BEATLETOT
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Older And...?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

If you look on the internet, you'll find quotes attributed to several people, the gist of which is, "We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions."

I remember being young and just becoming aware of intangible ideas like intent, consequences, and responsibility. I'd behave in a way I knew was wrong, and I'd assume that the adults around me understood that I was enduring growing pains and judged me thusly, not taking any slights seriously and being able to more or less "read my mind." I was particularly adept at these assumptions when I was a teenager and certainly at the peak of brattiness. If I was rude to an adult, I assumed they knew that I was really a good person, and they "got" me.

I also figured that once I was grown, I would have the same empathy and wisdom that I ascribed to my parents, teachers, friends' parents, fellow drivers, and customers. "When I'm an adult, I will know what people mean, too."

I think a good example is in the car. For better or worse, I tend to be a timid driver. If I'm waiting to make a left turn onto a larger thoroughfare, I'll wait for what seems like awhile. I may miss an opportunity or two in my nervousness to pull out. If a car comes up behind me, I become a bit anxious. I don't want them to think I'm not paying attention, and I don't want them judging my depth perception or risk aversion. I want them to judge me by my intention not to die, to know that I'm just a timid driver and not a texter, and I even want them to remember that one time when I was a brand-new driver and the man behind me honked when I was pulling out, and it really hurt my feelings.

If I come to the same intersection and there's a car in front of me waiting to pull out, I try to send good vibes their way. Don't rush, be safe! I'm not back here judging you, the way others judge. DON'T FEEL JUDGED! And please, don't judge me for being behind you--I get you! I do! Remember that time the man behind me honked, and it really hurt my feelings? Don't worry, I won't do that to you!

I believe I was in my late twenties when I realized I never actually attained that wisdom, and I kept assuming that others still did. In fact, I was still thinking, "When I'm older, I will..." But I AM older! When will I get that wisdom?

I suppose, given the myriad attributions of the idea above, that very, very few of us ever do. But I guess we reach a point where we can at least try to be generous in assuming people's intentions.

I'm curious what y'all have to say about this, as well, especially because I'm not feeling particularly confident in my descriptions. Do you remember that childish feeling? Can you describe it better than I did? What about this grown up feeling? Does it ever come?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • AUNA_VISTA
    I've been wondering myself, about how to feel more grown-up. I want that, but I live with my mom still, due to health conditions that I really don't have much control over. I think it's probably harder for me than a lot of other people. Because, to me, it's mostly about independence. And accepting responsibilities. And getting brighter. But you know, if you have to sit at home all the time, that stuff doesn't just come to you... So it is harder. But I totally feel for you, I'm not saying you can't have issues with that. Just that I really do! Anyway, identity is always a tough one, defining your own identity. You have to give that some thought. I think that it's really great that you have married, and have a job that you believe in, and a nice place to stay. These are wonderful, grown-up things, that you should be proud of! Maybe, though, there are some areas of your life that you might want to add to, that would help you feel more grown-up. Are there any things that you always thought, growing up, that you would know how to do when you were older? Maybe now is the time to explore that!

    I tried to learn how to drive, but I quit, because my brother had me driving on this really busy street and I almost got killed when a truck came my way and I got scared and stopped moving. I wasn't ready for that yet, so I just quit. I had had it. Also, I was in this driver's ed class, and the instructor had us on a VERY busy street and this driver was yelling at me. I don't even know why! But the instructor acted like I had done something very bad and made me let someone else drive. These were really bad experiences for me. I'd rather just not even bother if driving has to be like that. They made me take that driver's ed course, even though I had no interest in it. My mom's insurance pressured her to make me. It wasn't good for me at all! The only way to encourage any of your fellow drivers is probably to smile at them and wave sometimes. You know, show you care that way. And also let them into the passing lane, when they need to get into it.

