Image by stevec77 via FlickrSo, a number of happenstances occurred the past few days to bring me to writing this post. I think that the combination of them will lead to a renewed writing of this blog.
As the title suggests, this post comes from some cathartic moments. The first cathartic moment I remember was in 1989. I was newly off active duty and had one of my army buddies visiting. That evening, as we fell asleep we discussed family issues and both of us described the dysfunctional families we grew up in. In retrospect, I really feel for Jim - he got to hear a bucket-load of crap. But then I got to hear about his father went around finding women, getting them pregnant, waited for the baby to be born, insisted they be named James Dean Harper, then disappearing.
So, now I'm here and am in somewhat of a crisis of identity. I have been listening to Glenn Beck talk about his "You Are Not Alone" project and one of the core ideas is that you have to know who you really are and what you really believe. I'm realizing that I don't really know. Thanks to years of reading and association with people who I believe want me to continually improve I have some ideas but I'm really starting to question whether they are my ideas . . . really whether the values I proclaim are really what I value. If so, I have been living a life far from what I value. If not, I've been lying to myself and others.
On top of this my wife rented "Back to the Future" for my kids so that they could have an appreciation for the contrast it showed. I have to say that I unabashedly enjoy the BttF series of movies. They're corny, but there is some good humor and cute lessons throughout. Or so I thought until today. Today I watched the story from a different point of view. Watching Marty McFly's interraction with his "back in the day" father had me comparing myself with my father.
Now this isn't as bad for me as it was for Marty, but it did have me looking at many of the choices I've made in the past as well as how I respond to situations. I am definitely my father's son. After my last visit to his place, I realized how similar we are. We both have well defined values that we profess. What I found out is that we both struggle to live those values.
So, I return to my earlier conundrum: are they my values and I just don't live them, are they values that have been foisted on me, or are they values that resonate with me but I just haven't fully accepted them?
Considering what Glenn Beck has been discussing over the last month or so, it seems that I am late in discovering who I am and what I believe. Please check out his 9 principles and 12 values. It seems as good a place as any to start my self-contemplation so I'll be starting there. If you want, please feel free to follow along on my journey.