What Are The Defining Moments of Your Decades

I was born at the end of a decade, just before a man landed on the Moon (… or did he?). I was a bit too young to appreciate that event, or be interested in it or anything else that happened then (including my birth… it’s weird isn’t it how our own birth is kind of an afterthought of our life story, and even if it becomes a big feature in our history we rarely remember anything about it and piece it together using other people’s subjective versions of what happened)…

however being born at the tail end of a Monkey Year (if you use the Chinese calendar), I did, many years later, appreciate the speculation about whether the whole first man on the Moon thing was staged or real.




Being a Monkey… I like puzzles, especially of the human complication kind.

But… is that true (that I like puzzles, especially of the human complication kind) or have I just made it true because I grew up in the land of human complications and to survive that kind of environment I adjusted my personal reality, forced myself to like something that perhaps I would not have naturally liked, made it a fun thing which I thrived upon rather than a crushing thing which would kill me.

What is my real personal reality?

This (the concept of personal reality versus reality as it might actually be beyond the human concepts of it) is something which has been on my mind recently…



excerpt of the intro to – The Case Against Reality: A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses – via The Atlantic

This is a fascinating interview, and treasure trove for those who like to explore alternate realities and scientific speculation.


… it is something that has always been on my mind one way or another, partly due to being born as the child of two people who consistently had different opinions on what reality was at any given moment… and my version of it in my first decade of life relied on theirs and theirs was never reliable. It kept changing, and could change during the course of one conversation – in one sentence the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and in the next sentence anything beyond the fence was desert.  The only thing they seemed to agree upon was that the rest of the world, society, other people, had reality all wrong.

These days parents like mine are known as Narcissists. But back in the day…

To be fair to them, when they were children the world was at war. Life was riddled with death. When the world stopped warring it out, whatever had come before was in ruins and rubble, and it was up to them to ‘think positive’, find opportunity in dystopia, and build something new with limited resources.

Destruction can allow for growth of an unprecedented kind… and it did for the generations who came before me, who made me a possibility.

There are many things which we now classify as a negative which wasn’t always seen or experienced that way. Our classification systems are always evolving as we do (not all evolutions are ‘positive’). When reality as we know it gets wasted… the cures we apply to that kind of hangover may have unexpected consequences which we’re not thinking through because we’re caught up in solving the pain of the moment.

When my mother gave birth to me she was given a pamphlet by the hospital which was supposed to help new mothers deal with the stress of owning a baby – one of the pieces of advice it gave her was to ignore the baby’s cries. It sort of said – babies cry all the time, mostly because they want your attention, if you give your baby attention every time it cries it’ll never stop crying because it always wants your attention, so just ignore it and it’ll learn to shut up, and then the only time it will cry will be when it actually is in real distress and needs important attention.

There is a certain logic to that… and while nowadays we’ve come to view that kind of logic and parenting advice as possibly being abusive… we also hate the whole concept of the ‘nanny’ state and how much it has made us all into ‘pussies’ (the kind of pussies which Clint Eastwood finds annoying and Dirty Harry might like to shoot).



excerpt from – PHYS org: Rampant narcissism and social cheating – the importance of teaching social evolutionary mechanisms

this is an intriguing article which explores the science of human interaction, and looks at issues such as narcissism through a biological perspective of sorts. It made me view my mothers approach to ignoring my cries when I was a baby from a positive angle… even though pop psychology would have me mither over the issue for the rest of my adult life.


But of course for every logical reason and explanation you find, every positive spin you can extract from something which has become a negative over time as society changes… and changes its mind, you can find a negative which may make just as much sense.

Like this perspective below which I came across while browsing an astrology article:



excerpt via Elsa Elsa: Boundaries and Neptune

This was an interesting read which made me go hmmm and reminded me of psychological stuff I’d explored decades ago about how your earliest experiences influence the rest of your life’s version of reality.

I have in my natal chart a T-Square (a hard aspect of tension and stress) between Neptune, the Moon and Venus – there are many ways to interpret this aspect, partly depending on what kind of astrology you’re using, how you use astrology, and how well you know yourself and your own story – perhaps this aspect explains certain hard aspects of my childhood and adult life. Or perhaps it shows something else – such as where you need to be extra careful about your perception of reality.

