The eldest and I went for a walk the other night and somehow got to talking about Traumatic Teenage Events and how they tend to stay with us over the long haul.
Seventh grade was the most challenging year for me. I was tall – all knees and elbows and pointy bits – and although I had a few good friends in my circle I mostly lived inside myself. I was at a new school among kids who knew each other from kindergarten. I wasn’t one of the pretty girls. I was one of the smart girls, which was somehow a breed apart. I felt like I was born to the role of The Observer, to hover on the outskirts taking everything in but never really being a part of it, whatever IT is. As I type that out I realize that this is a part of me that never really changed although I’ve learned to accept and appreciate it.
Looking back, I think the 40s are the best decade, at least, the best so far. I can honestly say that no longer care about being one of the pretty girls because along the way I have collected some things that are more valuable than smooth knees and perfect hair, things that no one can take away from me. It’s taken me a long time, but I now know myself, and this is no small thing.
1) I know when to say no, and that it’s ok to say no. My time is my own. When it comes down to it, that’s all I really have.
2) Related: I don’t accept bullshit.
3) I know what fuels my fire, whether it’s brain food or eye candy or a giant salad. And I know that if I don’t care of myself, I suffer for it.
4) I am more mindful of the little things, because life is really just a collection of little things, all strung together.
5) I know my limits but I also know when I need to push myself.
6) I am comfortable doing what I do and being who I am. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain really changed my attitude about my perceived “shortfalls.”
7) I know there is no limit on love, courage, kindness.
8) Everyone has a different definition of success, and it is usually not the same as mine. Living up to some one else’s idea of a success is a mistake.
9) Life is too short to be embarrassed by things. Public displays of affection, spontaneous sidewalk dancing or a moment of song are ALWAYS WORTH IT.
Edited to add because I hit publish too quickly:
10) It feels good to be charitable, and to help and elevate others where one can.
11) The view from the high road is always a good one. And there is always karma.
Is age a state of mind? I wonder.
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