Coming out of the holiday season and into the new year has me reflecting on the lessons and experiences last year brought and premeditating on what is still to come. Weirdly enough I’m finding myself in an unfamiliar place of serenity, feeling assured that whatever the upcoming year has in store, I will be able to handle.
I might be the minority in some of this but it is becoming increasingly clear to me with every passing year that the older I get the less I care about things I used to. So in defense of caring less, here is a laundry list:
Most of us care what other people think to a certain degree, obviously. I still want to appear to be well put together, but there was a period of time when I would never leave my house without a full face of makeup, hair saturated in Paul Mitchell products, dressed in fashionably uncomfortable clothing. Something eventually clicked and I came to the realization that it was unnecessary. I have since mastered the art of shopping for business casual clothes that are as comfortable as pajamas, implemented a simple hair and makeup routine and started catching more z’s in the morning.
When I was younger, I always felt the need to be entertained. Convinced that my boredom would be the death of me I was usually looking for ways to entertain myself. These days I would honestly prefer to sit and do nothing as opposed to investing time effort and money into trying to have fun. I have a short attention span when it comes to unimportant things so if something is taking up a significant amount of time it needs to either be engaging, inspiring, or teaching me something. I try to be as productive as I can in my downtime, otherwise I just feel like a waste of space.
Arguing to get a point across and be understood is one thing but unless there is a problem to be solved or a relationship to be saved, it isn’t necessary. There is no such thing as a correct opinion. When I was younger, stupid and intolerably set in my own ways, most discussion turned arguments would get my blood boiling because I always shut out other opinions and ideas. I had such a desire to be right that it became my temporary mission in life. I try to be careful now not to allow myself to believe that my way is the right way and that all other paths and possibilities are wrong unless I can prove it.
This is hard work often done for people that won’t put in the same effort. Unless the effort is equal on both sides someone doesn’t care enough. If somebody wants to communicate with you or see you, they will. A good thing to always remember is that your most important people never disconnect and as long as you have a handful of people that genuinely care about you, keep in touch and love spending time with you, you’re winning. Those are your people.
As a retired social media junkie who at one point in time documented my every thought and life experience just to wave them around like a flag for everyone to notice and be annoyed by, I am happy to have reached the point where I would rather experience life outside of technology and social media. It is much more enjoyable.
I care about special occasions, but I no longer feel that they need to be perfect. Life isn’t perfect and we should never expect it to be, so I think we really need to cut all of our holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and weddings some serious slack. Of course we should still celebrate when the occasion calls for it, but removing the pressure and unrealistic expectations that we put on those events would make everything 100% better.
One of my least favorite questions ever is ‘so, do you have big plans for the weekend?’ I understand and appreciate a small talk conversation, but it always makes me feel awkward because nine times out of ten my response is ‘no, not really.’ While the question continues to come at me like clockwork on a weekly basis, I don’t feel bad anymore about relaxing, recharging and getting prepared for the upcoming week, nor do I feel pressure to make plans for the sake of making plans.
It took a ridiculous amount of time to learn that it is not my responsibility to pass judgement onto anyone, whether I agree with them and their lifestyle or not. Forcing unwanted advice and opinions onto people almost always fails to bring the change you want to see, so it’s better to just avoid doing that. If someone asks for your help or advice, by all means assist them, but if not you may just have to let them do their thing.
Anyone that has ever been told they are talented or creative will eventually feel the need to express that against their will. I’ve had numerous relatable conversations with very talented people about feeling as though they are falling behind, not delivering, or wasting their talent due to temporary lack of inspiration or desire in general. It becomes more of a chore than a hobby when other people put pressure on you to not waste your talent, and sometimes you put it on yourself. The problem with this is that whenever something feels forced it no longer serves the purpose of being therapeutic or inspirational. The end result is usually wasted time and frustration. The best way I have found to combat this and stop agonizing over it is to only be creative when you feel like it, whenever you’re inspired and feel that it serves a purpose. You are not a machine. Do what you feel like doing with regard to your creative expression and everything that’s meant to fall into place will fall into place.
It usually takes me a good amount of time to get to know new people, to let them get to know me and become comfortable around them, but this isn’t something I sweat anymore because I understand that people who are drawn to you in the beginning will continue to feel drawn to you going forward. You don’t have to be an open book or the center of attention in order to gain attention and make connections. Some of the most interesting people I know are the ones who aren’t trying to be interesting. These people are more interested in learning new things, connecting with others and finding common ground. Most of us have the desire to be well rounded individuals surrounded by other well rounded individuals, and this is a great way to get there.
A few resolutions for the new year:
- let in the positive and discard the negative
- keep things that don’t matter at a distance and maintain a healthy amount of concern for the things that do
- recognize on a regular basis that you are worthy of living a beautiful life, as long as you are willing to work for it