Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Benefits of Old Age
How tolerant are you? Do you have an open mind? Open heart?
Once upon a time I was intolerant of almost everything I didn't understand or agree with. I lived within a very narrow spectrum of beliefs and values, and immediately wrote off anyone who wasn't exactly on the same page as myself. Makes me a little claustrophobic remembering that era of rigidity. How did I breathe?
My, my. Life is too short for all that. People make mistakes. All the time, every day. Human beings live in denial, tell lies, keep secrets, fail to communicate but expect others to read their minds. People hurt other people's feelings but are too embarrassed to apologize, or say snarky things behind the backs of their alleged friends. Everybody misunderstands everyone else, practically on a daily basis.
Yeah, so what? Human behavior is like water, always in motion, always changing. Latch on to one thing someone did that was "wrong" and never forgive them? I used to do that on a regular basis. These days I can't for the life of me figure out why I put so much energy into judging the flaws of others. I really can't.
In fact I'm so much more laid back than I used to be even just a few years ago, that I'm surprised when others judge me. Isn't that funny? Lots of people judge me - because I'm such a weirdo! I'm judged for being a shaman, mystic, psychic and all that comes with that, of course, but also because I don't earn a lot of money, never stayed romantically connected for very long, never had children. I'm judged because I "should" be one or two sizes smaller, or should wear better clothes or behave some different way than the way I do. It's a lot to keep track of. Even if I did it all, folks would still find fault with me.
I'm not saying I'm the most tolerant person on earth, oh no. I still get my feelings hurt, get angry, and misunderstand other people's behavior. But these days it's so much easier to let go afterwards, to move on. As I get older, I feel much more inclined to cut people some slack, to forgive, to find the humor in all kinds of awkward situations.
Not everything about aging is bad. Thank God!! Tolerance is one of the blessings of older age. It is, it really is.
Looking straight up at the intersection of Mass Ave. and 8th St. NE. Doesn't it look like a view of the earth from space? As above, so below, oh yeah!