There is something about a new year that makes a person want to reflect and look back before moving forward. I’ve been having these thoughts for quite a while but since it’s January I thought I’d flesh them out a bit here. I like to think that my mind dumps, as self absorbed as they are, may help someone else.
As I mentioned last month I had a large round number birthday, 60. I don’t think of myself as old but I’m sure lots of people do. I’ve looked old for a long time what with the gray hair. I don’t feel old. I feel like me, the way I’ve always felt. Anyway I’ve been sort of assessing things. Choices I’ve made. The way I live my life. How I raised my children. You know all that taking stock stuff. I’ve learned a few things, some good and some less good. I’m going to talk about a couple.
I believe I’ve made the best choices I could given the information that I had at the time. Looking back would I change anything? Damn right I would but using the information I had at the time I made the best choice I could. For example, when H was in kindergarten she wanted to read to the class. The teacher kept putting her off and finally towards the end of the year the teacher told her to bring in the book she wanted to read. H brought in a book called How Does Soda Get Into The Bottle and she read the whole thing to the class. After school the teacher grabbed me and said she couldn’t believe that H could read that book. She was nearly floored when H read the word beverage without hesitation. Of course I was proud and felt all those warm fuzzy parent feelings but I should have seen the massive red flag that was being waved in my face. When H was screened for kindergarten the woman doing the screening came out and asked me if I knew she could read fluently upside down. I said yes, I knew she could read fluently and I wasn’t surprised she could read upside down that she’d been reading for over 2 years. Why didn’t the kindergarten teacher know this? I had toyed with the idea of home schooling and should have just done it with both of my children. I was talked out of it by almost everyone I mentioned it to.
I’ve always made an assumption about people and I know others have too. I assume people are good until they prove me wrong. I assume they want what is best, again until they prove me wrong. I assume experts who say they have someone’s best interest do, until they prove they don’t. Maybe this is a naive way of thinking or maybe I’m hopelessly optimistic. I can’t imagine living life always expecting the worst from people and situations. Do I regret living this way? No, but I do regret feeling that it was my fault that I gave people the opportunity to do their damage. I have no control over how people behave but I do have control over how I feel about it. It is on them not me and when their bad behavior spills in my direction I am not responsible for what they did even if I have to be the one to clean up their mess.
From these two I’ve learned (life lesson: Always Be Learning) that deep inside I know what is right for me. The choices are mine to make because I have to live with these choices. I shouldn’t let others, whose motivations I don’t know, tell me what to do, how I should live or how I should feel. And I should encourage others to do the same.