And yes, I know, astrology is a ‘pseudoscience’… frankly I don’t care because I’m an INTP.


It fascinates me to explore all the variables and alternate perspectives which can influence our belief in our version of reality as being the real reality… even if our version of reality goes against the reality of others, of our social group and circle, of our culture, country, and perhaps world.

For instance… yet again, while randomly browsing the strange territory of the internet

(where we often think it’s perfectly okay to insult someone and they shouldn’t take it personally because ‘it’s the internet’ and yet if we delivered that same insult in person we might find it hard not to empathise with someone getting upset… or we think it’s fine just to blurt something out to a stranger without introductory rituals, but if some stranger walked up to us in the street and said what we say to people we don’t know online… we’d probably punch them or freak out in some other way),

I came across an alternative view of issues like dyslexia, a view based on human evolution and the idea that many of the things which we now consider to be ‘disorders’ or ‘disabilities’ were necessities for human survival. As I searched for more of these alternative views…

which might be wrong, but maybe they’re right, does it matter since ‘right/wrong’ is a limiting parameter which is rather boring to pursue, far more interesting is the crack ideas like this create in the matrix of an accepted reality (which could be a relatively new accepted reality that we’re all clinging to as the only viable version of reality… just as our ancestors did before us to the realities we’ve since debunked and now enjoy scoffing at) wherein a different light is allowed to shine…

I came across this article:



excerpt from Scientific America: The Advantages of Dyslexia

Not that long ago I came across a site which claimed to help people ‘beat dyslexia’ like it is a disease rather than a differently wired brain, and on that site was a strong condemnation of the perspective that dyslexia could be a ‘gift’ – the person running that site seemed to think that once you tell people something is a ‘gift’ they lose all ability for logic and discernment (or maybe they were just against dyslexics seeing their brain as anything other than a problem). So reading an article like this is a pleasure because it offers options in the reality game.


If you consider your reality… do you know how it was created, what it is based upon, and why this version is reality for you?

How much of our version of reality relies on…

someone else’s version of reality which we’ve just accepted as our own? Just because a bunch of people believe that something is real… does it mean it’s real and we should believe it is real too?


memory? Have you ever investigated a memory of yours and tried to back it up with fact only to find that by doing so you completely change the memory until it is no longer what it was? Have you ever realised that memory is mutable, a changeable entity which only stays stable if we never mess with it… but messing with it can free us from a trap it has caused us to get stuck in.

Some of the defining moments of the decades of my life (did you think I’d forgotten what the title of my post promised that this post was about?) have been those where I realised something I believed was real wasn’t as real as I thought it was… and in those moments everything changed, reality was in flux and I had some say in it, in how the next chapter would unfold based on what I chose to believe as being real, as being reality.

I was reminded of this last night while wandering in the land of the INTP (my MBTI… which is surprisingly accurate considering how this system is just something which someone invented somehow, somewhere, and then made it a ‘real’ thing… or maybe we all made it a ‘real’ thing by participating in it, giving a skeleton a body, teaching it how to stand, then walk, then fly…):



excerpt from INTP Hates Everyone: Reblog with your type and story from your childhood

If you’re an INTP (or an INFJ – a type which features prominently in the ‘stories’ via posts on this tumblr blog) this blog is a goldmine of humor and moments of Hmmm (which are precious to INTP’s).


I’m still trying to figure out what the defining moments of my decades are… verifying my memories which have a tendency to suddenly vanish or shimmer like mirages in a desert the minute I focus on them.

And sometimes I’m just recalcitrant and reserved (I know it seems like I share so much… but do I? Do I really!?!) about sharing…

What about you?





  1. Food for thought here in regards to what does drive our thinking processes. Growing up with and being in a relationship with narcissists, I was early on trained that my thinking processes must be faulty as I was faulty and I was trained to distrust these. Very perceptive comment from Elsa on being a victim. Yes scapegoats must emit a kick me signal.
    I have had time now to hopefully distance myself from regular bullying at least and feel more into my thinking processes.
    Just recently, I have decided to acknowledge immediate perceptions throughout the day as having possibly validity or just worthy of acknowledgement through kind of feeling into the routes that various synapses created to get the end results.
    It’s complicated but I believe that we respond to much stimuli from outside the body, which the body even translates before it becomes mental. It’s these processes I am trying to acknowledge.


