Today is my 29th birthday. I spent the first part of it at an urgent care facility due to a terribly annoying case of bronchitis. But I’ve obtained an antibiotic now & a breastfeeding-friendly cough syrup, so hopefully I’ll be feeling much better very soon. Also, I burnt my tongue on a cup of tea on Thursday & it’s still incredibly sore. Lame.
Anyway, I know it’s typical to have rather mixed feelings about turning 29 as it is the last year before hitting the big 3-0, but to be perfectly honest I really couldn’t care less. I am just thankful to have such a wonderful husband & baby girl (who just turned one last week!) & so many wonderful friends & family. And aside from this bout of bronchitis I am grateful for good health. When I worked in the hospital before Rachel was born, I took care of patients younger than I am who ended up dying. So I really try to keep that in mind & realize what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to grow “old.” Besides, I’ve been “old at heart” for years now anyway!
On that note, today’s post might make me seem like a really crotchety old lady. But I don’t care because I think this topic needs to be discussed.
So yesterday it came to my attention that Rob Gronkowski, commonly referred to as Gronk, of the New England Patriots committed what basically everyone agrees was a really dirty hit on a player from the Buffalo Bills. That unfortunate player is now under observation for a concussion. What’s really crazy about this whole scenario is that Gronk was not suspended from the game for his misbehavior, & as of this writing he has not yet received any punishment from the NFL. Naturally Gronk has come out & blithely apologized for this hit, trying to say he was just acting out his frustration.
But here’s the thing: an apology isn’t enough! Gronk is a grown man (just shy of four months younger than I am, in fact) & he gets paid millions of dollars to play a game for a living. Admittedly I have no idea what it’s like to be play professional football or to be a veritable barrel of testosterone as Gronk surely is, but nonetheless I don’t think there is any good excuse for willfully hurting another player the way he did, no matter how frustrated one is.
But the truth is it won’t shock me at all if Gronk receives no real punishment for his behavior because it seems that nowadays anyone can get away with anything. I mean, just last week an illegal immigrant who has been deported multiple times was declared not guilty of murdering a woman in California when it seems pretty clear he was guilty of manslaughter at the very least.
What I’m getting at here is this: our society has come to the conclusion that no one is ever really responsible for anything. It’s always someone else’s fault. Your kid didn’t get straight A’s? Must be the teacher’s fault. You’re overweight? Must be the fast food industry’s fault. You treat your spouse/SO like crap? Must be your parents’ fault for setting a bad example. I could go on & on but I’m sure you get the drift. Is it wise to be aware of the ways in which society influences individuals? Absolutely. But the problem with blaming someone or everyone else for our every misdeed is that when everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. How can we ever expect the world to change for the better if no one ever takes responsibility for their actions? How can we affect positive change in the world when we’re all busy blaming everyone else for our problems? The answer is we can’t.
I’m reminded of a lamb of god song called Delusion Pandemic off their latest album. You’ll have to excuse the “profanity” but these lyrics from Randy Blythe are harsh but true & are exactly what I think our world needs to hear right now:
“Now is the moment that everything can change
You are completely responsible for your own life
And no one is coming to save you from yourself
So stop blaming your problems on any or everything else
It does not matter one tiny fucking bit
How unfair you think the world is, it’s only what you do
Right here, right now
Right this fucking instant that matters
It’s your choice to
Sink or swim”
Just to be completely candid here, I realize I am far from perfect. I have plenty of faults (including being a good 20 lbs overweight at the moment) & I am as tempted as anyone to find excuses for them. But the older I get the more I realize how useless that is. It’s very easy to live with the comfortable notion that you can’t really change your life because circumstances are beyond your control. But that’s called stagnation, & I for one am not content with that. If I want to change my life, it’s up to ME to do it because I’m the only one who truly CAN. Is that scary? Yes. But it’s also incredibly empowering.
The same is true for you. Stop the blame game. Get over the victim complex. And make the most of your life, knowing you & you alone are truly responsible for your actions & the consequences thereof. If each of us took that mentality, I’m quite sure we would see a great deal of positive change in this world.
I’ll end with another empowering song, Do You Really Want It? off of Nothing More’s recent album The Stories We Tell Ourselves.
You gotta dig up the past to get past this
You gotta get ripped apart to see why you’re breathing
(To find your reason)
So I can shake these American demons
Ohh, gimme, gimme, gimme
Everybody wants to change the world
But one thing’s clear
No one ever wants to change themselves
That’s the way things are