Achieve Your Dream But Not At The Expense Of Others

During my entire life, our society has worked towards increasing the empowerment for those that historically were not in that select group that was empowered. I am now in the demographic group that was considered to have the power, and I have always supported the idea of equal opportunity no matter what.

My idea of equal opportunity is just that, similar ability to achieve your dreams but at the same time, your ability to be a victim would decrease so the nation since you were part of the solution. To get to this point it was imperative to level the playing field was leveled, helping hands were provided, and other efforts applied to shatter the so-called glass ceiling which impacts many demographics.

So, we are nearly twenty years into the 21st century, and it has been fifty years since the 1960s when this experiment in life honestly started. As a believer in these lofty goals, I must ask what happened or even better yet who twisted great intentions into a political hammer that has split our country into so many fragments.

In less than a lifetime, I have seen so many barriers that prevented upward mobility removed and at times replaced with what appeared as preferential treatment. As demands become more militant, it is harder to justify based on historical wrongs. I must question our actions.

I maintain my belief that our actions were sound surrounding our goal of greater equality and we still have a ways to go. On the flipside, I am not clear why it is acceptable to reap the benefits of progress but scream even louder about being a victim. Being fifty plus I recently experience the gray ceiling when I lost my job, burned through my savings, and was blessed to find employment that took advantage of my skills finally.

I do not believe this is a generational thing but truly think it is the last gasp of the 1960s radical minority that has embedded itself in so much of society and knows that the clock is running out for them to achieve the desired anarchy they have promoted. Of course, I could be wrong, but I believe it is incredibly coincidental when you compare 1968 and 2018. In 1968, we the divisive politics and the Vietnam war sparked the flames and in 2018 years of divisive politics and Middle Eastern wars ignited similar flames. 

I was a child in the late 1960s but I will never forget how the media and politicians drove divisiveness and they are doing the same thing today. Again, I may be incorrect, but the feeling of helplessness is very familiar. 

So, the middle-aged white guy is complaining about how unfair and fragmented the world is, and you know what, I am because I am concerned about how politically correct we have become as a nation, and I am not sure how we are going to stop it. I believe we need to treat everyone with respect no matter who they are and there should include humanmade limitations for anyone to accomplish their dreams.

Contrary to many opinions, some limitations are not humanmade that may prevent the accomplishment of your dreams but in today’s environment that appears to be a disputed opinion with a simple solution of lowering the standards to achieve these dreams. Perhaps that is acceptable for some goals, but I want stringent standards if it is for my protection or could impact my life.

There are also unrealistic dreams that many promote such as paying employees in the fast food industry more than our underpaid armed service members, but what’s wrong with wealth redistribution right it helps them achieve their dreams. Come to think about it, communism was similar to philosophy, and we all know how that worked out. 

My grandmother, mother, and wife worked full time earning wages that were below a mans pay in a comparable career, so I am onboard with equality. I am happy that my daughters pay to a mans pay so I know we have made progress leveling the playing field. I believe we still must improve but also think it is time to stop throwing the victim card on the table.

We are not out of the woods in this area, but I am getting tired of the drama and wish people work as hard at tearing down the walls instead of building divisive fences. Of course, it is only a minority that does this, but screaming the loudest makes you heard.

  • Just some thoughts and I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Being fifty plus going on fifteen can be frustrating but I am impressed with the amount of progress we have made during my life.

Have a great one, Jay

Life Tidbits #7 – Submarine Life – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

When people find out that I rode submarines and retired from the Navy over twenty years ago, they either say “they could never do that” or “what was it like” and I would like to provide a quick documented overview.

Being obligated to maintain secrecy on specifics, I will be able to give you a taste of submarine life and perhaps down the road I will write some imaginative stories about submarines during and after the Cold War. Service on a Fast Attack Submarine was much more fun during the Cold War than after the Cold War when excitement revolved around carrier escorts and NATO operations.

I walked on my first submarine right after it completed an overhaul period, so the crew was very green since crew turnover occurs every three years or so. We did have our veterans on board that gained experience on the boat I was assigned to or transferred from a different submarine. The early 1980s were a period that we were trying to get to a 500 ship Navy so if it floated; the submarine was commissioned.

The first time you walk onboard a submarine, two things impact you. The first item is the smell of the boat, and I would be remiss if I did not confirm there is a reason they are called pig boats (no disrespect meant for pigs). The second item that hits you is these lack of space during normal operations and less during deployments.

There were many things that most people would consider abnormal that happened on submarines but when you stick 120 plus people on a vessel 350 feet long and around 30 feet wide with berthing that only supports 90 or so it is an abnormal environment on the most normal of days.

When you arrive onboard, you must complete a pile of qualifications that you are expected to accomplish to perform your primary and secondary jobs and also earn your Dolphins. Qualifying for your Dolphins requires that you learn about all submarine systems and how to combat casualties if and when they occur. You were typically given a year to earn your Dolphins, and once you received them they were pinned on your chest, and everyone tacked on your Dolphins. I doubt this is acceptable anymore.

