I’ve been told I am a pretty positive person. I’ve had people say they admire my “zest for life”. I’ve been congratulated on my ability to bound, bound, bound and rebound. I’ve been told I’m funny, open, and friendly. I’ve been admired for starting over, starting things up, and for not having a nervous breakdown in the process
On the flip side, I’ve been told I am incredibly selfish, that I am not a good person, that I am a bad wife, a crappy mother, and an inconsiderate friend. I’ve been told that most things I do are wrong or hurtful. This is the great paradox of being human. As we go through life, we learn that not everyone is going to see us in the same light. Often we will have a different impression of someone than perhaps our friend or neighbor has.
People in our life change and morph as we go. I may think you are blue (because you were) when you are truly orange (because you became that way when I was not observing). We slowly discover that the truth about who we are , and where our own true self lies somewhere in between. And the true “us” is not always revealed to those we meet.
The most positive person may be struggling inside each night wondering how they got into their current situation. The most selfish person may be not really selfish, but at their wits end, trying to deal with many things we know nothing about. We judge, and we judge, and then we judge some more. And sadly, it seems that often, the people we look to most for approval and guidance are the one’s who hurt us with their judgement most of all Because no matter how much we struggle and we try, those are the people who think they know us inside and out. But perhaps they only know the “us” that suits their purposes. The “us” in their mind. At times we may feel like a tight rope walker. We must balance between who we truly are, and the image that people project upon us.
Often, you will find the people who judge you the harshest, are also the one’s who have not been actively listening to you for a long time. They have not seen you as you are now, they only see their idea of you. These people are unable to move forward, they are paralyzed either by choice or by some internal struggle, or some past grievance . There are those who have walked side by side with us through our entire history. History is something each one of us writes and rewrites in our own version. In the worst of times, this version suits only our ego. At the best of times it is rewritten to try and accommodate and make peace. It changes, depending on the author, the year, and the cast.
There are so many expressions we use in life, “Life is short”, “If it’s meant to be it will be”, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”, “Everything happens for a reason”. We try and find purpose and we try to reason away why life takes certain twists and turns. As life marches on, if we are wise, we start to see that we have little or even no control over most things. We certainly have no control over how other’s treat us, only if we choose to continue to accept their treatment. There are point’s in life where we realize that despite loyalty, blood, history, or any of the above, we must choose ourselves. We must make the “selfish” choice to live in peace with ourselves. The selves we have grown to appreciate and like. We must choose forward not backward.
My father always said, “You are the only person you can count on”. I used to find this expression to be very sad and sometimes accused him of having a sour outlook on life. Now that I am as old as he was when he said it, I realize the strange truth in it. I realize that unless you truly have your self and the worth of who you are, you will never successfully be able to appreciate anyone or anything in your life.
I’ve noticed over the past decade, with all this moving about and starting over, I’ve unconsciously chosen the life motto of “There is a reason your windshield is bigger than your rear view mirror, what’s in front of you is much more important than what’s behind”.
This does not mean you should forget those who have shared your road. This means stop putting it in reverse to rehash things that have already happened. Bring those passengers on your journey who want to be in your car now and then and appreciate the road you’ve shared, but leave the flat tires behind you. I think you either choose to live in this camp and move forward or you are stuck on the side of the road, constantly spinning your tires, gravel spitting angrily where you are stopped. Eventually you will run out of gas and no one is going to want to help.
I will be 47 in a few days, If I am lucky, I’ve only traveled half of my road. But one never knows. I’ve had so many amazing passengers along the way. I want the road ahead to be filled with people who appreciate me, who wholly and genuinely want to spend time with me not because they HAVE to but because they WANT to. I say, bring on those who zest for life, who will share a story, who will listen and be listened to. Bring on the adventure. Bring on the Love. This is a call for those who want to move forward, I’ll see you on the road!