Invitations and the Modern Society Response. Does ‘our word’ still have the same meaning!

Today Rupert hosted his annual tabletennis tournament,The Emmett Cup . He has been doing this for 10 years now. Being a family that has always enjoyed the tennis, Rupe decided to have a few mates over one day during the Australian Open for a table tennis tournament just for a bit of fun. Since then he has married and moved out of home but we sill have it at our place on a yearly basis. Ted and I enjoy having it here. We love having the kids over and enjoying their company. They are a great group of men and women who gives us faith the world is still going in the right direction. They are all polite, well mannered and respectful. They are striving to be good community contributors. Studying at uni or in the early phases of their chosen and varied careers. We are proud of this young generation that gathers at our home annually.

I think it’s great that Rupert ever year puts himself out there and organises this function. It’s brave of him. Each year he sends out invites to varied different friends. Some work friends , longtime friends, or sporting club friends with an olive branch to anyone who they may want to invite to join in. He purely does it to be inclusive to get mates together. It takes work to keep friendships as you get older and to make new friendships. As old friends he tries to make a genuine effort to help keep everyone in touch. He values friendship and especially those that know you warts and all and stuck by you. He also likes to become closer and more bonded with those individuals who’s company he enjoys.

We need people like Rupert in the world. Those who extend themselves, organises social events. When you host a social event you are putting yourself out on a limb. Will it be successful, will people come. It can sometimes feel like a reflection of how you are valued in your friendships groups. Many of us fear rejection so much we aren’t prepared to do such a thing in fear it will be a flop. So I think it’s really great that Rupert is a strong enough individual that year after year puts it out there to have this mini tournament. There’s no prize money waiting at the end, no sponsorship deal it’s just an opportunity to have some good old fashioned fun that doesn’t cost anything monetary it’s all about connection. Getting connected, being connected, staying connected. Each year there’s new people who have never attended along with some who come along every year. Because of the nature of the tournament, individuals play against and with people they’ve never met.

This is great. Because the atmosphere is so relaxed everyone chills and just has fun. Every year people leave having had a good day even though they came sometimes only knowing one other person. And that other person is sometimes Rupert. Everyone else they are meeting for the first time but yet it’s all works well. Some have a swim, come inside watch the Australian Open on tv or play the play station, watch the match underway or just sit and chat to a friend.

This year we had it late due to being away in January. It’s a fun day. Girls and guys come but mostly it’s the boys that enjoy participating in the the relaxed tournament. Although it’s just a social day there is a bit of competitivness that comes out in most.

There’s plenty of laughs, sledging and going for the slam hit. We play singles and doubles and at the end the winners hold up the trohpy and give it a kiss. Their name gets engraved on the tophy with pride. This is one of lifes simple pleasures.

Sunshine, tabletennis, friends, a barbeque (snags in bread), and a few drinks. Ruperts friends jump in the pool and enjoy just all hanging out for the afternoon. It’s all smiles and laughs. You can have fun with friends without having to spend a lot of money. A few dropped out at the last minute which was fine. It’s always is a successful day overall. We missed some that couldn’t make it as we love their company and what they individually bring to the day but non the less we all enjoyed each other’s company that came along.

Rupert, his wife Sofia, Ted and I stand around after everyone has gone and discuss some modern day behaviours. He mentioned how some rang and gave their apologies for not being able to come that morning. Rupert says that’s how people roll these days. Things come up and people can’t make it. Rupert who himself likes to stick to his word accepts that this is the way of the modern world however, and says he try’s not to take the late calls of apology to heart as people now live busy lives.

Ted and I are more old school and we start talking about how in the past if you said you would be there you would do ‘what’s right’ and even if you woke up and felt like you couldn’t be bothered or if a more enticing offer was presented you would stay with your original commitment and attend because you’d given your word you would be there. That’s what in a generation gone by you did. You stuck to your word, your word meant something. It could be counted on. It’s the difference that has occurred as generations move on. As society evolves.

As the sun goes down and night falls I find myself pondering. Some societal changes  are for the better and think some have some swung to far one way. I discuss futher with Ted why he thinks it is how we ‘roll’ today.

Now its, yeah I will come but in your mind its a, yeah I will come but if I get a better offer I wont, or if  I have a hangover or just cant be bothered on the day I wont. It just seems to be what some think is the socially acceptable way. That we live our life in a more fluid state. I find myself thinking this over in my mind. Is this modern way, right, wrong, good or bad manners, respect or disrespect. Have we lost something that ‘our word’ no longer means what it used to.

