When I was younger my cousin and I would spend hours and I mean hours after a night out of both fun and trouble in front of his house in my car discussing every topic that would pop into our heads. Looking back now, these mostly deep insightful conversations helped shape the men we are today. Both of us never had real relationships with our fathers and neither of us really had any decent adult men to look up to. So we just basically either learned from hands on trial & error experiences or we talked to each other to figure things out on our own. Something we always brought up was how someone else would always have it “easier” than us. I mean we had to figure out how to handle anything because that was the hand we were both dealt. But as adults today? We have a different take on it.
Today my cousin and I have our deep conversations in the kitchen of his house once his kids have gone off to sleep and the wine and tequila have taken over the table. And today the phrase he and I say to each other a lot is “the world you know” as opposed to discussing who has it easier than us anymore. That saying basically means you’re built to handle everything YOUR life has put into YOUR world. We all have to deal with problems on a daily basis. We all have jobs, bills, routines, problems etc. And it’s all you know. You can’t say someone has it “easier” than you as an adult. You just can’t. You don’t know what it takes to live my life everyday and I don’t know what it takes to live yours. I have no idea if your salary is enough to pay your bills every month. I don’t know what it takes to get the kids up, dressed, bring them to school, pick them up and help them with homework everyday. I don’t know what it’s like dealing with single life after divorce. I have no idea what the stress is like to have your front lawn replaced. Maybe someone in your life is dealing with helping out a sick parent. Maybe they even have health issues of their own that they are going through. Who knows? You just can’t do a comparison or an analysis based off of what you “see” and automatically assume that person or couple or family has it easy. That they’re living the life. Who the hell knows if they only have that big, beautiful house because both husband and wife work their asses off but are never even home to spend time in it because they’re always working. They never even get to relax in it. To enjoy it. One thing that comes with age is a sense of understanding. Even compassion to an extent. Having the ability to take a step back and say “Damn. This person is dealing with something here. It doesn’t seem like a major issue to me but maybe it is for them.” is a sign of growing up. Maturity. Respect.
My cousin and I can run the gamut with our conversations. They can go anywhere from old school ghetto East Boston to discussing a project or business venture one of us is embarking on next with almost anything and everything in between. But we no longer think anyone else has it easier because we now know that we’re each built to handle the world we know. We had it tough as kids and we both know there isn’t much we can’t handle but the level of respect, compassion and understanding that we now have for others makes me proud of the men we have turned into. That’s the world WE know today.
Until next time. Always take it there.