Posted in differences, ebb & flow, mindset

What if? Aging edition

What if we respected aging instead of dreading and denigrating it?

(I believe we only denigrate it because we fear it.)

What if being in one place for 30 or 40 or 50 (or more!) years meant you were a source of history and information? A wealth of knowledge?

What if grey was just another hair color? Bald just another style?

What if we looked forward to all of the benefits brought to us in our 40s and 50s and beyond, instead of the disproportionate focus on aesthetics and metabolism?

What if we took care of ourselves so that we didn’t feel so old and break down as quickly at 40 or 50 or 60? (And understood that we need to fuel ourselves well regardless of our metabolism?)

What if scars were evidence of stories and wrinkles evidence of having lived?

Embrace the things you’ve learned just by virtue of having lived. Do your best to let go of the crap and hang onto the good stuff. Learn from those who have lived more. (Enjoy the innocence from those who have lived less.)

Every age has wonderful things and terrible things about it. (If nothing else, parenting has taught me this.)

Enjoy!

 

 

* This is all an enormous generalization. We use age as the variable, but it’s much more life experience and openness to learning than years lived.

Posted in differences, ebb & flow, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation

Judgement and baggage, bravado! Oh my!

Things about me that make me “weird”:

  • don’t watch TV
  • don’t eat meat
  • don’t eat much fried or sweet food
  • don’t drink coffee
  • don’t drink alcohol
  • rarely drink other delicious crap (I miss you, chai latte!)
  • avoid plastic
  • don’t typically spend much time, energy, money on “girl” things (hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, purses)

I have been judged for all of these things. I’ve been spoken to harshly for all of them (some more often or more recently than others) and ostracized at one point or another for most.

Finally I’ve learned that those sorts of reactions are not about me.

Many people are defensive about what they’re eating when I’m with them. But the thing is—unless you’re my son or you’ve hired me to help you with your eating, I’m not concerned about your diet.

Your defensiveness comes from something in you. You feel like you should be eating differently. You feel like you would like to be eating what you think I think you should be eating and you’re not.

Some people take that discomfort and explode it out onto me. They assume I’m taking a position of moral superiority and try to defend themselves and knock me down a notch.

The thing is: there’s evidence of this defensiveness all over the place, not just in immediate reaction to a personal situation.

Bumper stickers I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks:

  • Yours may go fast but mine can go anywhere (on a Jeep)
  • My [dog/kid/weaponry] [is smarter than/can beat up/can kill] your honor student
  • Lots of creative ways to kill a back window stick family

The backlash against people (usually women) who are competent at Pinterest-type crafting and baking is enormous. So is the backlash against people who do maybe silly creative work (videos online and such).

People. It’s OK for other people to have interests and strengths that you don’t have. You have interests and strengths that they don’t have.

If you feel shame about not having their skills, that’s your baggage, not their bravado.

Shall we get into motives for a moment?

Crossfitters, vegans, runners/triathletes/obstacle racers, MLMers, Realtors among others have a reputation for talking incessantly about their Thing.

Why do people talk a lot about A Thing?

Maybe they’re insecure and bragging about their Thing makes them feel a little bit better for a moment. (I wasn’t intending to talk about penises, but when I went back to edit, you could make it go there if you need to.)

Maybe they don’t actually like the Thing but they really want to like it so they keep doing it and keep talking about it to talk themselves into it.

Or maybe they’re just really excited about their Thing.

When I talk a lot (maybe too much?) about a thing, it’s usually because that thing has taken over my brain. This thing that I’m trying with my kids at work. This thing that is going really really well or really really badly at home. This thing that is perplexing that I’m trying to solve. This thing that I’ve gotten into and am suddenly loving. This thing that challenges my thinking. This thing that just delighted me and I want to share my joy.

Regardless, if it’s not something you’re interested in hearing or talking about a lot, politely set a boundary. But you don’t need to assume negative intent, and it might not be about them in the first place—it might be about you.

So. Let people be good at stuff that you’re not good at without putting them down. We can’t all do All The Things—there’s not enough time (and truly, are you interested in doing all of it??). Skill you wish you had? Work on it. Otherwise? Be glad someone else is doing it.

Posted in differences, know better do better, mindset, parenting, vulnerability

I used to write anti-abortion poetry

People change.

In fact, people should be (and in some cases, are) encouraged to change.

When you know better, do better. (That’s change.)

So I’m conflicted about judging politicians, for example, by stances they held 20 or 30 years ago. (This is also perhaps an indicator that we shouldn’t have career politicians, but that’s another argument for another day.)

In some cases, they’ve changed. Perhaps, like me, they were on the wrong side of history then, but they learned and changed.

In some cases, they haven’t changed a bit. But the fact that they were racist/misogynistic/homophobic 20 years ago still isn’t relevant, necessarily. Just that that’s how they are now.

(Of course, in some cases, they’re the same but pretend not to be.)

Outside of politics, part of the reason that families can become problematic is because so often they remember you from back in the day and refuse to let that person go. And sometimes argue with you about the validity of the new pieces. Especially if they feel threatened by the change, and/or the family culture is one of put-downs.

