Have you ever had a few weeks that felt like a few years? Like you aren’t quite the same person right now that you were a mere 14 or 15 days ago? Maybe I’m just feeling extra reflective, but I’ve had some learning going on in my world. Do with this what you wish, but I feel like my lessons might offer some insight into being a big kid– something I’ve been working at for a while.
1. Life is precious and short. You truly never know not only when your last day will be, but when the last day that you feel like you will be. Because of this, you should always know where you stand with people, and you should make sure the people you love know it. Look at the people you surround yourself with and think about the effect they have on your life. What role do they play in your story? What role would be vacated without them? Make the most of what matters. Vague and cliché enough? Pretty much, keep in mind that people aren’t renewable. They won’t always be there, so appreciate them for what they mean to you right now.
2. Hurting for others can be worse than hurting for yourself. I think that part of loving someone is feeling their pain, to a certain extent. It’s a powerless feeling to know that someone you love is hurting, and that powerlessness can compound the lesser hurt that you yourself are feeling. We’ll take, for example, my lost puppy. I liked Beau fine. He was cute and cuddly. I was terribly sad at the idea that he might be gone for good. It was a tolerable sadness, however. What was intolerable was the idea that my children would feel one iota of sadness that I could not fix. This made me double-sad. It turned my bummed-about-the-puppy feelings into some serious sadness. That’s what love does. Which brings me to the next item on my list…
3. More people care than you think. Losing that puppy really allowed me a glimpse at the people around me. You would have thought we were missing a person judging by all the people breaking out flashlights to look for Beau. People I don’t really even talk to were obviously concerned. They both helped in the search and joined in celebrating his return, partially because of the above-mentioned point: they care. It’s both humbling and heartwarming to see genuine care from others. I hope I can return the favor.
4. “Drama” as the kids call it, is not just for the kids. I’ve laughed to myself a lot when adults complain about drama or social conflict. I’ve learned recently, though, that even though we try to avoid it, adults (even responsible, educated. professional adults) talk about each other and twist words as much as teenagers do. And it seems to me that it’s the people who rant about being above all of it. These people see themselves as antidrama advocates, but in fact the exact opposite happens. They become so diligent for their cause that they themselves end up causing drama by calling out who they see as drama-causers. Here’s the problem: These antidrama advocates aren’t always accurate in identifying drama, so they make people mad in the process. The result of this can sometimes be double or triple drama. With adults. I kid you not. And I’m not sure of the solution to this because the one I opted for backfired. Which is exactly why I have the next item…..
5. Some people cannot handle confrontation. Thinking it was mature, I went directly to the source to try to sort out what I thought was a misunderstanding. I wanted to explain to the drama-causer disguised as an antidrama advocate that they had misheard; that I am, in fact, not nearly as hateful as they would like to think I am. And here is what I learned: antidrama advocates/undercover-drama-causers can, ironically enough, be pretty dang dramatic. The issue then spiraled far beyond my intent. To make a long story short, what I thought was over wasn’t really over. My being direct came back to bite me as I am now seen as the mean ogre who made that sweet person sad. Nevermind the terrible (and untrue) things which were said about me. I was the pit-bull in this fight. Confrontation, in some instances, is seen as too aggressive, apparently. And because the only solution I knew of (communication) didn’t work, I learned this next lesson….
6. Just be the bad guy. There are times when you have to confront the reality in how others see you. Bite the bullet and accept that you can’t win this one. If trying to be direct makes me a meanie-pants, so be it. It would be a waste of my time to try to convince people who already think I’m snooty and rude at the sake of exposing their own bad behavior. It would make the problem worse. Do I mind that people see me as a person who will take up for myself? No. I hope they know that I will come to them about a problem rather than blowing it out of proportion. Because that’s how I think people who fall in the middle are. I’m not a drama queen OR an antidrama advocate. But I am honest and direct. And I’ll take the blame for being those. I’ll admit to being some other things too in this next one…
7. It’s pretty dang freeing to feel like you understand yourself. While joking with a friend on twitter, I made the statement that I was “cognizant of my aloofness.” And while aloof isn’t always a positive thing, it’s actually helped me to explain quite a bit. Aloof is defined as “distant or unsympathetic in manner” or “indifferent by personal withdrawal.” I see myself as a mixture: I am distant by personal withdrawal. Which can be seen as snooty or rude, but here’s how I see it. I am so focused on the things and people I love that I don’t want all the extra. And when I’m confronted with extra, I just choose to pass. My friends aren’t many but they’re great. My family isn’t huge, but I’m obsessed with them. The number of students who would vote me into an award is significantly small, but I am guaranteed the votes of a few. And I want it this way. I only have time for the REAL good in my life and none of the fake. And that’s aloof, and I know it, and it’s nice to be able to say it comfortably.
So, how’s that for a couple weeks’ learning? I’m going to know it all one day. But these 7 will do for now.