In the army now

We’re in the Army now.
We’re not behind a plow.
We’ll never get rich, we’re diggin’ a ditch.
We’re in the Army now.

Welcome to the army.

Which army, you ask?

The Army of Second Adolescents.

Remember what adolescent means?  Remember how it felt?

Neither child nor adult.

Inner turmoil.  Vague anxieties.

Chronic feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, self-doubt.

Sound familiar?

Sure it does.

Everyone in the army feels that way.

We’re marching everywhere.
It’s getting in our hair.
We follow the rules
and follow the mules
We’re in the Army now.

Second adolescence is a stage when adults are supposed to find out who they really are.

As in first adolescence, you feel grown, but not grown-up.

You feel constricted by rules and expectations imposed on you.

Not by school, but by your job.

Not by parents, but by marriage and family.

You march through your days wondering just where you’re headed.

And, occasionally, if it’s worth the trip.

And you don’t like yourself much.

And you worry a lot.

And again life feels frustrating.

And again life feels unfair.

We’re happy as can be.
Have lots of company.
The cooties at night
Drop in for a bite.
We’re in the Army now.*

And just as first adolescents have their psychosocial tasks to complete, so do we in the army.

The main task we face?

To grow up psychologically.

To feel as adult as our bodies look.

To feel like this is our life, not someone else’s idea of the one we should be living.

To develop our own values and identity and spiritual core.

To love who we love — and dislike who we dislike — without fear or deceit.

To do our work, the work we were placed here to do.

To stop being controlled by fear and self-doubt, envy and the opinions of others.

To realize that our time here is not limitless.

That we need to stop planning and rehearsing and get on with it.

Get on with acting, finally, like just who we are.

Have you reached those goals yet?

(Me neither.)

So.  On your feet.  Fall in.

You’re in the army now.



*We’re In The Army Now,” lyrics by Tell Taylor & Ole Olsen, music by Isham Jones (1917)

* * *




4 responses to “In the army now

  • Simona

    I’m still in that stage.. Lol

  • alexis

    I think you’ve nailed it, Steve–at least, for me! The problem with conscious evolution [development] is that it is damn hard to effect it by oneself [our egos stand as gatekeepers, kinda like the fox guarding the henhouse]. On the other hand, almost NO ONE really wants to change [ego’s legacy!] so, finding partners-in-growth is a challenge. I guess you’d say, “Hence, therapists!”

    • Steve Hauptman

      Alexis, your comment reminds me of what Gestaltists call the Paradoxical Theory of Change:
      As long as you try to change yourself, you stay stuck.
      The moment you accept yourself as you are, change happens by itself.

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