Thursday, February 14, 2013

Untenable

      I was listening to a friend of mine as she was sorting out some relationship issues.  At one point, she said, "If the situation were untenable, then I would know I would have to end the relationship.  As it is, it is not an untenable situation so I will just wait and see what happens".  I nodded my head in agreement because I certainly got the gist of what she was saying but I got to thinking later about that word "untenable"  What does that exactly mean?

     Untenable:  (adj) not able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection:  this argument is clearly untenable

      Interesting.  I used to think of untenable as unable to be captured or held.  I suppose this definition is like that. You can't hold on to something if you can't defend its existence.  Untenable suggests a balance sheet.  Something is untenable when the liabilities outnumber the assets.

     What occurs to me is that the older I get, the less I see things as untenable.  In earlier years, I let go of significant career enhancing jobs in favor of something else.  I sold a house in a desirable part of the country and moved my life to a brand new place.  I even let go of a marriage because it had become untenable. The balance sheet on all of these major transitions suggested that the situation needed to change.

     Now I think it takes a lot more for me to see a situation as untenable.  Perhaps that is because I have much more invested in my work, my home, my marriage and family, my life.  When I was in my 20's, I assumed I had much of life in front of me (and, as it turned out, I did).  Situations could become untenable because the long haul was, in fact, going to be a long haul.  Now?  Now, the time, energy, and attention invested in many situations make the asset column so much more crowded.  Untenable becomes less obvious.

   How about you?  Have you ever reached the conclusion that a situation is untenable?  Has your age affected your perception of untenable?






16 comments:

  1. I think my present situation at one time was untenable and I would have perceived it as such, but as time as gone by, certain aspects of it are no longer untenable but other aspects still are. Two years ago my husband quit his nice paying job to move closer to his parents in a house he would eventually inherit. We moved in with all their stuff here while they were in assisted living. It was "promised" we could dispose of what we didn't want but when hubby started to get to work to dispose of things, he was met with objections by his dad not to get rid of this or that. We literally had no room to walk from room to room but just a little pathway they had so much stuff. Long story short, the situation was terribly untenable at the time because there was nothing I could do about it because it wasn't my stuff, it didn't belong to me, it belong to hubby's parents and in turn him. Lots have changed in that they both passed at the end of 2011, we were slowly getting rid of things, but even now 2 years later, I feel I cannot get rid of anything of theirs without having to run it past hubby, plus there's the whole issue of him inheriting the house, my name is not on anything with it so if he passes before me and doesn't get it resolved, it will be a mess for probate. So yes, I think this present situation is a bit untenable.

    I do think on other things as I have aged it has changed my perception, but I'm thinking on this present situation it will always be untenable and that is sad because it has affected my relationship with my husband (and that's why I'm such an advocate of not holding onto stuff and making sure I don't leave the same mess for my child).

    interesting thoughts.......

    betty

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    1. I'm sorry that inheriting a house has led to such misery. I am with you on letting stuff go. It would annoy the heck out of me if I had to live in a house that was packed with stuff. Period. I would find that untenable. And something would have to change.

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  2. Great post, as usual. Fortunately I've never been in or had an untenable situation - at least I don't think so. There are things, jobs, whatever, that I've walked away from because it didn't work out or didn't feel right, but I don't think I'd classify those as untenable situations . . . just not fitting me.

    But, I think you're right . . . we do start to see things differently (more clearly?) as we get older. So who says getting old sucks??!!

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    1. I like that! Who DOES say that getting old sucks? Oh, I guess that would be me (I?) most of the time..... but sometimes I do find pieces of wisdom acquired because I have lived awhile.

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  3. As I got older my attitude changed, from one of confrontation to acceptance. I slowly figured out that things I was passionate about didn't really matter to anyone else, and if things changed or stayed the same it also didn't matter too much. So it would be best to say I mellowed and learned to accept things.

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    1. I think , for the most part, I have done the same thing, Joe. I am less intense now and happier for it. The energy and intensity of youth are wonderful but now I have some perspective and a broader view. Everything changes. I am learning to take life where it is. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Yes, I totally agree. Aging makes untenable, tenable. No ifs, and, or buts about it. Nice post, Sistah!

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    1. Thank you, big bro! xoxoxoxoxoxoxooxxoxoxox

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  5. I try not to see too many situations as untenable these days...I like to think that some sort of solution can always be reached :)

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    1. Sure, I get that. Perhaps I was impatient when I was younger. I'm not convinced that I am patient now as much as invested.

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  6. "Untenable' Is a concept that I have had little experience with. Every single thing is tenable but bunch them together and in a group they may become untenable. Contradicting desires, conflicting goals. One may have this or that but not both.
    Thanks for visiting my blog! and leaving lots of comments! You are my best buddy now! and as an X school teacher we can always talk about THAT!



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    1. I had fun visiting your blog! We can be best buddies and someday I will be an X school teacher too!

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  7. Untenable is one of those slippery words--so subjective and as you said definable in different ways for different people or even the same person at different times. I think you make a good point about the investment changing your standards of what's worth working for. I also think that the more experience we have, the more we understand that EVERY situation has its negative aspects so when we try to trade an untenable situation for something else, we may be just wandering into another field of untenability. We start to realize that while the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, we may be allergic to the fertilizer that makes it so or the extra bright green attracts particularly noxious pests, etc, etc. Or maybe I'm just looking for more excuses to stay in a semi-tenable situation myself. ;)

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    1. You are good at the metaphors, MM!
      I think you are on to something there - the older I get, the greater is my awareness that things are never perfect anywhere. I can trade in one set of problems for another or I can stick with the ones I know. Fancy that.

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  8. This post certainly resonated with me as I recently let a close friendship go because I was asked to do something that was, in my opinion, untenable.

    I think, as I age, it isn't that I'm less inclined to think of situations as untenable as much as I am less willing to engage in situations that have an obvious untenable outcome. Does that make sense?

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    1. It absolutely does make sense. Aging does bring some insights, for sure.

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