Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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Life is pretty amazing. I turned 80 today -- and it feels surreal. Just yesterday I was young, raising my three kids. Now, I have 5 grandchildren ages 3 - 12.
I remember the hard times, and how lonely and sad I felt. Growing up on a farm, working every day, being bullied at school -- these circumstances seemed very challenging to me. I don't know how I made it through.
Married 3 times. Each time, I had my reasons. My reasons changed over the years, and I am grateful I got to start over. Endings were not easy -- but they needed to happen.
I have succeeded in many ways. Got a Ph.D. at 25. Taught for 40 years at a reputable college.
Published three books, one of them winning the Minnesota Book Award and the Catholic Press Association Award.
I have led numerous men's and boys' groups. I have presented 300 or more workshops on shame, male socialization issues, spirituality, healing, and transformation.
So -- all these successes. All these opportunities. All this overcoming.
And I am in pretty good health. My doctors and pharmacists know my name, and always help me cope with any health issues.
I have 40 good friends. I have known several of them for 20 - 48 years.
So -- what have I learned? Here are a few items to note:
Be grateful for the good stuff.
Put out the good stuff as much as possible and let go of the results.
Stop caring about what others think of you.
Don't expect perfection -- from yourself or others
Grieve all the sadness in the world.
See yourself as a walking miracle.
Forgive everyone, including yourself and life.
Trust -- but do it selectively. Not everyone is trustworthy.
Listen to the depth of others.
Don't give much advice.
Laugh and smile as much as possible.
Don't get overly involved in social media.
Pay attention, be mindful.
Love nature, animals, birds -- the earth itself.
Connect spiritually in ways that work for you.
Realize that not everyone is ready to grow.
Stop judging everyone and everything.
Realize that sometimes the biggest disasters created the most learning oppotunities.
Love yourself, even when you mess up.
You are as young or old as you feel -- age is just a number.
Let go of the need to "be right."
Life is both simple and complicated. We are still learning.
Enjoy food, sleep, companionship.
We are more alike than different.
Dance and sing whenever possible.
Dr. Michael Obsatz
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The Art of Driving Kindly
You can tell a lot about a person by watching them drive a car. There are aggressive drivers, timid drivers, cautious drivers, thoughtless drivers, distracted drivers, and hostile drivers.
Some drivers tailgate, following so close that a sudden stop could cause an accident. Some of these drivers almost want you to get out of their way so they can arrive at their destination five minutes sooner.
Some drivers refuse to let you merge onto a freeway or highway. Some don't even see drivers on the on-ramps. Others won't speed up, and still others won't slow down. Where do they think you'll end up if you can't merge -- on the shoulder, orin a ditch?
There are drivers who never signal their lane changes or turns. Or, if they do, it is right as they changing lanes or turning, not before. The purpose of the signal is to courteously let some other drivers know what your intentions are in advance so they can be more aware of what is coming up. This is not rocket science.
Some drivers behind you honk their horns loudly the second the red light changes to green. They are the impatient ones who want immediate responses. There are also the drivers who aren't paying attention to the light at all. They are busy texting or talking on their phones. They can't be bothered with moving forward when the light has changed to green. They just sit there. And the light changes to red again.
I believe there is an alternative to Road Rage, and that is Road Compassion. Keep a safe distance, keep to the speed limit, let someone else merge by slowing down. Be kind, be gentle, pay attention. You have a potentially deadly weapon in your hands.
In order to have Road Compassion, a person must genuinely care about ALL the other drivers and passengers, and want safety and consideration for all of them. Is that too much to ask?