Peace, Love, the Ten Commandments and a “D” in Bowling

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll

You can’t really blame me, it was the 60’s, for Woodstock sake!  It wasn’t dubbed the Sixties Revolution for nothing.  So when I opened the college transcript I needed for applying to nursing school, you might imagine my surprise when I saw the “D” in Bowling.  I thought about posting the whole transcript here but 1) then I’d have to go to the files in the basement and, 2) it would just be too embarrassing.  The point is the “D” in bowling.  Naturally, I try to recall bowling class.  I remember what a long walk it was to the lanes, and how cold it was that semester.  Still cannot remember the class but I do remember going on a first date with a guy whose name I remembered almost everyday, for years, because it was imprinted on our showerhead. It was Sloan. We went bowling.  My score for the first game was 9.  No wonder I got a “D” in class.   My husband thinks I got the “D” because I probably didn’t go to class.  Whatever.  I think it’s hysterical and I still wonder how I missed it when I applied to Graduate School 15 years earlier.  Spreading the good cheer, I called our daughter and, still laughing, ask her “How in heaven’s name could I get a “D” in bowling?”  And her gently, smirky, almost whisper… “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll?”   Ohhh, I am so busted.

A Boomer Retrospective: 1968 give or take a few               earth from space

So before we face the New Year’s Eve Countdown of the Top 100 Hits of the Year, which, I confess I don’t do anymore, I thought it would be fun to take a little look back.  It also serves as an excellent stake to plant on our ‘life review’ timeline: who was I?  what were my struggles? dreams? aspirations? values? what was going on around me?

So in no particular order, here are some highlights:

  • Bowling
  • The Viet Nam War
  • Civil Rights Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson
  • Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In debuts
  • The Beatles
  • S&P 500 closes above 100 for the first time!  (100.38)
  • Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr were assassinated
  • 2001 A Space Odyssey
  • The First ‘Big Mac’ appeared and sold for $49 cents
  • Rosemary’s Baby premiered
  • 60 Minutes debuted
  • The Rolling Stones Jumpin’ Jack Flash
  • Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq, after a coup d’état
  • Jackie Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis on the island of Skorpios
  • National Public Radio doesn’t appear until 1970
  • The Viet Nam War

There was a LOT going on.

And…

And if, by some chance, none of these things affected you then it might be of value to know what did.  I was an idealist and a back-to-the-garden Mama. I was hoping for the best and planning for the worst; carrying responsibilities and having a lot fun mixed in.  In retrospect, that time was of great growth.  Particularly, because everything, from politics to relationships, to supporting ourselves, to becoming a parent, presented opportunities to challenge the ‘values’, or lessons we learned growing up.  It was ‘discernment’ moment by moment, as we constantly faced new things, long before I even knew what the word meant.  And…I really think that the values I have now, are those that were cultivated during that time.  So, in keeping with developing values, I share below.

The Paradoxical Commandments

I pulled this out of my personal archives – not in the basement.  Kent M. Keith first wrote The Paradoxical Commandments in 1968.  Enjoy.

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered.   Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.   Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.   Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.   Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.   Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest women and men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.  Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.   Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.   Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.   Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.   Give the world the best you have anyway.

Boomer Challenge

If you’re not a Boomer, pass it on to one.  These last years can be our big hurrah.  We may be getting older but we still have a lot to give.

Kent Keith wrote the alternative set of 10 commandments in 1968, when he was 19.  It was Keith’s attempt to motivate young people to make a difference in the world even as the world rejected those efforts.  He was a sophomore at Harvard University when he pecked away on a manual typewriter to create the list.  “There was a lot of conflict and confrontation during the 60’s”, he says.  “I saw a lot of people with hopes, dreams and ideas giving up. I thought, ‘If you go out and do what you think is right and good and true, you’re going to get a lot of meaning and satisfaction.  If you have the meaning, you don’t have to have the glory.” (Ithaca Journal 5/10/2003)

 

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