For those who haven’t read, This is 40: Part I, check it out here. Wait, wow. I started this back in August? Time flies when you put stuff off....
I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life making mistakes, learning from them, and feeling superior to my former self for being such a dummy when I was younger. Then I make all new mistakes and I’m like “Future Becky is really going to judge you harshly,” to which I remind myself that one of the things I’m working on is to be a little kinder to myself. To which I’m then like “oh c’mon, snowflake, a little self-criticism never hurt anyone,” to which I’m like “Jeez, you may never learn this one fully, Beck.”
And that leads me to the “What are you still learning” part of this series. And it’s probably the hardest one, if I’m being honest. Because most of these fall under the category of being a better version of myself (I’m a special snowflake), which means that I’m basically admitting that I’m not slaying it currently, and the ways in which I’m not slaying it currently are sort of basic, in a way. For example, this is an abridged version of the running list in my head at all times:
Being more patient.
How to truly relax.
How to load the dishwasher and actually get the stuff clean.
Letting it the f go.
Knowing when to hold onto it.
Accepting that I’m not always right.
Accepting that I’m not always wrong.
Finally buying underpants that fit me right, ohmygod.
How to judge less.
How to worry less.
Reading the directions to the very end.
Let me elaborate a bit.
Patience. This is a biggie. Like, maybe the biggest, if you ask CB. Because it’s not one of my many virtues – never has been. When I was a kid, one of the constants on my report card was “SLOW DOWN. Doesn’t read directions carefully.” Or something to that effect (I was too impatient to read the whole comment). Also, there was a lot of “shhhhhhhhhh” and “socializes excessively in class” comments that I take as clues to how slow everyone else was in getting through their assignments and how much faster it goes when you don’t read the directions so you can talk to your friends. I was basically a kid genius.
But even though I’m slightly better at reading the directions these days, I really try to flex my patience muscle when parenting and wife’ing. Especially when I’m doing them both at the same time. Like, I’m continually asking my toddler to be patient, but if you’re not ready to go with your shoes on, keys in-hand, and wallet in your pocket after I’ve said “we’re leaving in two minutes” and I’ve dressed the kids, packed the diaper bag, remembered the sunscreen, brought extra plastic bags for the portable potty, made the plans, and shut off all of the lights….I’ll visually cut you if you’re not ready, CB. And I don’t really hide it? Which is the key to a happy marriage, I’ve learned.
So, patience. That’s one of the things I’m constantly trying to practice
and master (let’s just stick with practicing it right now
before we get too lofty with our goals. If I can make it a week without getting
impatient, we’ll move ahead to phase II of mastering. So, you know, never.)
Caring less while caring more. This is a tricky one. Because it requires me to be aware of my feelings, why I’m feeling them, and that requires, I don’t know, work. Which I’m not opposed to, but I’m shocked at how often I find myself catching up to how I’m feeling days after I’ve been feeling that way. Sometimes weeks. So maybe I should’ve added “being in touch with your emotions” to my list, though CB would probably say that I’m too in touch with them since he called me a “professional crier” a few weeks ago and I took it as a compliment. But don’t worry, crying is like laughing to me, it just bursts from me and I get the feelings out and then I’m totally fine afterwards. Like an insane person.
Anyway. So I care a lot about what people think about me. I care what people I know and love think, and I care what the barista at Starbucks thinks – not totally equally? But if CB told me he loved me and I was great that day, but then I overheard the barista telling the other barista that I add too much half and half into my coffee in a judge-y way, I’d ONLY think about that for the rest of the day. And probably never go back to that Starbucks! Additionally, I care what people reading this blog might think about the fact that I sometimes go to Starbucks and what a waste of money that is. And then I think about how I shouldn’t care about what strangers think about my choices. Which is why I forget my keys at least once every 5 months because my brain is cluttered. And boy, being a mom has totally helped with me not caring what people think! (said nobody ever.)
The point is, I care a lot about what people think about me, and sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s terrible. So what I’ve been working on over the last few years is caring less about what some people think about me and more about the people I care about. Like, instead of spending energy worrying that a stranger doesn’t like me, I should spend more time checking in with friends and family to see how they’re doing. Help them out, send a card “just because,” let them know I’m thinking about them. This is my goal – do that more, care about the barista at Starbucks and his opinion less. #lifegoals
At the same time, I legitimately do not have the emotional or mental bandwidth to give a shit about a lot of stuff that, ten years ago, would’ve consumed me. Which I love about being 40. I mean, I’ve been doing it for 1.5 months already and basically I’m like “All fixed!” Except for the stuff above. And the other stuff I forgot to mention because I’m not a completest.
Loading a dishwasher. This is less something I can’t do, and something I sort of don’t care if I get right, but should care more about because….I think it annoys CB? But also, maybe this could easily have gone on the forthcoming “stuff I’ll just never care about” list. Like recycling. Which I KNOW I should really, really, really care about, and do in theory, but not as much in practice since I will basically just put stuff to be recycled in our recycling closet in our apartment and then make CB sort and actually recycle it….which is better than I used to be, and so I’ve taken it off the list because I’m all about progress over perfection when it suits me.
But the dishwasher-loading thing seems like sort of a waste of my energy, while making sure the bed is made properly with the pillow zippers facing down seems like a totally valid use of my time. Which is why I find myself muttering frustrations at CB when it’s not done that way because, God, doesn’t he understand yet that I know what I’m doing because I’m always right?
Dammit. This is gonna be a hard list to