Much can be said about the “firsts” in our lives. Some of them are as sweet as the first taste of chocolate. Others are sour as the cringing feeling of being embarrassed for the first time. Nothing can change that moment as a thin slice of innocence falls away and the maturity of experience shines through. We all learn from our “firsts” experiences and grow with them.
Tonight, I had a first in my life that might sound a little strange. At my age, most have experienced their first concert. A live show can be exciting, thrilling, and quite unexpected. However, many people have their first taste of this experience as a teenage or even in their twenties. I, somehow, waited until I was nearly forty to go to a concert and feel my way through the music. I know that my reasons for never going to any such event, but tonight, I had a chance to break that mold.
A friend of mine had an extra ticket to see an excellent cover band called the Australian Pink Floyd or Aussie Floyd for short. It was a large concert hall in Mesa, AZ and the music was intoxicating. After years of listening to Pink Floyd on the radio or CDs, I was truly impressed at the spirit of the original music and how close this band came to the exact nature of the songs. That is a credit to the musicians and their respect for the original band and its music. It was a superior experience.
As I sat down to listen and watch, my first feelings were the rippling effects of the sounds pounding out from the speakers. In those moments, it grew from the vibrations of the air until it was a low rumble of the ground below. I was swallowed by sounds of the instruments as each note captured me. The vocals drew me into the embrace coming from the arms of each song.
I do not say this to simply be descriptive of the music, the talented musicians, or the original sounds of Pink Floyd through this excellent proxy. I want to mark this moment as a chance to open myself to more of the feelings. I want to be free to open myself to the world around me. It is time for me to embrace the freedom that comes with life. I have sheltered myself from the fun and exciting activities of the world. It is a matter of choice and the reasons are fading and thinned by years of unnecessary needs to please others. I want to express myself.
In my mature days, I realize that with this new direction that I can’t just run wild and forget myself. I just simply think that my time in this world has been missing the joy that comes with fun activities. This is a little different from a midlife crisis. I do not wish to be wild to prove my youth as the age piles up. I just want to break free from the restraints set by those before me. It may even give me a chance to find something new.
So, find a way to reach your goals and enjoy life. There is no need to accept the old belief that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Break that and have some cake.
Each person in the world has experiences and turning points in a lifetime. Some experiences are common and shared by everyone. Perhaps they are not exact, but the event is given a common label. It comes in the first kiss or the event of a birthday party. The world is filled with so many combinations of variables that no individual can be the same. We are unique. Quite unique, even when the genetic make up is the same, we are individuals.
In twins, the connections can be very close. Almost to the point that we can seem them as the same person, but even then, they are two separate people. They have two different personalities. Their early lives may have been shared and the first moments may have been shared. However, it is the inner thoughts and drives that separate. Both may have a strong personal affinity to butterflies, but one takes the step to collect them. Both may like to read books, but one feels the desire to create his own writing. It is curious, but we make ourselves different.
This draws me to a couple of personal examples that have come to me recently. With the passing of Father’s Day, I had the moment when I spoke with my father and felt the connection with him. We have only recently come back into contact after many years of separation because of disagreements. It had taken nearly 18 years for me to actually want to speak to him. Now, we have found our common ground and understanding. Yet, when I was done speaking with him, I turned to my own son and wondered if I understand him any better than my father understood me. For the longest time, I had heard that my son was my clone and acted just as I did at that age.
I disagreed with that sentiment immediately because he may have some tendencies in his personality, but he is a different person. At times, he possesses a drive in his life that I wish I had had at that age. He may not know what he is going to do, but he has the skill to do it. He is a different person and I find that I want to know more. I do not want our understanding of each other to fall apart like with my father.
Another example from a personal experience that supports this idea of different experiences comes from my current employment. For the last few months, I have been working with my spouse on freelance writing through an online site. We have taken numerous assignments which are usually for web content. We have covered a wide spectrum of topics from online degrees to fishing trips. All this has brought me to a thought that many experiences waiting for people are out there.
