I’ve been all ginned up lately. I’ll get an idea in my head and mentally masticate it to shreds. Then I come to a conclusion and just say, “whatever”. The topic I’ve been stuck on/in is open mind/closed mind. It’s my feeling that as we age, we should be much more accepting, kinder, more open to new ideas, and awfully damn familiar with change. In my perfect world. This concept is shared by some of my comrades and will never be on the “to do” list of others. Which brings me to my final conclusion: you can’t change anyone else, but you most certainly can change yourself.
The change I’m talking about has nothing to do with diet or exercise. It has everything to do with who you are and how you treat others. When I divorced five years ago, I had no idea I would have to make a new life for myself. I thought that everything would be the same: friends, lifestyle, the whole enchilada. Ha! Wallowed in my million little pieces for a good long while, and then decided to do the dirty work, attempt to clean up my disturbing innards, and rebuild. Obviously still a work in progress. Two steps forward, one step back. But that’s okay. I won’t stop.
In my past, I was terribly narrow-minded, acidic, and just a big fat snob. Trust me, I had nothing to be snobby about. I was stuck in rut; trading on the fact that I and many of my friends were at least fourth- generation inhabitants of our city. The “correct” zip codes, club memberships, volunteer opportunities, gatherings, schools, likes and dislikes about most everything were my little world. Anything and anyone else was far-fetchy. This thinking didn’t make me happy, but it was safe. Rotten, but safe.
When that lifestyle safety net disappeared, I had no choice but to change my mind, or rather open it. Not my favorite exercise, mind you, but one that has brought me amazing new friends, more appreciation for some of the old ones, a new view of the city I live in, and a different way of living in it. I have had lots and lots of help. I can still be snobby – will never like pork rinds, monster truck rallies, green peas, and mean people. Sometimes I really struggle to be accepting, kind, and open to others. But I’m trying. So I have to remember:
- Respect others. They may think and live the polar opposite of me, but that’s fine. I must keep my eyes on my own paper.
- Do not offer an opinion unless it is requested. I have blurted out my thoughts about others too many times with horrendous, hurtful results. And karma is a bitch because I’ve been humiliated and hurt by “friends” weighing in on my life choices in front of big groups. Forgiven? Yes. Forgotten? Never.
- Remember the other person is an adult. If she wants to dye her hair purple, he wants to wear man panties, she loves a sherpa from Nepal, great! I’m all for whatever makes anyone happy. Their choice is …. their choice. It might not be mine, but who cares? I’ll chase my happiness and you chase yours. Win-win.
- “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” I love this because it is true. It’s real easy to be snarky to or about someone I have issues with. Not worth it. I’m no better than anyone else. Which leads me to the fact that….
- My record isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect so I can’t expect perfection from anyone else. It makes me absolutely crazy when I hear someone verbally murdering another person. And usually, the murderer doesn’t even know the person. I’ve verbally crucified people for no good reason. I don’t want to do that. So counter-productive to anything good.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was between a mother and a young daughter. The daughter was distraught because her best friend of the moment said ugly things to her in front of a big group of friends. The little girl was so upset. Her mother calmed her down and said, “Honey, you can’t let her bother you. When someone is mean and ugly, when she is unaccepting and critical, she’s unhappy. She doesn’t feel good. Just feel sorry for her and let’s hope that she feels better real soon.”
The ground is level. I can only change myself, but I can change. Oh, the possibilities!