ve never been one to celebrate my own birthday, and I’m not intending to “break that trend” today. Rather than throwing confetti or worrying over cake and candles (I’ll leave the for others to “do for me” if they so choose), I would like to take a moment or two, to reflect on some of the things I’ve gleaned from my meager (in terms of time) existence on the Big Ball o’ Dirt.

Perhaps one of the most important things that has come out in my recent history, has been the recognition of the significance of tenacity. Don’t get me wrong, I have been telling people literally for years of the importance of being tenacious.

In fact, one of my favorite pearls of wisdom for younger folks is something along the lines of, “Where I prefer people who are both tenacious and intelligent, of the two, I count tenacity to be more weighty.” And I’m fully apprised that I’m by no means the first to express that sentiment (my eldest brother has said it himself—granted in different language).

This point has been driven home to me in a huge way, when dealing with my little boy.

I’ve been a parent for more than thirty years now, but nothing in my previous parenting experience prepared me for dealing with my youngest (five year old) son.

Don’t get me wrong, every child is a new experience with new facets and “features of landscape” to consider. That being said, my experience with Garrett (again, my youngest), has given me some twists and turns that I never could or would have expected. That’s not to say that I wasn’t aware they existed, just that I never thought I would have to deal with any of them directly.

You see, where I’ve never seen an “official diagnosis” on Garrett, it’s very obvious that he’s “not like other children” in some regards.

He started out much like any other baby boy, only to “veer off the standard trail” when he hit about eighteen months. I know a bunch of folks out there know pretty well what I’m saying here, having likely gone through similar situations and experiences.

Where he was “verbal,” it was seriously questionable what level of loquatiousness our little boy would ever attain. And that was just the beginning. Would he have an intelligence level past that which is considered rudimentary? What other concerns might there be?

My attitude was “keep trying,” and thankfully, those around me concurred.

We’re by no means “out of the woods.” It’s possible that Garrett may never get to the place of being able to  live on his own and take care of himself (though I think it highly likely he will do so at this point). This I can say with certainty though, we will never stop trying to get him to the best possible place.

The thing about all of this is, it reinforces in my mind the attitude that says, “keep at it!”

Funnily, that point of view has “spilled over into” other areas of my existence as well.

About four years ago, I found myself out of a job. How that all came about is a long story, and one for another time.

What I will tell you is that I had a wealth of experience that I didn’t know was “in my arsenal.” The result was that when folks approached me about a new position, I “undersold” myself.

That mistake ended up costing my a couple of year’s time. Don’t misunderstand, valuable things came out of that set of experiences. Even so, I found myself performing at a higher level than would have been expected based on the position I occupied.

As is often the case, the people for whom I was working “took advantage” of the situation, and kept me in a lower position, even though they could easily have hired me into one commensurate with my skill set.

I continued to work with them in good faith until somebody came along and offered me a position that felt like a “stretch” for me.

Looking at that position, the money was better, the title was a little more than I thought I could manage, the work site was way closer to home and there were some other benefits I won’t get into here.

I moved to that position with a great deal of trepidation.

It turns out that I needn’t have worried myself. I’m not saying no aspects of the job were challenging. I’m not telling you I didn’t have to stretch—to learn things that were new, different and difficult. What I am saying is that I was “up for the challenge.” And I like to think I managed pretty well at that position.

That job has since “finished.” The company I was supporting lost their contract, which put me out of work. So I went “on the hunt” yet again.

Well another opportunity presented itself and it “felt like” the “next level.” This time I realized that there will always be challenges to be dealt with, no matter where you are. So I jumped at the position.

Maybe I will find there are issues that make it needful or worthwhile for me to move on at some point, but I certainly don’t see that being the case at present.

Yet again, my point? My experience allowed me to move on both times. If anything was going to hold me back it would be a lack of tenacity. That’s an important realization.

A lot of life is about just living the day-to-day. A bunch of what we do is get up and get about the normal business of the day. Thing is, sometimes challenges arise, and we must decide how to handle them. Will I wrestle with the challenge and figure it out, or will I give up and let it defeat me?

As for me, I’m more likely every day to take the challenge and see where it leads. I may “win” I may “lose,” but if I lose, it won’t be for want of trying.

Okay, as is often the case, I have run out of time and overrun my self-imposed “word count limitation.” That being true, even though there was more I would have loved to take the time to discuss, it’ll have to wait for another day, and another article.

As usual, allow me to wish you the best of days and thank you—yet again, gentle reader—for taking the time to get this far.

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