I’m live this morning, using the iPad and trusty keyboard (two trips to the US and multiple to Europe) to write between physio appointments. The last month has been a revelation in terms of personal fitness and injury recovery. Waking up, after a bad dream at 5.30am, I didn’t feel old any more. Today, I really am becoming physically younger, despite two exercise classes that have literally driven me into the ground. I could be 25 again: nothing hurts, physical increasingly less of a concern.
Mentally however, there is a long way to go.
It’s a continuing source of amazement how other people view your life. The perceptions of others are a vital part of your own existence mechanisms, but only to a point. During conversations with both kids, the topic of ‘be yourself, not what other people want you to be’ is an almost daily occurrence. Developing that vital sense of self should be part and parcel of every individual’s healthy development, except more and more it is the approval of total strangers that seems to matter far more.
Lots has been written around the Instagram generation; the same pictures, taken at the same spots around the world become virtual badges of honour to waft at your peers. It’s not just Social media either: sitting here in a health club, there are achievements to be had here too. Do you chase them for more exposure and greater glory, or is it more important to plough a distinct, separate furrow?
Depending on how long you spend online reading about other people is likely to affect your view of their world. However, like it or not, you will have absolutely no idea of how they process data, feel emotional responses to the same stimulus that you do. From time to time, you will be served circumstances that you will either learn from or ignore, based on how data is presented. When it happens, don’t ignore what takes place.
There are a remarkable amount of things I need to improve upon going forward. To be arrogant enough to think that somehow, because I made it through half a century largely intact, there is nothing that needs to change would be a spectacularly narrow-minded assumption. How I learn however is altering, where that takes place slowly shifting. In the end, that’s no bad thing either: to live in one place for too long can ultimately be harmful.
Once upon a time, in a situation I felt uncomfortable with, the default action would be to just turn and leave. This is no longer a viable option, because there’s more to lose than gain by doing so. Therefore, you cope with circumstances as best as you can, and try your best to not screw anything up too badly. If people genuinely care about you, shortcomings will be accommodated. If it matters enough, you can fuck it up, apologise and move on.
The problem comes when you fail to learn from your mistakes.
I am continually grateful for the people who really care, and their actions are apparent, when I am sensible enough to stop and listen. These are the people worth treating with respect that should be listened to. Working out who is listening used to be a tough ask, until the penny dropped. Now, it has, everything makes a lot more sense. There is a world of difference between saying something and actually doing it, and a universe of difference between outrage and personal offence.
If I can begin to learn that difference, then other people could too.