07 August, 2007

Learning more about more

Well, I can't really remember if I had mentioned here in the blog that I almost freaked out and deleted a bunch of the things that I'd posted up here. I guess I had a momentary lapse of insanity. But happy to say I didn't edit or delete anything.

So, I invited my sister to read the blog... I was interested to hear her opinion about the "Dad Blog". I won't share much of what she said since that was between the two of us. But I learned a bit more about some of the places that my story was incomplete or slightly inaccurate. I wasn't completely inaccurate on any account. But there were some details that I messed up, and also she told me a bit more about my father's family history which helped me understand where he came from. Some of it, I knew already, but there was a bit more color and detail. I'm not really giving you much here, I realize. If you invested the energy in reading that ridiculously long blog, you probably would like to hear what I left out. But... I have that code about not directly sharing those things that are given to me by another person.

So what's the point here?

Well, I guess what I really want to get at is that we are all a product of upbringings that are products of other upbringings, and it's almost like recycling. Every time you rebake the ingredients, the result evolves a little bit from where it was. My parents grew up during the depression. My parents raised their kids in the 1960's and 1970's. And each generation brings to the table not only what their parents instilled in them, but also all of the fucked up shit of the culture and generation of the time.

One thing that has always been interesting to me is that my sister and brother were pretty much a different generation from me - 15 and 18 years older, respectively. They grew up with The Beatles, JFK, Nixon, Vietnam, Watergate. I grew up with... I don't know? What? The Bicentennial? The Ayatollah? Anwar Sadat's assassination? The end of the Cold War? The Reagan era? Disco? New Wave? Hair bands? Talk about different generations! Was there even anything worth reporting or remembering from my generation? Compared to my siblings, it seems kind of pathetic. Not that I would want to have partaken of all that disillusionment. My brother and sister had to see their first cousin (my Dad's sister's son) die in Vietnam. I didn't see it. I wasn't alive until 2 more months or so passed. My brother and sister grew up in a generation where drugs, alcohol, free love (not that I know of this first hand from them) were the way.

I grew up in a different generation.

Reagan became president in 1980. I went to college in 1986. When I went to UMass-Amherst, it was still carrying the name "Zoo-Mass" because of its reputation as a party school. But this was a sad misnomer, wherein the school still had the name, but the environment that earned it that name was being shed year-by-year. Not that I regret this. But it was just ironic. They had really cracked down on dormitory madness during the years I was there. And I guess it was probably that big conservative movement related to Reagan, Bush, family values, etcetera.

Times had changed.

I am jealous in some ways that I didn't grow up with The Beatles. But I was also fortunate, as I suggested, to miss the mass disillusionment from so many great people dying, and so many tragic historical events.

Actually, Lennon was assassinated when I was 12. And the strange thing about this is that it was almost my generation. But still not quite. I vaguely remember the news. But I was not yet a consumer of the news. And it didn't really impact me. If I had been 3 years older it might have impacted me more. On one hand I regret it because that horrible event never really touched me until years later when I began to understand it. But on the other hand, I am glad that I didn't suffer from it at the time. In fact, one thing about our generation - my generation - is sort of an utter lack of suffering related specifically to a culture or the times. We are a lost generation. Nothing earth-shattering happened to fuck us up. No war that we were forced to fight. No disasters of mass scales. And yet there was this whole goth movement of people considering "being depressive" as being "in style", and self-mutilation via piercings, tattoos, etcetera, became more and more commonplace. What is it about kids these days? Huh? I guess some of that happened after my generation. I don't even know when my generation stopped, but I know it isn't now. I'm 38. Soon to be 39. My generation ended a good 15 years ago. When was that? 1992. When Clinton was elected. I guess I sort of feel like that was my generation too. But it was the generation of grunge music, and the backlash against all the conservative style and behavior and attitude that had dominated the 1980's. I'm rambling.
But where I wanted to get with this was that maybe because nothing bad happened to us... to my generation... we have a sort of emptiness. We never really had to bond together over anything. Or feel a pain associated with a bigger issue. It was a time for selfishness. I could go on and on about this. I guess I'll read it over and add more later...

So what's most strange about all of this is that despite the generation-gap, I turned out quite a bit like my brother and sister. We share a lot. I won't go into the details in this context of exactly what we share (other than our parents), but it's a lot. And I am sure I will discuss those very traits in myself at some other point.

So was it genetics? Or was it the common home environment? Who knows. I still wish there were a way to travel in time back to the 60's and see my brother and sister growing up. Or to travel back to the 30's and 40's and see my parents growing up. You can't touch it. No photograph will ever bring to life who these people were when they were young like I remember myself once being.

But never mind not being able to go back in time.

We can't even go across the dinner table and see the world from the perspective of the person with whom we share our meal. We see them. We see the meal. We experience it. But we only get to experience our half. We never get to experience their half. This subject I will continue...

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