    I think it's hard to know what other people are thinking, it really is. But following the Golden Rule, of doing onto others what we would want done onto us, is probably the best rule of advice. And if you ever thought someone understood you, because they could picture themselves in your shoes, there's nothing really wrong with that. However, they may not have. But if you thought that, it's understandable. I wish more people knew or cared about the Golden Rule now. It's kind of scary, how a lot of people don't think about others. Especially those in leadership positions who make decisions for other people! They should certainly show some compassion.
    600 days ago
  • TEXASTITCHER
    I don't know - but I remember growing up, I was usually around adults all the time. I was the oldest of a group of grandchildren and the younger ones all paired up. I was left to be with the adults - I felt I grew up at a young age.
    612 days ago
  • JEANKNEE
    One of my sisters like to say, "If I expect others to grant me grace, I need to grant them grace as well." I try and remember her words when feelings of irritation arise within me and take the step back because, honestly, I have no idea what they're going through. I'm not always successful.
    612 days ago
  • KELLYFIT123
    ...immature of me. I have never thought badly of someone's depth perception when annoyed at them for slow turning! I usually try to be generous in assuming people's intentions. I really like that phrasing. Hard to type my thoughts on my phone.
    613 days ago
  • KELLYFIT123
    My former landlord used to say that in getting older, he realized how little he actually knew. I remember borrowing $ from my grandma and feeling very lax about paying it back. I felt like she would understand if I didn't. That was really rude and
    613 days ago
  • ROCKPORT9
    I wish I was always kind and positive to others. I am not, but I continue to try. emoticon
    613 days ago
  • KALIGIRL
    Not sure if it ever does, but I guess I like looking @ life through the eyes of a child!
    emoticon
    613 days ago
  • WHITE-GREEN
    I can relate a lot to the part about assuming others know and are 'wise'. I too always tended to think (and still do at times though I know it makes no sense ) that really all drivers were the parent / teacher type.
    I like the idea of trying to be generous in assuming people's intentions. I think for many people (me included at times) that is quite the challenge.
    613 days ago
  • CHRISTINEBWD
    emoticon I hope to keep getting wiser.
    613 days ago
  • CARBMONSTERII
    I expected to be a whole lot wiser when I reached the age I am now, when I was younger. That is a complicated sentence, but it says what your blog did, "Dog-gone-it I thought I would be smarter/ braver/ more confident by now!". I expected to acquire that confidence I believed my seniors had, low those many decades ago. I think we grossly underestimate the challenges and the personal efforts of those around us, because we cannot empathize with them. I am a timid driver, too. Because I don't want to have an accident. Age HAS given me the ability to say, "this is how I do it. If you don't like it, I'm sorry but this is how I do it. You don't have to be with me. You DO have to put up with it for right now" This isn't mean, this is just valuing myself and my decisions, and putting my welfare above what I feel others may be thinking about me or how I might be disappointing them. I think low self-esteem makes us think others are constantly judging us, when in reality, they are simply not thinking, they are just reacting to a situation, usually of their own causing. They are in a hurry, so they honk the horn. They don't stop to think there might be a reason why that car ahead of them didn't do whatever they wanted, all they know is that they are in a hurry. My (older) response now is, "Fine. One day that will bite you in the butt and you will have a wreck. You, not me. But for right now, suck it up Buttercup, because MY safety is more important to me."
    613 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    I love this quote: "We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions."

    I have never really thought about it but this is so true..."the guy in front of me is driving too slow, he's in my way and making me late, what is wrong with him?" as opposed to "I have to slow down, the rain makes it hard to see, I don't want to cause an accident, that guy behind me needs to realize how dangerous the roads are right now"

    Some days I have empathy for others and try to imagine why they are "driving too slow" or doing what ever it is that is irritating me. Other days I have no patience, especially when I really do have to get somewhere
    613 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    We get older but there's always more wisdom to learn. emoticon
    613 days ago
  • BUTTONPOPPER1
    Well, BEATLETOT, I've always been a goody-two-shoes, so as far as I know I didn't act out and expect others to forgive me when I was a teenager. I just always assumed from the beginning, with little or no evidence, that they didn't like me. In other words, I had dismally low self-esteem, which when I reached driving age made me get my feelings hurt, too, if someone honked a horn at me in traffic. Have you really been honked at only once?! I know you're still young, but still, once is not very many times! Well, I guess it makes a difference that we lived in Boston for four years, where you'll be honked at if you don't gun the engine at the very nanosecond the light turns green. I'm so sensitive that I still have vivid memories of every time anyone has been rude to me in traffic or in a crowded parking lot. I remember nasty gestures, etc. And I'm not an aggressive driver!

    However, I do get impatient sometimes when driving and start to have less-than-generous thoughts about the surrounding drivers. Being in a car really depersonalizes one's behavior, and I've recognized a part of myself that I don't like when I'm behind the wheel. But recently I've started to try to imagine that all the strangers around me are people that I already know. In their own lives, someone knows them, and they are most likely loved for their good points and tolerated despite their faults. Remembering this has helped me not only be more polite around strangers but even to have warm feelings about them. I think, "That guy tailgating me might be one of my students," or "This middle-aged lady going annoyingly slow could be one of my neighbors." I've been making a conscious effort to see "strangers" as fellow travelers.

    Despite my progress, though, BEATELTOT, I still don't see myself as a grownup, so I don't think I can be of much help in describing "this grown up feeling"!
    emoticon
    613 days ago
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