I used to believe with certainty in so many things about life but I don't anymore. Growing up and growing older is not for the faint of heart.
"I've look at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all..."
~ Joni Mitchell
I used to believe all people are inherently kind. I used to believe kindness would win out but now I know it doesn't always. We seem to have the ability, when required, to say and do quite significantly cruel, hurtful things. Lots of times to people we say we love.
I used to believe that people don't keep score. It turns out they do.
I used to believe all people are honest. Turns out they're not and the ones that are dishonest will often surprise you. Is society really like those zombie movies -- dual characters walking about? Outwardly, charming and seemingly innocuous. Is life more about the saying 'and the lies fell into history and became the truth'?
I used to believe that once a parent, always a parent. Now I know that is not true at all. Years of witnessing a parent turn their back on their own families for a freer life has proved to me over and over that as parents and families age, some helicopter in for brief photo ops and carry on in their own lives brandishing the picture proof they care.
I used to believe that people don't keep score. It turns out they do. Verbal barbs hurled at you in anger reveal that inside everyone is a scorecard. There must be a part of the brain that files those items away. A disagreement flares and some long forgotten event is thrown up in your face.
Have you ever settled into perceived security in a relationship, thinking that the other person understands you and therefore your mistakes along the way are forgiven? The day arrives when those mistakes become darts aimed at your breaking heart.
I used to believe that people didn't lie about their age. Turns out they do and the older we get the more they lie. Go to any dating website and see if the face and age match up. Sometimes the discrepancy is hilarious. I've known people who have stayed the same age for nearly 10 years. It's a miracle of cryonics.
I used to believe we all age at the same rate. Turns out we don't. "Surrendering gracefully the trappings of youth" is a challenge for some. There's a difference between youthfulness and juvenile behaviour. Sometimes painful to watch as people behave in a way that would fit in a high school gym. In the world of the grey tsunami -- not so much.
I used to believe that with age and maturity, emotional security followed. Not so. Insecurities can rear their ugly head throughout life. We can feel quite confident and then suddenly, sometimes for a very small reason, our security takes flight. The older we get, the odder it feels when those insecurities fly into our windscreen of life. But they do.
I used to believe that friendships last forever. They don't. People come into your life for a reason or a season and then leave.
I used to believe love lasts forever. Turns out it doesn't. Sometimes it doesn't even last 24 hours. Love can take you to the heights and depths with such speed and agility, it can feel like an Olympic event. Win, lose, all in the time it takes to catch your breath.
Today I am more pragmatic, less idealistic.
I used to believe that travelling alone is lonely. Turns out it's not. You keep your own schedule, make your own decisions and often end up meeting the nicest people. Travelling with someone usually means your focus is toward them. Travelling alone means you focus outward to your surroundings and the people in the seat next to you.
I used to believe that life is simply black and white. Good and bad, yes and no. It isn't any of those things. There are grey areas in the black to white and vice versa. There is good and bad and then there is our capacity to accept less than good and slightly more than really bad given the opportunity.
And yes and no have more shades and colouring than a rainbow. People say yes to you and then don't. People say no to you and then do.
I used to believe that people don't take advantage of single women. Turns out they do, all the time, some with a smile on their face.
Today I am more pragmatic, less idealistic. Like the Senate is the country's chamber of sober second thought, at this point in life I find myself second guessing people and situations much more, questioning motives. I am still too gullible for my own good, believing in people that should never be given my trust.
However, as Tab Hunter once said, "Under that pile of manure in the barn, you often find a pony."
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