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!


Merle Sneed said...

Reya, this is such a good post. This may sound cliche, but the only opinion of you that matters is yours.

It has been my experience that when people judge others, and we all do it, that they are really projecting themselves.

As I always told my children, someone's opinion of you is not really your business. If the criticism is valid, you might take it into consideration, but it's not usually offered with a helpful heart.

edward said...

i agree with Merle Sneed. the snarky comments hurt the snarker much more than the snarkee, because like he says it's not helpful to say snarky things. not for anyone.

Barbara said...

It takes infinitely much more energy to hold grudges and keep track of who has wronged you. At our age, there are so many other ways to better use that energy! The high road is the only way to go.

Adrianne said...

Reya, my Reya, this is a beautiful posting, and a beautiful photo of the intersection nearest my house -- the very intersection from which I invariably hear megabass streaming from idling vehicles at 3 a.m., as I try to remember that I can choose to interpret that "ba-boom-boom" sound as joyous music rather than intrusive noise. "As above, so below," indeed! Thank you, as always.

Reya Mellicker said...

Adrianne! It's so cool to see a comment from you. YEAH!!

Merle Sneed likes my post! I'm proud because M.S. has the most potent bullshit detector in the blog realm. Thank you Merle.

Barbara, the High Road? YES. Whenever possible. It isn't always possible, of course, but whenever it is, Y E S.

Eddie you are pretty smart for such a young cat. I salute you.

Pod said...

i am a real believer in 'as above, so below'
sorry for quietness. hope all is well.
we have been swamped by pilgrims for world youth day, but i don't want to be touched by he pope Down Under

kob said...

Just to echo what the other have said, this is beautiful post. The benefits of an older age are almost worth the offsets, i.e., back pain.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah, almost! Thanks Kob!

Pod it doesn't matter whether you're here or not. We have reypod, you know? I feel connected. Kiss kiss to your handsome face.

lacochran said...

I guess I'm guilty of judging you because you are a shaman, mystic, psychic... but I judge these things (and you) to be very good, indeed!

"We are not capable of understanding each other and that is the main source of human suffering." --Thick Nhat Hahn

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks lacochran for judging me favorably. I forgot about that kind of judgment! Love the typo in "Thick's" name. Funny.

lacochran's evil twin said...

Oops! An unintentional funny. :) I should have checked my spelling more closely. Glad I at least amuse when I screw up. :)

Reya Mellicker said...

lacochran you are clever all around, and so's your evil twin!