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Me, Choice and Everyone Else

Submitted by Joe El Rady on October 28, 2010 – 3:02 pmComments

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selfishThe older you get, the more you sound like your parents. Sure, everyone says it… everyone old that is. Of course, no one believes it. We explain the rantings of the elderly through generational lenses and motivations. We seem to believe that we have evolved generational values that will persist rather than persisting with values that will evolve. Funny though, the older I get, the more I think in those terms with which my parents speak: responsibility, community, legacy etc. It’s sort of like Six Flags—I loved it at twenty but won’t go near it at 30.

Lately, responsibility and choice have invaded my consciousness from the across the border of old age. I remember hearing from older people that my generation had no responsibility and thinking… yes, exactly, and that’s the way we like it. Callow thinking to be sure; however, responsibility resides outside generation, just consider how irresponsibly Baby Boomers have behaved in leading this country’s institutions right?

Funny how much I’ve been thinking about responsibility lately. As a baby of the choice generation, I’ve never considered the consequences of my choices on anyone other than myself. Membership in the choice generation assures that kind of self reference. After all, our generation seeks choice the way Baby Boomers sought wealth. We want to appropriate it and own it. Ownership accompanies possession. Possession implies a private relationship of closed interaction. We view our choices only as they pertain to us and only as they effect and consequence our lives. Yet, unless we live in a remote wilderness, our choices affect others; and, at the risk of sounding old, we never think about the effect that our choices have on others.

Our choices affect others in ways beyond the easy to grasp effects of the large reckless acts that potentially endanger or injure fellow human beings. Think of all the small simple acts that merely inconvenience others. Think of that puddle water of we leave on the sink of a public restroom after we’ve washed our hands. Now think of how you feel in the opposite situation, entering the bathroom to wash your hands and encountering a wet, unwiped sink. I never chew gum because I’ve stepped in gum—true story.

Okay, let me get off my soapbox for a moment. Sure, part of all of this thought pertains to my aging; but, an even bigger part relates to a beloved family member whom I recently lost due to the reckless disregard of someone who couldn’t be bothered to drive sober. The choices we make…

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