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We Must Seek Out Common Ground

We Must Seek Out Common Ground

As I get older, I sometimes find it harder to manage expectations for myself and for what I should expect from others.

I know that I am stubborn and opinionated, and these traits do not easily go away. In fact, they probably have become worse. On the other hand, I think my “fatherly” instincts (which have now become “grandfatherly”) become stronger. I worry more about my kids, their kids and their common future.

There is probably not much that I can do about any of this, but aging causes reflection. What I think I am learning is that I have to “roll with the punches” more in life, and come to the realization that come good or ill-the next generation is taking over. I also have to accept more my own limitations.

Some of this, of course, is health related. I am no longer an “energizer bunny.” I walk with a limp and have to be careful where I walk. That means planning ahead a bit more so that I don’t get into trouble. I now know that there are places to take my cane, and then there are more familiar places when I can leave it on the back seat of the car.

It is interesting that as you get older, mobility sort of goes in reverse. As an infant you learn to walk. Then as you grow up you learn to run, ride a bike and finally drive a car. At my age, you drop the middle two and just focus on walking and car driving. That has become my new expectation as I glide down the other side of eighty. My expectations have changed.

It has been part of my self-taught mantra over the years, that “people don’t change more than they do change.” I still think that is true. We all think we are malleable and adaptable to change but, in fact, we continue to be the people we have always been. That doesn’t mean that we can’t change for the better, but an expectation that we can somehow change our whole personality is probably not “in the cards.”

I still think, though, that one of the distinctive characteristics of being human, is that there is always the sense that the one area where we can excel in is putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. The Golden Rule should apply no matter what our age or our expectations. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is an expectation that I should continue to seek for myself and hope for in others.

So, what is this rambling all about? Is there any lesson here at all? Maybe these are just the musings of an old man.

Maybe they are. But, I would contend that though we have to manage our expectations more as we grow older, we still need to try and find the best in each other and seek out the common good both within our families as well as in the greater community around us. That is a task that never ends.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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