So many things since last I did a blog entry. Little and big things. Life changing and not so much. But still impactful. All of what has gone down in the past year or so has led me to this place. It's a comfortable place. It's a place of me.
COVID and the changes it has caused is a whole semester's worth of writing in and of itself. The Presidential issues, the same (and no, not going to get political). All in all, 2020 proved to be a slightly sour year with little sugar to pour on. But no one goes through discomfort without eventually coming out on the other side of it better. It might be different, but it's better.
I guess if I had to try and pick a title for it all it would be "downsizing." And I don't mean that just in terms of my physical circumstances, though God knows my personal body could use some downsizing. I'm not just talking abut hauling junk out of the basement of my house. I'm talking about hauling it out of my heart and soul too.
Over the past year, probably not unlike a lot of you, my personal beliefs and morals have been tested by the way the world is turning. More so than at any time in my life, and that includes growing up in the 60s. I've been frustrated by my feelings about people, and felt I was being judgmental about their views. And how do you end relationships that you've had for years over something intangible like an opinion? Because really, that's what any "unfriending" comes down to. Regardless of how egregious the act. You choose to go with your opinion and walk away. The trick is to be true to yourself and not act capriciously. There's the rub.
One has to be somewhat egotistical or narcissistic to end friendships without thought. I just don't get how people can do that. Or explanation. But, that's their gig, not mine. In my case, 2020 brought me to a place where I no longer could tolerate my own wishy-washy thoughts. If something or someone went against my moral fiber, I usually just brushed by it with a standard "hey, it's not my life" thought. But 2020 opened the floodgates on all of that, didn't it.
When we make the awful choice to put down a loved pet, how many of us struggle with the idea of playing God in the situation? I know I do. Well, I found that struggle to be equally real with respect to some long held relationships. What do you do when someone you've loved forever, or thought anyway, disappoints you by making some really bad decisions or holding some really disturbing opinions? For years I allowed myself to glide past it like a snake on glass. But for some reason, 2020 ripped that bandaid off and I made some tough decisions that were best for me. That meant ending some relationships that I have held dear for years. But I realized that holding them dear was not enough to excuse racist or bigoted behavior and language. It wasn't enough to excuse actions designed to advance oneself at the expense of others. And, it wasn't enough to continue excusing behavior that was personally hurtful and taxing.
So, I wrestled with the God question: what makes me so special that I can judge someone else's actions? And I finally realized that I wasn't judging them at all. People are who you think they are. And for years, in some cases, I'd thought erroneously that some folks in my life were of value, when in fact, they really were not. I don't say these words lightly. This was very difficult for me. But this downsizing wasn't just necessary, it was life enriching. When I ended relationships that were toxic to me, I found myself going through a transformation. I was suddenly free to think my own thoughts without fear of stepping on someone else's opinion that might result in retribution.
And, I found myself gradually emancipating myself from the need to please. Not in an arrogant way at all. Rather, I now choose to please in a spirit of gratitude. I used to do so for reward. Not a good look for anyone.
So, I have made some internal changes. Some mental downsizing. I've walked away from people who made me uncomfortable but I wouldn't admit it. Now, I can miss the friendship, but I'm at peace even at the loss of someone's presence.
It's really not a bad place to be. And with that process in place, it became easier for me to decide what was important to ME. To make judgments about the future based on what *I* want, rather than what I think others might think I should do.
So it's a return to me. Maybe it's an introduction to me, I don't know. I only know that life is slower and less complicated now. The grass is greener on this side. Of that I am certain.
I wish you all love.