This is my week of lists, prompted by Monday’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Lists.
Now that I’m in my 40’s, there are issues I used to agonize over in my 20’s that really don’t mean diddly squat to me today. I just don’t sweat the small stuff anymore as I’ve gotten older. I kind of wonder sometimes why I even fretted about some things in the first place. But not just that, I now understand some of the things I saw or experienced 20 years ago. I don’t know if you’d say my values have “fallen”, but they sure have changed.
Here are 10 things (I had to stop somewhere) I’ve learned to live with or changed my tune about 20+ years after becoming an adult.
- Mistakes are a part of your life experience. I sit here sometimes and recount past experiences in my late teens-early twenties and wonder how I could have been so stupid. But I chalk it up to experience. Twenty years ago I would have agonized about the mistakes I made. If I were still making those kinds of mistakes today, I’d be a real idiot. Learning from past mistakes allows us to grow and improve our decision-making processes in later years.
- I don’t need my co-workers to validate me. I remember being embroiled in a he-said-she-said nonsense in my early 20’s where someone was accusing me of “sleeping with” someone else at work. I was so mortified and embarrassed because I had done no such thing and I felt that I had to go to everyone and tell my side of the story. It was so hurtful and spiteful and I didn’t want people to think about me that way. Now, if that happened, I would simply say “who cares?” or “so what?” whether it was true or not.
- I’m not going to fake it anymore. Just try harder, dammit. I’m tired of repeatedly making you feel like you did a great job when you didn’t.
- Stretch marks aren’t the worst thing in the world. Neither are any other scars for that matter. Unless they’re affecting your health, what’s the big deal? Besides, no one else cares about your stretch marks. Call them your “battle scars” and make up a story, if you wish!
- Love can come in many different packages. Sometimes Prince Charming may not present himself in a Rolls Royce or come with a castle. Sometimes, it’s just the guy or gal next door who offers you a foot rub, after he or she knows you’ve been on your feet at work for the past 12 hours.
- A university degree doesn’t necessarily make you smart. Not even book-smart. I say this as someone who has already gone through post-graduate studies. I hate to say that I’ve come to realize a university degree almost always means you know how to pass exams yet can still be clueless about basic education, grammar skills, spelling, and basic math. If I have to read “should of” or “must of” one more time from my co-worker, I’m going to blow a fuse.
- Don’t envy others for what they have. I may have always been taught this, but still grew jealous of some individuals anyway. As an adult, I’ve met a few people who enjoy a very comfortable and high standard of life. However this is where they are today. Their pasts are filled will horror stories of domestic abuse from their mothers, fathers, and partners. And they still have the scars to prove it. Over time they were lucky enough to get out of the situations they were in and their lives progressed. For me to envy what they have now would mean I’d have to take all the suffering they had to endure as well.
- You will outgrow some of your friends. A good friend of mine brought this to my attention when I was 25 and I didn’t want to accept it. But his father told him and I respected his father. Since then, I’ve had to decisively cut communication with a few friends. It’s a painful experience, I can tell you, but bad or toxic friendships must go by the wayside.
- Pick your battles. In almost every aspect of life, there will be some battles that you will fight to the death and some battles for which you’ll need to raise the white flag. My children are picky eaters. I’ll fight over healthy breakfast and dinner and give in to lunch. I even give in to some less than ideal dinners. It’s not really worth the fight for every single meal.
- You really can’t have it all. Let’s face it: some of us can have it all; the majority of us cannot. Angelina can have Brad, a houseful of children, great hair, all the monies, work as a UN ambassador and film star, and still maintain her fabulous body and beauty. I cannot. And I accept that.