    • Thank you 🙂

      I love the sound of your new approach! That’s an awesome decision!

      I did something similar shortly after I realised that everything I had been taught and told, about myself and about those who were doing the teaching and telling, was make believe. I also grew up being programmed to see my thoughts, feelings and perceptions as being flawed and faulty. “Why do I always get it all wrong” was one of many affirmations I used to say to myself regularly until I realised that maybe I wasn’t getting it all wrong all the time at all, perhaps it was only wrong because it was a right trying to live in an environment which made that right become wrong. In other words – tell the truth around narcissists and your truth will immediately become a lie because your truth can’t live in a narcissistic environment without becoming a lie.

      If you’re stuck in a reality created by narcissists you have to disable yourself, dumb yourself down, switch off many of your perceptive faculties or alter how they work, turn nonsense into sense, rewire yourself to adjust to a crazy system which doesn’t allow for logical processes. Reason and logic can’t survive in a narcissistic reality, or at least they become obstacles to your survival in that environment.

      So when you’re trying to recover yourself from the mess which narcissists have made of you, you basically have to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. Everything you’ve been told is a lie, and the search for truth begins. The easiest way of doing it is to take each lie and flip it around, because narcissists live inside the mirror so everything is back to front.

      The quickest way of making yourself a scapegoat, particularly for a narcissist is to stand up for your self, to be as you are, to think for yourself. They scapegoat for several reasons, one of the main ones being their desperate need to control their environment (which means controlling those in their environment) as controlling their environment is how they maintain their version of reality which maintains their persona. If you stand up for yourself you threaten the fabric of their reality and their persona. They are hypervigilant for any threats to their system and attack at the slightest hint of something not being as they need it to be for them – scapegoating is a basic for of attacking a threat. It’s not dissimilar to how the immune system works.

      Best wishes on your journey within – it is an exciting place to explore!


      • That’s spot on! 1 totally insane trip growing up in their “let’s have fun with your sanity!” games.
        Like you say, 1 day you stop trying to make sense of their Mad Hatter world and realise you must escape at the first opportunity.
        Then you spend years having to learn and reconstruct a reality for yourself.
        When I finally realised that my intuition which used to scare the bejeezus out of them, was a pretty good yardstick, I learnt to sound it out more.
        I am still learning to learn and am interested in the various processes.
        I am definitely more right brain than left having practically no mathematical abilities.
        Luckily my Virgo influences give me good practicality though.


  2. I like what you say about dyslexia not being a disability at all. Could this be why you like puzzles? The patterning? I don’t think ADD/ADHD are disabilities either. My son, who was also diagnosed with dyslexia (and ADHD as well) had a lot of trouble learning how to read but no problems with a Rubic’s cube. Patience (and Harry Potter) addressed the reading issues and a boys’ school with lots of physical activity and shorter classes addressed the ADHD.

    The defining moments of my decades. I’m an outer edge boomer and too young for the hippie stuff. Interesting question. I would say that a lot of it was (as I was growing up, anyway) trying to figure out how things were supposed to work. Others seemed to “know” so easily. I was always a day late and a dollar short, or so it seemed. Took me a long time to get the social stuff – still not comfortable with a lot of it.

    Good post. 🙂


    • Thank you 🙂

      One of the articles I read suggested that ADHD was a survival skill which early human tribes, particularly nomadic ones, developed to cover all the multiple tasks they needed to accomplish to continue living and thriving. The more a person could jump from thing to thing, the more they increased their own survival rate and that of those of their tribe. There are some interesting theories and studies about ADHD and its possible causes. Scientists have linked it to a gene. This is an article on Cracked which loosely sums up (and links to) scientific theories on a variety of modern ‘disabilities/disorders’ – http://www.cracked.com/article_20905_5-brain-disorders-that-started-as-evolutionary-advantages.html

      It’s interesting to note that the rise of ADHD coincides with the rise in migration of people in modern times – perhaps certain aspects of our modern times have triggered old survival skills which may have been dormant. In the past few decades people have been traveling for work and for pleasure much more than in previous decades. It’s gotten to the point where we think it is unusual for someone to be born, grow up and live their entire life in one place. We change living places, houses, jobs, schools, relationships, (and many other things like – leaders, governments, rules, etc) frequently, we’re always on the move in one form or another, never really settling down anywhere in anything, so it makes sense that something like ADHD would be a prevalent aspect of our modern lives – yet with all our moving we expect stability and consistency from the world and those around us.

