In recent times, it seems that there has been a proliferation of labels and changes of classification for states of mind or manners of behavior that were previously considered personal weaknesses. Addiction, anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, etc.
I see the increased understanding and labeling of these conditions as a huge step forward.
I do understand that some people are skeptical about the propagation of classifications. At least anecdotally I have heard people grumble about what they see as labeling every aspect of the human condition as an illness and thinking that many of these conditions are indeed merely personal weaknesses.
For most Americans, life centers around place — the place where one was born and maybe raised, the place where one retires, the place one returns to after a work or play trip. Home is typically fixed. We may live at the fixed location for a year or for a lifetime — but it’s a place where we hope to find comfort, familiarity, order and security.
Although I spent 25 years as a military officer, moving every few years, I was still far from being a nomad. I found and (usually) rented an apartment or house and that was my…
A Conversation with a Vietnam Veteran.
Fifty years have passed and the trauma and memories of a 12-month hitch in Vietnam have not faded a bit.
John volunteered for the Army in 1969 when he was 19 years old. The war in Vietnam was raging and he knew it. Joining the Army was not something a kid did if he wanted to avoid combat. John knew he was signing up for trouble but did it anyway out of a sense of blind patriotism. There was no way a 19-year-old New York boy understood the politics or rationale for the war…
I am 54. He is 84.
Yesterday I learned how proud my dad was of nailing an artillery target during a demonstration for “the muckety mucks” (senior officers) while a young Second Lieutenant in the Army in the 1950s. I knew my dad had spent a couple of years in the Army after college, but never once asked him about it. His sharp memory and evident pride in this short period of his life so many decades ago shocked me.
What else didn’t I know and why had I never asked?
Like many Gen Xers, I had, to put it…
I lived with my toxic boss. He had almost total control. I had almost none.
From a distance of three miles, the nighttime weather front looked like a solid obsidian wall that stretched the length of the horizon.
As our small Coast Guard ship approached the wall, I found it increasingly difficult to believe it wasn’t solid — that we weren’t going to collide with it, sending the ship and it’s 60 crew to our deaths miles beneath the lonely Pacific Ocean.
At the time I viewed that morbid fantasy as a way out.
Instead of colliding with…
Be Strong. Don’t Cry. Or Be Vulnerable? It’s Confusing. It’s Toxic.
Be a man
I don’t need to explain what this means. We all instantly know what this means in American culture.
We are taught as children what it means. Antiquated gender roles are beat (sometimes literally) into us at a young age. Yet we are no longer in a hunter gather society. We aren’t living in an agrarian world where every kid needs to assume a certain role for the sake of the family’s survival.
We don’t need to continue to teach boys to behave as if the family…
Wait and it will be too late.
We had gone swimming at the same beach in Guam (Gab-Gab) 50 years apart. One of several shards of fun facts I picked up while working with World War II veterans in the early 1990s. Yet I blew my opportunity to learn more.
These veterans are mostly gone now. I could have learned so much more — but I was naive, and just not interested. So, I didn’t ask. I didn’t engage.
Despite the reputation the “Greatest Generation” has for being closed lipped about their wartime experiences, if they found your experiences relatable…
I used to feel differently. In fact, for the better part of my post-adolescent years, I felt compelled to be partnered up. After all, our society — from old media to social media — inundates us with the notion that being alone is somehow a mark of failure…that it’s an indication of your unlikability, your unworthiness. And if it wasn’t challenging enough pre-COVID, a year of social distancing (I mean who came up with that term?) has made it damn near impossible to start a new relationship.
Following my 2016 divorce, I didn’t wait for the ink to dry on…
Leadership Isn’t Easy. That’s Why So Many Bosses Suck.
The Toxic Boss.
There are many reasons leaders fail.
As many readers are aware — through direct experience — ineffective (or worse — toxic) bosses have a profound impact on the well-being of everyone in the workplace.
A failing boss makes the lives of every team member miserable.
They undercut morale.
They reduce productivity.
They incur unbearable costs on organizations due to high turnover and reduced productivity.
Yet ineffective bosses are obscenely common.
In many cases this is because the wrong…
I am not a financial expert. Not even close. If you want awesome financial advice check out this guy — his advice is spot-on: Rocco Pendola
But I can’t sit by quietly and listen to the “latte” advice anymore.
I can’t stand listening to so-called financial experts who reliably go straight for your daily $4-$5 Starbucks ritual purchase and tell you how wealthy you could be at the age of 65+ if you just sucked it up and made your coffee at home for the next 30 years.
Many things we do each day are reassuring and, yes, pleasurable rituals…
A 25 year Coast Guard officer — and currently a full-time Airstream nomad.