I’m still, at 49 (50 tomorrow, wheeeeeee), figuring this out.
I think that is part of the identity question, I’m still figuring it out. I think with anyone like myself, we cope with considerably more than anyone gives us credit for, as those who don’t understand us are often oblivious to the questions and challenges we are faced with. Some simple, others complex. We try and find ways to resolve those questions, and struggle as there are often so many of them, and the solutions that we want are the perfect ones and that is of course impossible. But we try until we can no longer do so as it has become so much that we can’t cope.
The quality that leads us to do so, perserverance, is I guess one of character. Something out of a Kipling story (to translate it to another cultural meme) if you wanted to put it that way. And while we persevere we try and do so in a way that is true to ourselves, which is often not understood at all by anyone, as our social and communication skills have usually seen us give up on explaining ourselves to others. But we still perservere, regardless, to do what is right for ourselves, and those we care about, when the odds are more than stacked against us.
I’m tired though. In the last 30 months or so, my wife had her cancer come back (already stage 4), and I’d known it was probably terminal from talking to her oncologist. And she had probably known it, but gone back to chemotherapy anyway. In the middle of this, some nutcases blew themselves up down the road from us in Colombo [Sri Lanka, where Al and his family were living]. I’ve juggled my own desire to jump out a window, to want to care for my wife, look after our kids and keep them safe and happy, and keep a crap job going.
Followed by an international move, final stages of cancer, setting up house, coping with my kids, autism assessments for 3 of 4 of us, pandemic and months essentially alone. By myself. I struggle, but I persevere, because I have to. However bad it gets for me, I have 3 children who need me and they are my focus, an anchor that as irritating as they can be too often keeps me going. Because they don’t deserve less than the probably not so great best I can try to give them.
It’s not pride so much, as bloody-minded perseverance, that I think is the same as what got me through school when I was severely bullied, university when I was really in the wrong course, through work where I wouldn’t look the other way, through marriage until the end because I did promise to look after my wife whatever happened, and it did happen and I didn’t walk away.
So yeah, I’m proud of my obstructive, irritating, bloody-minded, arrogant persistence. And my determination and f*ck you to anyone who thinks I’m crap at it, I probably am.
Anyway. Something of an answer if not a clear one or a snappy one.
I think many of us have the same quality.