The world is filled with a vast array of experiences and enjoyments that can change how we see things and how our personalities are shaped. Now, I am not saying that we need to be complete hedonists and explore every sensation and situation. It is the event that makes us the individual and these are shaped by the inner desires of our mind. If I wanted to experience the feeling of falling, I might explore sky diving. If I wanted to taste the spiciest food, I might try different restaurants in different cities. We can’t all become Epicureans of the modern day, but we can listen to our inner drives and make ourselves individuals.
For me, the desires that I hold are focused on a few things that I have not tried yet. I want to feel the success of finishing a novel. I want to sit at an outdoor restaurant and enjoy a long afternoon with my spouse. Other things that I have experienced I want to visit again. A summer baseball game at Wrigley Field would be the top of my list. A trip down a mountain river on a tube would bring me joy again.
As time passes in our lives, we each must remember that we are created from the events and memories in our lives. These experiences are the basis of our personality and we should never let it stagnant. Keep it fresh.
Let’s begin with a simple fact. We are creatures that develop by experiences. It is not the only way, but without some interaction with the world around us, we are unable learn enough to become a productive member of society. As an individual, you will be stunted in personal growth or stalled in reaching goals that will direct you toward a possible fulfillment of your potential. As a group of people, we will become isolated from the outside world, which leads to an intolerance of others and an ignorance of their ways. This makes the interaction an important key to our development as individuals and communities.
As a child, we are given rules that are meant to protect us and keep us in an orderly fashion. These rules can isolate us from different experiences which are likely not to be very good and are generally agreed upon. Allowing toddlers playing in the street after sunset is a fairly understandable rule that common sense supports. Warning signs on the outside of an abandoned house are meant to keep people safe from the dangers of physical harms. It goes beyond our parents’ rules. Our society has created laws that will help to benefit the learning process without physical harm being inflicted. A person must go through the proper training and reach a proper age before they can drive. This is to keep the driver and the rest of society safe. It makes sense.
Yet, how does it help if the experiences of life are regulated to the point that we are insulated from how to deal with matters of life? Imagine what would happen if we became a society that only allowed our children to learn one language. English is taught in the schools and universities. No other languages including dead ones are allowed to be learned. How quickly would we become so isolated that we could not even export or import goods such as oil or electronics? It would strangle the progressive nature of our society and the markets that we depend on as a country. We need to learn other languages so we are able to communicate.
Ok, take another example. What would happen if we did not educate ourselves and our children about simple hygiene habits? It is generally accepted that hygiene helps to prevent illness, makes one socially acceptable, and improves self-image. These points make sense. The prevention of health issues are the talking points behind a great many laws and rules of our society. Sanitation in restaurants is regulated by laws. Hospitals have rules and laws to protect the patients and doctors. Common sense shows that we need to be informed to prevent and protect.
Inevitably, someone will break the rules, ignore the regulations, or subvert the laws that prevent harm and protect our society. Yet, we explain and inform all as to the reasons and consequences of these protections. We do not just ignore or seal everyone away from the natural experiences of life. The rights of free will should be given guidelines and the explanation of the consequences.
If someone decides to rob a bank, they may succeed, but they will be facing the consequences for the rest of their lives. Yet, we teach everyone about these matters. However, it has become a method for some states to create laws that will not inform children to the consequences of their actions. They have decided that the lessons of abstinence are the only methods. In order to prevent sexual activities in our children, they have decided that it is better to keep them ignorant of the guidelines and the explanation of the consequences. Their belief is that it is better to tell them no and not truly protect them with the knowledge of what will happen if they pursue these activities. Like the idea behind personal hygiene, we should be teaching our children about the rules and consequences of these activities. Talking about them is not approving them. It is simply a form of protection for our children. Otherwise, they will likely find a way to explore without our wisdom and guidance to help them regulate their own minds and bodies for logical reasons. We must teach them so they can become trustworthy. We must treat them with the same respect that we expect from them. They are intelligent creatures, so treat them as such. One day, we will have to let go of their hands so they can find their own way.
Instilling in the hearts of our children those values that we hold dear is not the duty of society through rules and laws, but do not hamper the education of natural sciences such as our own biology. Laws are not meant to enforce one set of values on people. The free will of the people gives them the right to choose. They will pass to their children the values and that act will give them the opportunity to move our society in a better, more enlightened future rather than pull us back into the caves of complete ignorance and intolerance.