Sometimes the inner conflicts I have can be more troublesome than the outright disagreements or problems I experience with others. The good news is, the older I get the quicker I’m able to resolve my inner conflicts so I can apply that learning to interactions with everyone from complete strangers to family members. This last year has been taught me a great deal in that regard. Here are a few examples.
I don’t have to scale Mt. Everest if I don’t want to. I created a mini bucket list and stuck to it…even if other people thought some of my to-do items were lame. I decided that waiting for that elusive “someday” to roll around is no longer acceptable to me so I did things like watch Casablanca all the way through, planted a butterfly bush, and ate biscuits at Lady & Sons in Savannah.
It’s okay to hide, block, or unfriend people on Facebook. Of course the election played a big part in that realization for a lot of us, but I also became conscious of the fact that I don’t need to provide an audience for the negative Nellies, racist, bigots, or anyone I know who is struggling with addiction or mental illness. Let folks do their thing, wish them well, and move on.
My Dad is smart. My soon-to-be 87 year old father blows me away with his ability to assess behavior and motive in others without getting caught up in the drama or unnecessary details. He’s also a really smart guy when it comes to making room for the rights of others because, according to him, you never know if you’ll end up in a category of person others want to discriminate against. A lot of people his age have become so narrow in their thinking that when Dad shares philosophy like this it makes me think his brain is huge!
Good health trumps little irritants. My partner experienced an out-of-the-blue health scare that put a lot of things in perspective for me. ‘Nuff said.
Actions speak louder than words: An extended family member had a premature baby who tested positive for drugs. Child protective services stepped in and began a search for a relative who would care for the child. Of course I said no—I’m too old and I had a nice little life doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Why would I say yes?! Long, long story short, my partner and I started from a place of no and ended up realizing we had no good reason not to help this little guy. Baby smiles are a great way to start the day.
Focusing on the positive rather than on the negative isn’t as hard as I thought: See above.