Is it ok that we live our lives with this flexibility to do as we wish and not locking ourselves in to anything. Is it a sign of the selfish lifestyle and being ‘self obsessed’ society that the y-gens are being known for. It’s not just the y-gens, it seems to have filtered through to the masses now. Why have we as a society become like this. Is it because life is so fast and we feel under constant pressure that we need to take some control in our lives and being non- commital allows us that. Gives us an exit clause to jump of the merry-go-round sometimes. When we feel we need to stop and breath we can. When we have a downtime we really want to have downtime. Have we become a lazy society. That it literally is just to much effort to get dressed and make our way somewhere that sitting at home entertaining ourselves in front of the tv the easier option.

Has our self obsession resulted in lost emotional intellingence. That our need to meet our own needs has disabled us from understanding the reprocussions of our actions. That the person depending on us or looking forward to our company may be disappointed, that we don’t understand people are catering for our presence and would be going to some effort to have us come. Because others have done it to us we feel it ‘ok’ to do it to others and that becomes a domino effect. This behaviour becoming the norm and acceptable.

Do people live more for today. Perhaps we don’t plan like the past. There’s so many forms of entertainment we stay open to which suits us more. That we don’t feel the need for ‘you have my word, I will be there’. That we live our lives more fluid. That’s modern living. That’s as simple as it gets.

Society has seen a swing in the opposite direction. We used to perhaps to often do ‘what was right’ to keep up appearances to be seen to be a good person. If you didnt ‘do what was right’ it reflected poorly on you and subsequently on your parents and family’. An example would be where your parents would say to you you have to go its the right thing to do, if you don’t it will make you look bad and could reflect on us as parents or family. There needs to be a balance but we have lost the balance or never really arrived at it. As a society we swung to far the other way when we needed to settle in the middle somewhere.

I don’t think we should go because, ‘it’s the right thing to do’, to please people. We should go because you are living and being the best person you can. That you when you go to sleep of a night feel you have done what you think is right by you and others. That you are real. That you do things because it’s your moral code of right and wrong. I still say to my kids, you need to go to certain functions because it’s the right thing to do, because as a parent with young adult children I see it’s my role to guide them towards being good people as adults. Steering them in the right direction, ensuring they understand empathy, sympathy and manners, and how to live your life being kind, giving and caring and not fall into the trap of self obsession or narcissism.

When death comes knocking at your door on some idle Tuesday afternoon.

I reflect on Harry and how being a good person in his life helped us during his illness and with support ongoing to this day. He didn’t do ‘what’s right’, hoping one day if he was in a time of need people would help him and his family out. He lived his life by his own moral code of what’s right and generally tried to help people when they reached out to him or showed empathy and sympathy towards friends and family and of those less fortunate to him. After he died I had people tell me how Harry had impacted on their life. It was these type of comments. ‘ When I spoke to Harry he listened, really listened, I felt I had his undivided attention’, ‘Harry stood up for me when a boss was not being proactive in helping get a promotion. I asked him to put in a good word for me or write a reference and it really helped’, ‘Harry was such a fun guy to work with, we used to muck around but he always knew where to draw the line. Where stepping over the line would get us into trouble, he was fun but responsible’, ‘ I always respected Harry, he was a mans man and really good at his job. He could be one of the boys but was also a good operator, I really wanted to be like him’. He was well liked, sincere, genuine, enjoyed his job and took it seriously, had good work ethic and social responsibility of right and wrong in the community. And believed in sayings such as ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and ‘sometimes you are guilty by association’. He believed in aligning yourself with people who think like you and avoid people who will bring you down. That by your mere association with them you will be painted by the same brush. If you hang with people who do the wrong thing it reflects on you as well. Ted also lives by this similar principle and that’s to be inspired by those you admire. To strive to live by their integrity, their work ethic, the way they treat others around them, how they react in anger, how they manage conflict, how in general they conduct themselves as people. Let people drag you up, not down.

If someone has a snide remark towards you, dislikes you, makes you feel uneasy, bullies or trolls you, ask yourself, do I admire that person, do I want to be like that person. If your answer is no, then disregard the comments and disassociate. It if someone you admire because of their integrity and way they live their life, says something constructive to you, take heed.

Definition of take heed: take heed: Verb. take heed – listen and pay attention; Consider what’s been said and if you think it fair, consider whether you can learn from that or not. Let it help you in moving forwards.

Don’t live your life hoping others will be there for you, because that’s living with expectation. Expectation can be one of the biggest reasons we feel let down in life. Live having no expectations and live within your moral integrity, expect nothing back in return. This of course is easier said than done. On reflection ask yourself, when you have been let down in the past, was it because people didn’t behave in a manner you expected them to. You may be surprised the answer is yes.