When underway, days were 18 hours in length not 24 hours in length and an underway day usually consisted of six hours performing your primary job, six hours performing secondary responsibilities and preventive maintenance on equipment, and six hours of personal time to sleep, read, watch movies, and be involved in ships drills. You were usually lucky to get 4 hours of sleep during the eighteen hour day, but it was better than being a Nuc.

Before getting underway, you would load stores which are the equivalent to ordering ninety days of supplies from Amazon for 130 personnel, having it dropped off on the pier, and you had to load and store everything onto the submarine. The nearly six foot high passageways and berthing areas would have canned goods stacked at least one layer high reducing ceiling height, and you would use every open space for critical items (toilet paper, dry foods, spare parts, etc.) It was always fun through cases of food at others as we were lined up from the pier, across the brow and into the boat interior to load our stores.

You knew the day and time based on the food you ate. The first week to ten days you would eat all the fresh and perishable foods. Once you ran out of new and perishable goods, you ate frozen and canned foods for many months to come. Many of these meals had colorful names such as “acid rain spaghetti”, “Nairobi trail markers,” “puss rockets,” etc., but my favorite meals were Friday lunch where we had shrimp and mac & cheese and Saturday midrats where we had pizza for Casino Night. 

Showers and laundry were always a challenge since most of the water produced went to the nuclear reactor and cooking, so you were able to use 30 seconds of water to prep to suds up and 30 seconds of water to rinse when showering. You could do laundry as needed but many times you would need to wait a week plus to wash the limited possessions you had due to water conservation. The longest we went without showers was about two weeks when the evaporator broke down, and we did not have parts to fix it. The boat was a bit ripe when we pulled in.

Submarines used a unique method of assigning berthing (sleeping) space. Racks were smaller than a coffin, and you had a three-inch tray to store everything you need for the deployment if you had your bed. If you were a junior crewmember, you would typically hotrack which is sharing berthing space with at least one other sailor where you would have half the space to store what you own and take turns sleeping in the rack. Of course, you had your bedding so it was not as bad as it could have been.

We made our oxygen, water, electricity, so it was much like an all enclosed community that was a few hundred feet under water. We also had our sewer systems, garbage disposal methods, and continuously cleaned the boat since you never knew who may pop in when you were below the ocean surface. 

A small taste of what I did for many years while in the Navy riding submarines and I do not regret the life I lived, friends I made, and experiences I had. The memories are etched in stone, and I will never forget the fun we had during angles and dangles, during on station operations, and when we pulled into port and lew off some steam. I am sure we would not have met today’s PC requirements, but we did not harm anyone that I know if.

  • So what questions do you have about submarine duty?
  • Did you experience a similar environment during your life?

I sure love being fifty plus going on fifteen and appreciate your stopping by.

Have a great one,


Can Do, Can’t Do, Won’t Do – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

The week is in the can, and it has been a challenge when it comes to Can Do, Can’t Do, and Won’t Do. I have always had the attitude of Can Do no matter the situation or odds, but this week I was challenged by many individuals with apparent goals of Can’t Do and Won’t Do.

What is Can Do?

Can Do is knowing that there are no walls that can prevent you from accomplishing your goals. You either climb over, go around, dig under or break through the wall to achieve your task.

  • If there is not a torpedo in the water, there is nothing to worry about, and there should be no reason we cannot accomplish the challenges that are in front of us.  No reason at all.
  • Can Do takes drive and devotion. Not everyone has drive and dedication, but both are contagious when you can energize those around you a Can Do atmosphere.

There are many ways to describe Can Do, and some of them include.

  • Gung Ho.
  • Eager.
  • Willing.
  • Will Do.
  • Go-Get-Em.
  • Enthusiastic.
  • Optimistic.
  • Overachieving.

I like the simple term of Can Do.

This week I experienced much Can’t Do and Won’t Do, and in my mind, there is nothing more devastating to moral than these types of attitudes.

  • Can’t Do is justifiable since the individuals believe there is a reason Can Do cannot be accomplished. In these situations, you can motivate through enlightenment, and there is the potential to turn them into Can Do believers. 
  • Won’t Do is an entirely different situation where the individual usually is close-minded and will not listen to any reasoning. When this situation occurs, efforts to motivate or enlighten are limited, so it is doubtful you will make them into a Can Do believer.

Our world would be much different if it wasn’t for Can Do people.

  • We would still be driving around in buggies if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were in charge of new product development.
  • Man would not have traveled to the moon or sent probes to deep space if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were leading our space program.
  • Immunizations would not be available if Can’t Do and Won’t Do people were responsible for our health care.

The list goes on and on about how our world would be different if Can Do people did not exist, and I am proud to call myself a Can Do person.

I am going into a new week, and I will once again battle with Can’t Do and Won’t Do attitudes. I believe I will break down some of the walls and make progress, but it is still a battle I wish I did not need to wage. 

  • What are you? A Can Do, Can’t Do, or Won’t Do person? Did I miss any?
  • Do you deal with similar challenges? How do you react to these challenges?

Being a Can Do person when fifty plus going on fifteen is a good thing. I hope I never lose this desire to win, but we will see.

Have a great one and thanks for stopping by.