I probably would have liked the REAL person I used to be. What I wouldn’t like is how she presented herself to the rest of the world.
What I needed was an editor: someone who adjusted my words (and actions) so they took into account the perspective of others and helped me better explain where I was really coming from.
Take, for example my test taking experiences as a teenager.
I’d take a test then complain to everyone around me that I had failed. When I’d get back a 94 or a 96 out of 100, the other students would groan,roll their eyes and show their basic irritation that I had lied about failing.What they didn’t understanding was that I hadn’t lied. To me, any score less than perfect was a failure. I hated falling short.
What I didn’t get was that some students really failed – even when they did their best.
If I’d had an editor, he/she would have told me that failure really is a relative term and instead of proclaiming it, I should have said I wish I’d done better.
Recently, instead of worrying about a score on a graded test, I find myself worrying that I’m falling short in various aspects of my life. I’ve come to realize that I still need an editor. Life experience is a good editor, but it’s not perfect.
Maybe that’s because I still expect myself to excel at everything I attempt, and when I fall short, I focus too much on my imperfections.
A good editor would tell me that life is as much about the experience than it is about the outcome, and I should appreciate the experiences.
Maybe that’s because I still find myself judging people by the standards I set for myself, and when don’t show the same passion, or they blame others for their shortfalls or when they just show up rather than commit to making a difference, I get irritated.
A good editor would tell me that judging someone never provides any insight. Giving people the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words does.
And maybe it’s because I worry that there is so much to accomplish.
A good editor would tell me that any thought, belief or desire that we actually put in writing is an opportunity to touch lives and influence others. Once our words leave our care, we can’t control who is actually listening or reading. We just have to trust that the right person will hear them.
There are times when I wonder how I will someday look back and view the person I am today. And I wonder if I’ll still note how I needed an editor.
That’s when I realize that I am actually my own best editor.
All I need to do is listen and follow her advice.
My childhood bedroom had light purple walls, a gauzy, floral lavender bedspread and a purple and white rug. If a photo of it were placed in a lineup, none of and my adult friends would pick it out as mine. In fact, they would probably pick it as the least likely to have been mine.
My bedroom in my first apartment after college was done entirely in black and white with red accents. Ansel Adams prints hung on the wall and there were no flowers anywhere. Looking back, the room seems rather cold, but at the time I thought it was very mature.
My changing tastes don’t just remind me of where I’ve been and whom I once was. They also remind me that I still don’t know exactly whom I’ll be someday.
That thought always makes me smile.
Day 192: Growing Into the Person I’ll Someday Be
Day 191: Matt Groening Day 190: Tuning Out Bad News and Tuning In to What We Enjoy Day 189: Parents Who Encourage Independence Day 188: Watching Young Minds at Work Day 187: Funny Phone Calls Day 186: Healthy Lungs Day 185: Reality Checks Day 184: Coincidence Day 183: Lame Attempts to Go Retro Day 182: Learning From Our Mistakes Day 181: Goofy Childhood Memories Day 180: A soak in a bathtub Day 179: Optimism Day 178: The Year’s Top Baby Names Day 177: Reading on a Rainy Day Day 176: “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey Day 175: Watching the Torch Pass Day 174: Converse Tennis Shoes Day 173: Family Acceptance Day 172: Christmas Day 171: The Mr. Grinch Song Day 170: Positive People Day 169: Watching Movies From my Childhood With My Kids Day 168: Jealous Pets Day 167: Family Christmas Recipes Day 166: Church BellsDay 165: School Holiday 164: Unexpected Grace Day 163: Letting Go of Things We Can’t Control Day 162: Anticipating a good story Day 161: Hope Day 160: When Dogs Try to Avoid Embarrassment Day 159: Surprises in the Mail Day 158: Kids who aren’t superficial Day 157: A Garage on Winter Days Day 156: Real Christmas Trees Day 155: Being a Parent Day 154: Selfless People Day 153: Nelson Mandela Day 152: Memorable Road Trips Day 151: Great Neighbors Day 150: Oscar Wilde’s quote about being yourself Day 149: Love Letters Day 148: The first day of Advent Day 147: The Breakfast Club Day 146: Marriage and Shared Anniversaries 145: JFK’s quote about gratitude Day 144: Watching My Dog Play Day 143: Having my Family’s Basic Needs Met Day 142: When Our Children Become Role Models Day 141: Random Acts of Kindness Day 140; People Watching Day 139: Sharing Interests with My Children Day 138: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Best Advice Day 137: Weird Human Behavior about Garbage Day 136: Postcards from Heaven Day 135: Mickey Mouse Day 134: Generous Souls Day 133: I’m Moving On Day 132: A Family That is Really Family Day 131: A Personal Motto Day 130: Mork and Mindy Day 129: The Bears’ House Day 128: Veterans Day 127: Doppelgangers Day 126: Letting Life Unfold as It Should Day 125: The Constantly Changing Sky Day 124: When History Repeats Itself Day 123: The Love Scene in The Sound of Music Day 122: Helen Keller Day 121: The Welcome Back Kotter