I follow several young women’s blogs and they are inspiring. They ooze with enthusiasm and hold promise for a bright future. At least they usually do that. Today, I’m seeing some misery out there on several different blogs. Even from some other not quite spring chickens!

I would like to offer some perspective from an old fart.

You are not ever going to be perfect. Life will never be perfect. You and everyone around you will make mistakes – irritating mistakes. Life is just one damn thing after another.

Life is wonderful. Every single day there is something fantastic that happens. Always. For starters, you woke up this morning which is always a good boost to your day. After years of working with really sick people, some not waking up for the day, some not waking up ever again, I can tell you that waking up and being able to write about is a fantastic life.

The world is a wonderful place chock full of idiots. They do not behave the way you want them to behave and it is irritating as hell. They should be polite and respectful and God knows we always are, unless something goes amiss and we forget to do that for just a moment.

I remember reading something about a driver who didn’t pull forward when the light turned green. Our protagonist was irritated nearly to distraction. This idiot had a green light and clear path and wasn’t moving! To make matters worse, the driver suddenly opened the front door and jumped out of the car. The idiot was now not only not driving, but wasn’t even in the car. The driver yanked open the back door, struggled for a few moments and suddenly appeared with a baby who was choking on something. Finally, with the desperation of a parent with a suffering child, the baby’s choking hazard was cleared and the kid began to breathe with the parent clutching the child closely and sobbing.

Now when confronted with some idiocy, the protagonist whispers BIBS – baby in the back seat.

Usually it is some idiot on a phone, but telling yourself there is a good reason for idiocy makes YOU feel better about it. The situation doesn’t change, but your reaction to it might. Treat yourself with enough kindness to give yourself this gift.

One of the bloggers is worried about comparisons to others. I can tell you something worse. As you age, you start comparing yourself to the younger, more able, better you. Unfortunately, those of you not yet old farts are seeing your lives as horrid messes and all that is not going right today. It is disappointing when the world doesn’t go as we plan, but it is often beyond our control to make it do so. The best we can so is the best we can do. There is no magic that makes things always turn out “right” whatever that may be.

On the same note, as we celebrated my youngest granddaughter’s fourth birthday at a pool party, one of the young guests (a CrossFitter, by the way) wouldn’t wear anything less than long pants because she wasn’t happy with the way she looked. She was uncomfortable. I asked if I could talk like an old lady and the young athletes standing there said I could. I pointed out that they were young, healthy, and looked pretty damn good to me. I was self-conscious and only saw my flaws when I was their age. But now, thirty to forty years later – I would be thrilled to have that young, mobile, healthy, fit body back. They weren’t going to get any younger and they might think about loving who they are right now.

They had to admit that as far back as they could remember, they saw the flaws in their bodies but from this perspective of a decade or two after their teens, they realized their body was great back then. I nodded and said that keeps happening so you might want to learn to like yourself now. It is a hard lesson to learn as I see my own flaws now, but I was standing there in my bathing suit, knowing that for my age, I’m not so bad. And the only other choice is dead, so I might just as well like this or when I’m eighty I’m going to wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Dreams and goals are great and we should all have them. The difference between the two is that goals have a due date. The problem comes in when the due date cannot be reached, especially when the reasons for that are beyond our control.

One of the things I’ve been forced to learn but have never liked (and probably never will) is that I don’t get everything I want. My due dates have had to be revised after my plan was sidetracked. Sometimes, I have readjusted my sails and gone on to achieve what I wanted. Sometimes I have learned that I didn’t really want it but something even better was sitting around some blind corner just waiting for me to find it.

Some dreams and goals are simply meant to point us in the direction of other things. Some setbacks are put in our paths to make sure we are determined to reach some highly desired goal. I don’t know how to tell one from the other, but I think it might have something to do with final outcomes.

I wish all of my young friends the best in their lives. I can hear my mother saying, “Patience is a virtue” even as I type this. I believe it is. I’m not all that virtuous.

patience

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