I come from a family of deep-thinkers and music-lovers. So, as I was packing up all of the gear for a trek to visit our more rural family, my hub had a holiday “rap app” sending hip hop Christmas cheer into our home.
Wait, did I say cheer? As the hub took our presents out to the car, my daughter and I were all of a sudden listening to Merry F- ing Christmas by Snoop Dogg. My college gal started laughing; but, I went into an immediate tailspin, most likely induced from many years of faith-based certitude training telling me that everything this dude rapped about was W-R-O-N-G.
As I look back on that moment, I can now smile. But, at the time, I was gripped. Everything in me shouted, "this is not normal!" Yet, I've also managed to make it "over-50", and I have also lived deep in a variety of community settings. In my beloved Midwest with a combo of urban, suburban, college and rural towns, plus a season on the West Coast. From all of these varied life experiences, I have seen many that have lost hope and, “Merry F-ing Christmas” has become some people’s holiday “normal”… I think of those left in stacked poverty, those who have no family support or mentors, those in prison, and those who’ve just been dumped by a significant other.
I’ve also learned that what each of us have come to know as “normal” is a combination of a lot of things. And, as I spelled out in my last blogpost, my “normal” is most likely not another person’s “normal”. We all have vastly different heritage stories; and, life in a globalized world now adds many more layers and complications!
When we arrived at our holiday destination, my daughter and I had another long chat. I was ragging about words we heard a young gal saying at a local restaurant. How what came out of her mouth probably did not sound nice to the older-types sitting at the table next to us. “Mom, you know those words are probably just her normal. And, you also know that there are words that you don’t always understand when speaking with my friends." Busted! She was right. The meaning of words and social mores change, and they take on their own twisted layers within each generation.
For many, these scenarios could give bigger opportunities to engage in conversation with those younger than us, or those not just like us, dependent on how we react... Are we indignant, wanting to give a piece of our mind; or, are we curious, giving a person a chance to share their story? In this restaurant example, I really did not choose my words very well with my daughter.
How do we honor each other in a world where words can quickly change meaning and “culture” changes from door-to-door? It’s so difficult! Difficult to navigate layers of changes, difficult because change is rarely comfortable, and especially difficult for those of us in the second half of life. With aging and acquiescing to our own normalized lifestyles... well, let's just say that everything in the brain screams louder for your own version of entitled comfort!
Living within so many different settings has gifted me with the ability to see that both words and systems work different for everyone. I also have learned that many situations can become much clearer when you can "own" your own related indoctrinated heritage ways and it's accompanying “garbage”. Everyone has this! So, admitting this "stuff" can be very freeing. With this type of ownership, reactions to others stories or songs can then be given better pause... pause to ponder deeper and ask life-giving questions.
You won't find me choosing to live in an over-50 gated community for this second-half season of my life. I love America’s young people and the way they are gifted to think. They help pull me out of my “stuck in the mud” ways and constantly push me to broaden my perspective. Plus, I am always challenged to own my “stuff” and rewire my indoctrinated thoughts. Hopefully, I will continue to get better about responding with good questions… rather than spouting off my mouth with an opinion based on my personal biases and assumptions.
Hope your holidays have been good and your music has been inspiring...
And, cheers to a New Year of new questions and responses!