Saturday, November 02, 2013

On Being Grown-up

I am a whimsical person.  Yes, you who have known me all my life realize this.  I love children, I love child-like things such as puppets, singing, silliness, pranks that aren't mean-spirited, jokes of all kinds (especially puns!), children's books, children's movies . . . the list goes on and on!  In fact there are probably those among you who would postulate that aside from my vocabulary I have never really grown up.  That, also, is true.

I have, however, learned the value of personal responsibility.  Sometimes it is challenging to be the grown-up, but it usually brings great rewards.  Being accountable for the things that happen to you as well as around you without playing a blame game makes life much less dramatic and helps you feel better about yourself in the end.  These are solid middle-class values that have been ingrained in me since birth (thanks, Mom and Dad!)

So why don't more people have these values?  Why is it OK for people to throw trash out their car windows?  Why do people step over garbage on the sidewalk (in a park, in front of the Library) and not bend over and pick it up?  Why would someone decide that it's ok to move out of a house and leave all of their belongings there for someone else to deal with?  How does a person justify even small things like stepping in front of someone in a line for coffee?  What comes over people that they decide they are above the common rules of decency and accountability?

I've struggled to figure this out over the last few years and I've come to one very solid answer.  It doesn't matter.

Nope.  It just doesn't matter what their motivation (or lack of) is. 

What matters is how I respond.  What matters is what I am thinking and feeling in my own mind and heart. 

Am I being a decent person?  Am I working to be my best and allowing the work of judging others to fall to someone else?

Because at the end of the day . . . or even, dare I say, at the end of my walk on this earth . . . what will matter most will not be how often I found someone else to be lacking in accounability, but how often I showed mercy and compassion to everyone, regardless of how they acted.

So that is where I am today - back to where I really want to be - loving other people.


Karen S said...

Very well said, Cathy. Sometimes it is tempting to respond "in kind" rather than "in kindness".

Here's to being Grown Up!

Slang said...

Nicely said.

I think "growing up" is over-rated. It's a lot more fun to live in the world of Dr Seuss than Dr Oz.

We can't always live in a "Seussical" world, but we can TRY to live in one.