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To know the difference

To know the difference

The aftermath of storm Charley left torrential rains and heavy surf pounding the beach including high tides. Before dawn on a dark and stormy beach in the middle of a very heavy downpour we were hunting and hoping to find beach erosion that would make good hunting. It did not turn out that way. The storm deposited sand on the beaches instead of the normal erosion you might expect. This was mostly due to the direction of the wind and waves.

This provided me with the time to draw some thoughtful conclusions about our hobby. The inhibitions that we build start in childhood. Webster defines them as the restraining action of the unconscious will. I have always considered that they are entirely good and are our last line of defense against the forces that compel us to do those things which we desire through lust, and desire for living uninhibited (much as an unrestrained animal) leading to our downfall. Now it becomes apparent to me that there is something that looks like an inhibition and acts like an inhibition but in actuality is nothing more than a lifetime of habitual behavior and not a safety net but a trap.

I can flatly state that until I reached the age of retirement that my inhibitions have saved me from many perils. I have a few outstanding examples in my life, when I was a young man, that I decided that I was too inhibited, that I should relax and have some fun. Well, that ended in big trouble quick! My sizable bank account sank like a lead balloon, my moral values(or what there was of them) did the same, I was overwhelmed with problems that I was not able to deal with. I had no one to help, especially my new crowd of friends that helped me slide lower. One shock after another hit me and I hardly had the strength to face the death of my father which happened shortly afterward. One day I began to take my first faltering steps back to life again and never failed to remember the object lesson. I think that we build inhibitions a little at a time like the child that keeps outgrowing its boundaries and sticks its hand into a fire and learns quickly that not everything the parents say is useless. Inhibitions are the like the quiet voice of our parents and friends warning us to be careful. If we desire to achieve goals in this life and preserve our assets, our family, our spirituality, and our dignity we must not break these little dams that hold a flood of mistakes from happening.

About this time you might be thinking what has this to do with metal detecting? My answer is that we get far more out of this hobby than dirty coins. I noticed as I grew a little older and maybe just a little smarter that it pays off to avoid doing those things which include a high level of risk or perhaps a moderate level of risk. In fact I was still building inhibitions that just about walled me off from living. We get so smug as we justify things like this to ourselves and over the years I cut down my risky road trips, and a lot of the silly things that I did when I was younger. I had seriously overlooked however, just how much fun living can be when we permit ourselves to break new ground and do things that may make us hyperventilate a little.

Think of the first time that you got your detector and went out to the park to look around. Remember those long stares that you got from everyone? That is enough to send many people back to the house to stay. In reality we have a lot to gain by pushing down some of the restraints that forbid us to enjoy a simple hobby. It was difficult for me after spending 40 years as an aerospace engineer sitting at a desk and not really getting out to do a lot. All my fishing holes were not available or the price of going fishing was getting far above the return. The big corporations bought up all the deer hunting grounds driving the price way up. I could see my world narrowing down from a huge spotlight to a tiny narrow beam and I didn’t like it, so as I was getting older I did just what every older guy does. I complained all the time bitterly about the things that kept me from enjoying the simple things again.

Now you can begin to see my point. The problem was within myself. What had worked for me in the past had become a web of my own weaving so that I got entangled and could not enjoy life anymore. I was instead becoming bitter and resentful. The day that I got my new metal detector and went out to the park caused me some difficult feelings. I felt that I should not display myself in the park grubbing in the dirt like some old man picking up tin cans but on the other hand I experienced a bit of a strange new excitement. The false pride that I had hung onto for years was in reality a fence. Well, thank goodness, I finally broke through and the excitement was strong enough to pull me out of my trap.

I do not feel that I was the only person to get into this kind of trap. Many women feel like they are “above” such things as grubbing in the dirt out in public. But trap it is, and my suggestion to you is give the excitement headway for a while until you can pull free too.

All this returns me to where I was with my wife before daylight this morning, in the heavy downpour rain, in the dark, working along a raging surf and having fun. Now I can laugh, I can look back only a few years ago and see what the old Norm would have thought about this. Boy, it would have blown his mind and he would have given dozens of reasons for not going! Have you ever gotten a little mad when some dummy tells you to “get a life”? Especially someone that doesn’t even know what life is? Now I really don’t have so much to loose as a younger person with their whole life ahead of them. Nevertheless though, when we are young we do the most incredible stupid and risky things. It is ironic at the least, because the older we get the more we cling to our habits and the things which kept us safe in the past.

The point is that we should know the difference in the inhibitions that are our safety net and the look-alike habits of false pride and false dignity that are the net that traps us in its tangle. I hope that this article has given you something to think about if you are still like I was, feeling trapped in a life that had become only a shell of what a life should be.

By all this I do not recommend that you ever should toss away any of your inhibitions. To do so will cause you great harm. Just know the difference as you grow older is very important and now I can thrill to the fresh experiences that life brings when most men my age are looking for the big chair to retire in. To know the difference is important! Break free and find fulfillment in your golden years instead of sitting around and boring your old friends with pictures of your grandbabies. You have a life to live!




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