Last week was my birthday. I turned the boring age of forty-six, a year that really doesn’t mean much of anything. It is just a number, attached to a year, to signify how long I have been alive, but to me, this is my tipping point. This year begins the second side of my season, the other half of my life. Sure, ninety is an ambitious age to shoot for, why not 100? I like ninety, it seems reachable, a good run, a not too shabby benchmark of a long life. So ninety it is for me, the finish line, the place I will look and gage my pace, the place I can circle as my goal, the age where my season changes.
Forty five years is a long time, or simply just a blink. Somedays I feel like I have been on this rock longer than I deserve, and yet others, I think I am just getting started. I see what others have done in their time and feel quite accomplished at what I have been able to muster, and of course, when comparing myself to some, I feel like I have not done quite as much as I should. In all fairness, I really don’t care. I have no desire to be a multimillionaire, nor travel the world on a boat. I know what I like, I certainly know what I don’t, and I have found happiness is being to identify that.
So for my passing of the halfway point, I think I should take some time and think about the things that I have learned, and maybe the things I want to. To examine what it is that makes me me, and to nail down the things I need to do to become the better version of that. My season isn’t long, like I said, I am halfway there, but the ride has been great thus far, let’s see how smooth it can be once I actually figure out how to do this thing called living better.
Saying you are sorry doesn’t fix the problem, it merely just acknowledges your part in it. I didn’t always get that, but now I do. To apologize for something is huge, it means that you actually can admit you are wrong. But what comes after the apology is the work, the rebuilding. Sometimes all people want is the apology, the stranger you bumped into at the store, the accidental foot in the mouth situation. But then there are the big ones, the ones that seem like more of an amends than an apology. The ability to say you recognize a wrong, admit fault, and make a heartfelt apology is the sign of true maturing. The saying goes, do you want to be happy or right, and you can’t be happy without knowing and understanding how apologies really work.
Kids are easy once you understand that they are just kids. Kids are not little humans, and they certainly shouldn’t have to be. Kids are balls of emotions without the filters. Filters are what we learn as we grow, but the emotions stay. The greatest bit of advice I got from someone about raising a kid was from a patient that says they don’t give advice about raising kids. All he said was be where they are and tell them you love them. Now that I have been a parent for 6 years, I can say I start to see the magic in those words. It really is as simple as letting your kid see you, and telling them you love them as much as you can. And you can’t tell them you love them unless you are there with them. Maybe that was the magic of the old man’s advice, that you can’t have one without the other, you can not be around little ones and not say you love them, and you can’t say you love them unless you are around them. Yin and Yang, Sonny and Cher, the circle of life. And sooner or later, they get it.
It’s not personal, it’s just business. The first time I saw this in context to relationships, I really didn’t understand it. How can a relationship not be personal? How can people be cold or how can I be asked to be cold too. But the truth of the matter is, it’s not personal, it’s just business. We all have been in love, or have had friends that have come and went in our lives. The breaking of the heart or the anger that comes with fallouts. But we all have plans in our lives, we all have places in life we want to go, and sometimes we find people that want to go to the same place, and sometimes they want to go somewhere else. Relationships are hard, in love or friendship, and sometimes they get strengthened in time, and sometimes they get lost, but if you truly care about a person, you want the best for them, and hopefully they want the best for you. It isn’t personal, sometimes it’s just business.
You have to just let things out, otherwise they will come out in the worst ways. I have yelled at my kid because of pinned up frustration from work, I have snapped at friends from unresolved issues with other people. We have to blow off the steam from our problems, otherwise, the kettle will whistle when it is ready, not when we are. Emotions are wonderful things, they are our CHECK ENGINE lights. They let us know that something is going on inside of us, and it needs to be addressed, and if it goes unresolved, there is a chance that something bad can happen. We can project our problems onto others, we can blame things on the wrong people. The best thing is to learn to sit with your emotion, identify it, see where it is coming from and what it is trying to tell you, and then deal with it. That’s why I journal, that’s why I write. It’s also why I sometimes scream at the top of my lungs in my truck. Otherwise, you may bet the blown tire at the worst time.
People suck. They do, they really do. But they really don’t. The hardest thing is to understand that we are all just trying to do our best. When I get the patient that is 20 minutes late and doesn’t call. When the person isn’t considerate and stays in the left lane driving down the road. I am putting my expectations on them, and I can’t do that. People are doing their best. I am doing my best, and I screw up a lot. People don’t see the world as I do, not do I expect them to. My world is a wonderful place, and my view on it keeps me happy. Some people just hurt, and hurt people hurt people. I know they are doing the best they can with what they have, they may not have been afforded the things I have, which in turn affords me the knowledge I know. It’s hard not to get angry at people, but we do, but it is a lot easier to understand them, if we can just understand, that they are doing the best they can.
Finally, just smile, as much as you can, just smile. It really is the simplest way to change your mood and those around you. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in a bad mood and someone at the grocery store smiles at me, and then it’s gone. Another human being finds my presence good enough to smile at me. That’s it, that’s all we have to do, is to see one another, and smile, and basically say, “hey, I see you, I acknowledge you, and as bad a day as I am having, I hope you have a good one”. We are all on this rock together, just trying to do good, just trying to be humans. Our lives are not going to be this perfect little Hallmark movie, nor would it be interesting if it was. Life is messy, love is messier, but we are all here together, trying to figure it all out. I have learned so much in my first half, and I can’t wait to learn more. I hope you all have the chance and opportunity to learn from your pasts, and I pray that you all have a chance to take the lessons of your early years and have an amazing second side on your season.