When I was younger I would get absolutely outraged by perceived injustice...things that shouldn't happen, couldn't happen, not in this or any universe, and yet they did! Now, as I get older (almost 46 now) I find that not much surprises me anymore and my reaction to those very things that "ripped me out of the frame" when younger is much more measured...some might even say, "muted." Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't feel strongly about injustice, discrimination, or the overall absence of civility in our society... I DO! It's just that I've come to expect such things and realize now that there is very little I can do to stem the tide of these terrible societal traits. All I can really control is my reaction to them and how I can seek to keep them at bay in my own little corner of the world. Really, that's all any of us can do. Being a southern gentleman is not easy...although now that I've become more temperate in my middle-aged life, I find it much more tranquil and even more appealing (You see, being a "gentleman" doesn't mean that you don't feel strongly about things...quite the opposite...many gentlemen I've met over they years have been some of the most spirited and opinionated I've ever encountered, but as a "gentleman" you must, at all times seek to control your reactions, which is an exhausting exercise when you're full of youthful exuberance.)
Now, along with this "mellowing," I have learned to take great joy in the simple things that I can have some degree of control over...my garden, my interaction with my friends and family, the effort I put into my work, what I choose to eat (life is too short for bad food...or bad wine or bourbon for that matter), what shotguns I choose to use, what clothes I choose to wear, and most importantly how much time and effort I will put forth in furthering my relationship with my God! These are the things that I now focus on...I will no longer sacrifice my time with my wife and son for the sake of a business convention...I will not take unnecessary time away from my "life" in the pursuit of more money than I need, for as my grandfather (who was a mortician) told me..."David, never once have I hooked up a U-Haul behind my hearse."
I can always say I wish that I'd discovered all this when I was younger, but you know what? I knew it then...it's not some critical piece of knowledge that had been missing for the past two decades...it was there. I just had to arrive at a point where it made sense. I'm blessed that I lived long enough to get here..