The beauty of being taken for granted

You know what I like about being taken for granted? Everything.

My kids take it for granted that I will always stick by them. They also take for granted that I will let them make their mistakes. Just as I made mine in having them.

OK, joke. But there were times….

(If they’re reading this right now, they’re shaking their heads and saying, ”See what I mean? Another corny Dad joke!”)

That’s being taken for granted. If I were to crack a dry, New Yorker style joke, they’d probably all come home for the weekend to take final pictures with Dad, just in case.

Your “significant other” takes you for granted and vice versa. If not, your “significance” would probably be under review. Of course she/he still wants the surprise one-liner once in awhile or a present or two when least expected, but, neither of you wants to, say, forget a birthday or anniversary. That might ignite the “flight or fight” or “adrenal medulla” part of the brain, which, in turn, can activate the stupid part of the brain:

“I left your present at the office.”

“The dog ate the chocolates I got you.”

“Darn that florist! Next year, we’re going to Spain for our anniversary.”

Stupid lying is always a mistake. Ask any politician.

Some people think being taken for granted can be boring. There’s a case to be made for that, I guess. In today’s world anything but a constant adrenaline rush is unusual. On the other hand, remember when the morning headlines rarely included our President’s name? Remember when you had a chat with a friend and the subject wasn’t the President’s latest war threat, sex scandal or enemy? Remember when Presidents were boring?

Boy, what I would give for boring now.

Boring is good for digestion. For example, I try not to check the news until an hour or so after a breakfast, lunch or dinner. And I no longer watch most cable and TV news with breathless headlines like,  “Out of control fires!” “Five dead!” “The rain wouldn’t stop!”

I like PBS News because it’s too boring for adrenalin. (“There’s a new brush fire on the outskirts of Sacramento.” “Five people were killed in a robbery near East Jibip”. “The Phillies game was rained out”). Plus they use full sentences.

Research shows that stores sell more when they gin up adrenalin with loud music and brightly colored displays. Ditto restaurants and bars.  More adrenalin means more sales. Clever, huh.

Taking others for granted and being taken for granted can lower “fight or flight” reactions. That’s one reason people like dogs so much. Dogs take us for granted and we them.

Before he died, I took my French Poodle, Philo, for granted. No matter how many times I wrote about his French arrogance, he never left my side (of course, he never stopped turning up his nose up at me either).

I know some people who are more loyal to their dogs than their significant others. And for good reason: dogs commit until death; humans commit until divorce.

We humans judge everything and everyone. From caveman days forward it allowed us to discriminate between danger and safety, wisdom and stupidity, friend and foe. It allowed us to conquer all other species.

But we can overdo it. We can get petty and lose friends, or never get them. (That person is too fat.  Ugly shirt.  What kind of doofus drives a van. Community college just won’t cut it). And that doesn’t include race or religion.

I have a friend who decided to stop being judgmental about unimportant things, just for a week. Within a few minutes, she failed. So she decided to just try for a day. She failed again. Then half a day, and so on until finally, she tried to stop judging for just one minute. Finally, success. Slowly she increased the time to where, now, she can go for weeks. She has more friends than anyone I know. She’s happier than most people I know.

In relationships, taking and being taken for granted is a sign of love without judgment.  Happily committed couples may argue from time to time, may sometimes “gee” when the other “haws”, or not support the same baseball team. But they don’t judge each other or try to change each other, which is one reason why, according to research, happily married couples live longer than single people.

That’s the beauty of taking and being taken for granted.

(If you like this, pass it on. If you don't, pass it on anyway. Why should you suffer alone?)