Longstanding friends can be like this, too.

In either case, we can see and honor change, or we can see and resist change. (Denial is included in resistance.) The fear of rejection of the “new you” is a big reason people keep quiet and don’t display their improved selves.

Embrace positive change.

(Two problems there: “positive” is subjective and change is hard.)

Let everyone around you have space to do better when they know better.

And when you do it? Own it. Your confidence is contagious and it bleeds confidence onto others, even if the people closest resist.

 

 

Posted in about me, differences, meandering

TV? No. Movies? Not really. Why?

I’m not much of a consumer of video media.

When I was a kid, I watched TV (shout out to Saturday morning cartoons and 80s sitcoms!). Many of the movies I wanted to see, I wasn’t allowed to see (parents: giving exposure and having conversations is better than sheltering).

By junior high, I was involved in a ton of extracurricular activities (band, basketball, softball, art lessons, flute choir, theatre), and when that turned to high school, with both more options and the options being more time-consuming, I was booked solid. Between those things and homework, I didn’t have time for TV.

(I have no recollection of movies during high school at all. If any of my high school friends read this—did we go to the movies??)

When I went to college, I was not in the habit of watching TV at all, so I didn’t buy one to take. My roommates didn’t have one. And, honestly, my schedule didn’t get any lighter. (Music major course loads are no joke.)

And so life went on without a TV. (I’ve married into a TV twice. But if The Climbing Daddy decided he didn’t want a TV any more, he’d get no resistance from me.) At this point, there are so many things that I want to do and so many chores that I need to do, there’s not really time for TV anyway.

My second long-term boyfriend in college was very much into movies, and I watched quite a few with him. My first and last movie-watching era.

I don’t know if it was teaching 30- or 40-minute periods for years on end or getting more active and thereby sitting less or something entirely unrelated, but I have trouble sitting through a movie. Even if it’s a good movie, I get antsy before the end. (If it’s not a good movie, forget about it!)

I hear Avengers is three hours long. You will definitely not find me in a theater watching that. (Unless I’m offered a sizable bribe to do so.) (Also, the people talking about needing the bathroom in that time are clearly not teachers.)

Hm. I just thought: the gym I belong to now has a movie room with cardio equipment in it. Maybe, if they’re playing a movie I’d like to see on a day when I have time to do it, I’ll see if the problem is sitting or attention span.

And also—I very much don’t like watching violence and I don’t like seeing bloody or mangled bodies (even if I didn’t see them get that way), which eliminates quite a bit of both TV and movies. (It makes cardio machines at the gym in the evening problematic sometimes because of what they choose to show on their TVs.)

So in the last 20 years, I haven’t seen a ton of movies. I’ve watched very little TV. Fast forward to the last week or two, and that makes me very much out of the loop for both Avengers and Game of Thrones.

I don’t care that I haven’t seen these things, that I’m not going to see these things, that I don’t really know what they’re about. But sometimes, I’m a little sad that I lose another point of connection with people.

In authenticity, I’m not going to watch it just to try to be like “everyone” else. And really, the way things seem to roll, if I watched it then tried to make conversation using it, I’d find all the other people who haven’t watched it which isn’t really helpful because you can’t build community on something that’s missing.

All that said, I’m glad the volume of GoT has decreased in my social media threads, partially because I don’t care about it and it’s annoying after a while, and partially because it bumps into my “you don’t fit in” button.

 

Posted in differences, know better do better, mindset, parenting, thoughtfulness

“We turned out fine”

“We did xyz when we were kids, and we turned out fine.”

I hate this argument.

If we’re making a strictly alive-vs.-dead argument, the people who died aren’t here to argue the other side. Seat belts, car seats, bike helmets immediately come to mind.

As a health argument, young people now have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, so that’s not working out.

On an emotional level, people who make this argument tend to lack self-awareness or introspection and don’t realize how not fine they are. My favorite was when an alcoholic argued that his parents’ parenting was something to emulate because he turned out fine.

In some cases, the world is just different. There are more cars on roads now. People are in more of a hurry. People are more distracted while driving. Many passenger vehicles are taller, heavier, and more lethal. Foods are grown with large amounts of toxic-to-us chemicals on and in them. Water carries heavy metals. Plastics have poisoned the water, the soil, animals (food) when it eats the plastic, plants (food) once they’re cultivated, foods when they’re cooked. Mattresses are full of chemicals that restrict breathing. The internet exists. Social media exists. Smart phones exist.

It’s possible to say, “I’m going to do this differently than my parents did” without saying that your parents were bad parents, if that’s where you’re stuck. (And, if you’re watching the grandkids grow up, your kids raising their kids differently isn’t an affront to your parenting.)

We know more now about child development. We know more about how our bodies and brains work. Nutrition facts on packaging didn’t even exist until the 90s.

It’s a disservice to kids to fall back on “It was good enough for me, so it’s good enough for you.

We know better. Do better.