Just doing because you believe it’s right doesn’t mean others will. If people feel bound to do what’s right because you expect it of them it may result in resentment from them rather than warmth towards you. You expected them to! Don’t be surprised when you call on their goodwill that it isn’t there for you if they themselves feel resentful for having to ‘show up’ or ‘do’ because it was ‘your right thing to do’ your moral code and not theirs. You can’t force people to live by your beliefs. Admiration and respect is earnt. It’s earnt but living by example and not expecting anything in return.

If you are admired and respected, that’s when people will do what’s right by you….. perhaps. Never expect because no matter how much someone admires and respects you, and even if they want to do right by you,  some days they can’t give you what you need. It may be due to mental illness, or other genuine commitments or that they are caught up in this self obsessiveness and are incapable of giving back at that time. If you are admired and respected, there is more chance people will be there for you. People are also products of their own environments, their upbringing and life experiences they may not see the world through your eyes and may never.

I have been guilty of lacking motivation on some occassions. I also have sometimes shyed away from going to an event when I don’t really know anyone because of my own social awkwardness. There’s the life is to busy senario where, we commit to to many invitations trying to ‘do the right thing’, instead of pleasing we find ourselves never really pleasing anyone. We attend an event to show our support only to arrive late and leave early trying to fit it into our busy schedule. We are trying to juggle life and find balance. We need to find balance and sometimes to have balance we need to say ‘thank you for the invitatiion but unfortunatley I wont be able to make it”. That may be better than saying yes and never intending to go or only go to ‘pop’ in and show your face feeling like you are showing some support. No matter how genuine you may be, it may be perceived as, ‘you couldn’t really be bothered coming have put little effort in doing so, you were late and couldn’t even stay that long’, and the other person has perceived your presence disingenuous.

This is a senario of how we may be genuine but not perceived that way. That we busted a boiler, turned ourself into a pretzel to get there, fought with a loved one because they were sacrificing something they wanted, for you , ‘ to do the right thing’ by someone else, and it blows up in your face. Your loved one is let down and so is the other person. Yet you have felt like you are giving your very best. Live your life doing, not because of expectation, but because it’s how you like to live your life and what you think is right and believe is balance. Stay true to you!

Quality over quantity. Being present, fully present can mean more than just a pop in sometimes. Its not about making numbers up its about being there because you really want to be there. Sometimes you truly want to show your support but your support and presence may be needed more elsewhere. That may be merely at home with your wife, your children and that’s just how life is sometimes.

If you are ‘doing the right thing’ even by your own set standards to the detriment of relationships close to you that may be self destructive. Spreading yourself so thin you have no meaningful relationships with anyone. As much as friendships are important and we need to nurture those relationships we need to nurture those closest to us more. The people particularly  that we go home to each night. Those who love us and are there for us on a daily basis. Utimatley those not in your inner most circle, they may come and go in your life no matter what level of effort you put into staying connected. Your loved ones, your wife for example or your husband or significant others, those friends who always have your back are the ones who without them our lives would be worse off, nurture those relationships the most. Your outer circle ultimatley wont care you are going home to an empty house. Their lives will go on with their partners and their own inner circle. I say be careful there. Keep the balance. Nurture the relationships with the people who are the most significant in your everyday life. That are really there for you because they want to be and love you. Not because they feel they should be or it suited them today.

In amongst it all remember you matter to people and your presence matters. They invited you because of this. Remember this when you get the invite but also keep the balance and if you genuinely for whatever personal reason you don’t think you can keep your word, don’t commit, but once you commit be genuine and keep your word where absolutely possible.

As members of society we need to evaluate what manners and traditions were good from past generations and work at holding onto them by living them for a better community and on an individual level because you are wanting to be the best person one can be. Because someone pulled out of your function and you felt disappointed think how you felt before you do it to someone else. It’s isn’t necessarily ‘ok’ to do it to others. Lead by example. Be the example but don’t expect back in return, but comforted by your resolve in knowing when you are gone you will have touched positivity on the lives of others you connected with and the world will be a better place because you existed. That your legacy will be that you did the best you could in trying to be a good person and in doing that some may have admired, loved and respected you and truely thankful for knowing you. Someone people hold fond memories of you. That’s all you should ask of yourself, that you are doing your best. And we all know as we put our head on our pillow before we close our eyes if we are ok with how we are choosing to live our lives. We may have made mistakes but that’s all they are, mistakes. Mistakes don’t define us. It’s how we move forwards from them that does.

These of course are only my thoughts. I’m not a trained psychologist or expert in anyway. I’m just pondering and thinking about the way I live my life in today’s world and what I stand for how I have moved on from poorer choices I’ve made as non of us are perfect. And ask myself, am I doing the best I can today?

Love Lucy x

 

 

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