Theme Song Day 120: Sheldon Cooper Day 119: Having Permission to Make Mistakes Day 118: A Diverse Group of Friends Day 117: Family Traditions Day 116: The Haunting Season Day 115; Life Experience Day 114: Changes Day 113: The Wooly Bear Caterpillar Day 112: The National Anthem Day 111: Parents Who Care Day 110: Good Friends Day 109: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss Day 108: A.A. Milne QuotesDay 107: Spending Time Wisely Day 106: Parades Day 105: The Peanuts Gang Dancing Day 104: Sharing a Secret Language Day 103: The Electric Company Day 102: Doing the Right Thing Day 101: When Siblings Agree Day 100: Being Optimistic Day 99: Trying Something New Day 98: The Sound of Children on a Playground Day97: Good Advice Day 96: Red and white peppermint candy Day 95: The Soundtrack from the Movie Shrek Day 94: Accepting Change Day 93: True Love Day 92: Camera Phones Day 91: Bicycle Brakes Day 90: HeroesDay 89: The Cricket in Times Square Day 88: The Grand Canyon Day 87: Unanswered Prayers Day 86: Apples Fresh from the Orchard Day 85: Being Human Day 84: Captain Underpants Day 83: The Diary of Anne Frank Day 82: In Cold Blood Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Day 80: The Outsiders Day 79: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment Day77: People Who Touch Our Lives Day 76: The Rewards of Parenting Day 75: Improvements Day 74: Family Traditions Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes Day 72: Live Music Day 71: Sleeping In Day 70: Grover Day 69: A Good Hair Day Day 68: A Sense of Community Day 67: Kindness Day 66: Living in a Place You Love Day 65: Gifts from the Heart Day 64: The Arrival of Fall Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird Day 62: Green LightsDay 61: My Canine Friends Day 60: Differences Day 59: A New Box of Crayons Day 58: Bookworms Day 57: Being Oblivious Day 56: Three-day Weekends Day 55: A Cat Purring Day 54: Being a Unique Individual Day 53: Children’s Artwork Day 52: Lefties Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer Day 50: Campfires Day 49: Childhood Crushes Day 48: The Words “Miss You” Day 47: Birthday Stories Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us Day 45: Play-Doh Day 44: First Day of School Pictures Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes Day 42: Appreciative Readers Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote Day 40: Being Silly Day 39: Being Happy Exactly Where You Are Day 38: Proud Grandparents Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want Day 34: Accepting the Fog Day 33: I See the Moon Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap Day 31: Perspective Day 30: Unlikely Friendships Day 29: Good Samaritans Day 28: Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet? Day 27: Shadows Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads Day 25: When Harry Met Sally Day 24: Hibiscus Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck Day 22: The Wonderful World of Disney Day 21: Puppy love Day 20 Personal Theme Songs Day 19: Summer Clouds Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s VictoryDay 17: A Royal Birth Day 16: Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His MasculinityDay 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter Day 12: Round Bales of HayDay 11: Water Fountains for Dogs Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers Day 8: Great Teachers We Still RememberDay 7: Finding the missing sock Day 6: Children’s books that teach life-long lessonsDay 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment Day 4: Jumping in Puddles Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street
With rare exceptions, life doesn’t change overnight.
Instead, change is a slow and steady process that occurs minute by minute and day by day. And because the changes occur so slowly, they go unnoticed until they are indisputable.
I spent decades earning the crow’s feet around my eyes and the laugh lines around my mouth, but until recently I didn’t notice them. Then one morning, they were simply there in the mirror, and I realized that I’m not the same person I was 20 or 30 years ago.
I’m not completely different. I’ve always talked too much, laughed too loud and expressed my feelings too quickly. But I am also more confident, less likely to waste my time on petty people and petty issues and more appreciative of all life has to offer.
Time changes everything, and we can either adapt or languish.
Last summer, the fields where I ride my bike were full of corn. This spring, they were full of hay. And now they are full of soybean.
But they, like people, still hold on to pieces of their past.
In one of the fields, brown stalks of corn shoot above the green plants. All of the stalks stand in a row with the exception of one obstinate single stalk. The corn isn’t healthy and, at a glance, has absolutely no purpose.
But it serves a purpose to me.
Every day as I ride by, I am reminded that the stalks are remains of a field that once grew strong and healthy corn: a field that was cultivated and served its purpose and now serves a different purpose. And the current field wouldn’t be the same if the corn hadn’t once been there.
That corn represents my past: the decisions I’ve made, the words I’ve spoken and the relationships I’ve had. The stalks are like my memories. They remind me that I am the person I am today only because of the person that I used to be.
The remains in the field hold no regrets. They simply hold the power to remind me to remain grounded and remember my roots while never failing to change and grow.
I think I’ll take that advice.