Photo Credit: Erin's iPhone
There is something about turning forty that is freeing. Now, if you had told me that BEFORE it happened to me, I would have told you it was a bunch of hooey; a desperate attempt by a forty year-old trying not to feel the pain of aging. In my thirties I was just so proud of my growth journey. I was figuring it out, I was in my prime. Right?
Balderdash! The kids still use that word, right?
For me, the only thing that has ever scared me about aging is that as I get older, so do others in my life. None of us will live forever. My anxiety about losing loved ones is pretty high. I'm working on that.
So I really went into my last birthday with a bit of a shoulder shrug. No big deal. No drowning my sorrows with a bottle of wine and a cake decorated with tombstones.
What I didn't expect was something incredibly cool: the freedom to, well, how can I say this delicately? Not give a flying flip about certain things anymore.
I recently discovered that one of the things I just don't care about anymore is having to "like" people I just really don't... like.
In my twenties I cared a great deal about what other people thought about me. I think that's pretty typical. When you are twenty you are trying to establish yourself in the world... the opinions of others can help you do important things like pay bills. It's kind of vital to learn how to be likable.
In my thirties I still cared a good deal about what other people thought about me, but I also started to care about what I thought about other people. It felt important to make sure I was approaching my relationships, views and the world with an open mind. I needed to be tolerant. Also, a very important trait... we don't want to be so stuck in our views that we stop learning about the world around us.
But just a few months into the next decade of my life, I have felt a big shift. I still care what others think of me... but not what EVERYONE thinks of me. There are certain people whose opinions matter, and certain people whose opinions just don't. And I still strive to keep an open-mind, but have realized that part of being tolerant is being able to say, "I totally disagree. I may not even like you very much. And that is okay."
That's right. My big realization at the top of this decade is this:
"I'm forty, I don't have to like you anymore."
There are people in this world with whom we are just not going to mesh. There are people we just don't like. There are people who just don't like us. There are people who are just bad people. No amount of tolerance will change it. It does not matter what those folks think of you and you don't have to be tolerant of them. It doesn't mean you get to be ugly to them... but it's okay to just NOT like them!
And I have to tell you, it feels great. Someone I don't like says something about me? I honestly do not care. I attend a party where one person just ignores me? Oh well, there are others to talk to.
I like to think that it frees other people up as well. Come on. Sometimes *I* am that person who has been a butt-head. Sometimes *I* just don't want to deal and ignore a person at a party. Hopefully they can accept not liking me and move along as well.
Does this mean I have become that grumpy old woman who just doesn't like people anymore? Not at all. I am blessed with an abundance of friends and family. I'm very happy and I do my best to make others happy as well.
It just means that as I continue to age gracefully with my dreams of Botox and eye lifts, I can do it without trying so hard to spend time or energy on someone I just don't like.
I'm forty... I don't have to like you anymore. And it's okay if the feeling is mutual.
Many Kind Regards
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