      I would say that all of our moving around has made socialising far more complicated and confusing for all of us. Our social circles are constantly changing and therefore the rules which apply to interaction also keep changing. Just when we think we’ve figured it out, it changes again, and often everything we thought was the correct way to be and thing to do, say, etc, becomes obsolete – this is particularly the case with those who are climbing a social ladder and shift from one social group to another, which has happened a lot in recent times. The big shifts which started post war have had huge ripples, that keep rippling like aftershocks.

      One of my defining moments came in high school when I realised the enormous effort required to ‘belong’ to a social group. What really struck me was the amount of fakery (as in pretending to be who you are not) needed and the dubious reward for faking it. Basically you could choose to adopt a persona which a social group required a person to have to belong and as long as you kept it up you were protected by that group and given perks for being ‘one of them’. Everyone in the group sacrificed their individuality to belong – so the entire social group was a bunch of personas built to belong together (who people were behind the facades had to be kept hidden for the sake of belonging to a group). It was a fragile ecosystem and I eventually decided to opt out as the emptiness of it was something which I could not ignore. I’ve often regretted that decision, but I think I would have regretted it too if I’d made the decision to go in the opposite direction.

      It’s interesting to see how many people consider themselves to be misfits, freaks and outcasts. There are times when I wonder if anyone sees themselves as not being those things 😉


      • Hahaha. 🙂 I think we might all be misfits; it’s just that some of us are more misfittier than others. 😉

        Thanks for the article – an interesting read. I’ve often thought that we go too fast to catch up with ourselves. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the protectionism that is on the upswing right now and how it really indicates that we so,so have a lot of growing up to do.

        The teenage “empty social group” is pretty common and one that many people experience as a rite of passage. I think that being raised by narcissists made us sensitive to fakery at a time in life when it’s normal to be sorting out values and principles. The mixed messages I was getting at home made socialising quite confusing, because at the same time, seeing my friends’ parents also taught me that there was a different way to be as a parent. I actually got a lot of guidance from others outside my family on how to be a person, but I was also very focused on getting out, too. My head did a lot of spinning. 🙂


  3. Your excerpt about codependency clicked home for me — I was one of those children who was ignored (in favor of my brother who was constantly in trouble and my parents were bailing him out). Just the idea of asking for something from someone makes me die a little inside. And people who demand things and who are entitled to things drive me nuts, especially when they are given things that I had to work for (note: dad buying my brother a truck when he got out of prison the last time, when I had five years of car payments). Through codependency and codependent enabling, this next generation of coddled snowflakes… I honestly dunno how they’re going to survive. I lived with one — zero survival skills. They had to be institutionalized during Hurricane Hermine all because the power went out for three days — yeah it was boring and an inconvenience, but nothing that would make you need to be put under 72 mandatory psych eval. People aren’t learning coping skills from experiencing adversity because they’ve never really had to go through adversity and learn those skills, which I find is more important as a child when you are still malleable, than as an adult when you are set in your ways.


    • There are always alternate ways of perceiving things, be careful that you’re not getting stuck in a view which ends up driving you nuts over and over again. For instance your parents do more for your brother and less for you because they trust you to be able to look after yourself and provide for yourself. They know you don’t need them. It’s the shit side of the flipped coin from one perspective but it’s also the shiny and better side from another perspective.

      Each generation grows out of the previous one, and things keep going until the world throws a giant obstacle in everyone’s way. In those times those who didn’t go the way everyone else went get to find out why they were singled out for a misfit’s path. The survival skills you’ve learned through all the adversity in your life are valuable for those who haven’t learned them yet but who are now finding they may need some of that – it’s up to you to decide whether to share or withhold. Sharing will be a challenge in many ways.

      We’re living in some very interesting times – it’s up to each and everyone one of us to figure out if that’s a blessing or a curse. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.