In the subculture I was raised, children were expected to behave and think like ladies and gentlemen — be kind to others, do not curse/swear or act vulgar, treat elders with respect by listening to their advice, stand/sit up straight, get good grades in school and be mindful of your neighbours’ expectations of you and yours of them — for any vice you choose to exhibit, do so in moderation and you will be forgiven for minor character flaws.
Parents were expected to instill a sense of social allegiance in their kids, smoothing the rough edges, redirecting psychological anomalies toward the greater good of the subculture — those who rejected the subculture were welcome to leave and visit for the holidays or other brief encounters.
By having the pressure relief valve of a clear exit plan for those who rejected or were rejected by the subculture, internalised anger issues were kept to a minimum.
Even within the subculture, tolerance was a variable that allowed for acceptance of some whose initially rejected character flaws were deemed redeemable.
For years, I’ve lived in a kind of purgatory, wanting to make people in that subculture feel as if I, too, desire nothing more than to perpetuate the unwritten rules and relationships of the subculture, while at the same time holding beliefs that run counter to the subculture or don’t bother to recognise human culture as more significant than the role of any Earth-based lifeforms in the universe.
Simply by reading the posts in social media of the friends/acquaintances from my childhood can I quickly ascertain how well I have maintained my pushme-pullya life in purgatorial self-exile.
There is something to be said about the happiness I feel when I hear that people still consider me loving, compassionate and a ham (having a sense of humour).
In no way do I want to deter that feeling in myself or the thoughts of others in that regard.
At the same time, I want more than what that subculture has provided me in the general sense of the WASP life.
Because I want nothing more or less than to ensure we devote sufficient resources to [re]establish Earth-based lifeforms on other celestial bodies, I know what I want does not directly conflict with what my childhood subculture desired for me.
A strong pull within me aches for the safe, secure life of a parent with happy children whose spouse also wanted offspring and looks forward to [great[great]]grandchildren, if we should live so long to see them.
Statistically, safety and security is not guaranteed but can be financially prepared for if less than safe, secure conditions interfere with planned happiness.
What if my dreams and aspirations interfere with the safe, secure life I have right now?
How important is an imaginary comfort zone compared to that last sentence?
Tomorrow is one more day of rest before, on the sixth sol of this marsyear, I prepare plans for my next creations, whatever they may be, to put life on Mars, on the Moon and elsewhere in the inner solar system.
Of course, we have a simple question to answer once again: what is life?