Saturday, March 19, 2016

Getting Older and More Reckless?






Towards the end of the song "When We Were Young", Adele so passionately sung: "Oh I'm so mad I'm getting old, it makes me reckless...". 

I'm getting old. 

I find that I'm becoming much less patient with people. This isn't to say that old people just automatically become cantankerous, intolerant, or narrow-minded. It's because with age, one doesn't only become equipped with wisdom from experience, but also the realization that life is indeed short, as well as the increased confidence that we now know what we deserve or should put up with.

The more I think of the many connections I have on social media, real-life and virtual 'friends' combined, the more I'm tempted to let go of a number of them. Some I keep for convenience, some out of a mutual utilitarian reason I'm guessing (I follow you - You follow me type of thing), and then there are some I keep out of sentimentality, people I've known for a long time but are not genuinely friends with. For the most part, I'm not bothered and will not really put in the time or effort to cut certain people out as long as they don't annoy me. But recently, especially with the heated political discussions going on, my attention can't help but be drawn to those who are just being plain stupid and a bit of an embarrassment to be connected to.

And if there's one thing I've gotten really impatient with through the years, it's stupidity. I have a very low threshold for people who seem incapable of critical thinking. What's worse is that stupidity almost always gets packaged with arrogance. I really can't think of anything more infuriating than a stupid person who thinks she's the smartest and has the gift of infallibility. This just absolutely sets me off without fail. 

My husband always ends up frustrated with me when we get into these discussions. He insists I'm too idealistic or naive. He is frustrated that I seem to expect much of people, that I continue with my false belief that majority of humanity actually thinks or is capable of critical thought. I would argue back by saying it's not that I expect brilliance from people but just simple thinking, analyzing, weighing of options and then informed decision-making. He would then say most people are not even capable of that and that the sooner I snap out of my illusions about people's mental capacities, the happier and more peaceful I'd be. Perhaps he is right.

Recently, I asked my online friends about their criteria for deciding who to unfollow or unfriend. Majority stated that they hate narcissists, people who always brag about themselves, post a never-ending stream of selfies, or are such drama queens/kings always looking for an audience to sympathize with them. I get that and can see how that can be really annoying. Fortunately, none of my real-life friends or even A-list virtual friends fall within that category. As such, it makes it easier to cut off the narcissists in my life.  With stupidity though (and I doubt they're aware of it), it makes it a bit trickier for me, especially when these are 'friends' I have a history with. I am not a confrontational person so I know I will avoid drama at all costs. 

As with Adele's point of view, I'm not mad at all about getting old and also don't think I can ever be reckless with people's feelings. I might find myself taking more risks and feeling a bit bolder but can't see myself being reckless with other people's hearts. Getting older for me may mean not caring so much about what other people think when it comes to MY 'business', my life, my choices. But that doesn't translate to not caring about relationships or affecting another person's sense of self...unless that person truly deserves it and it takes A LOT for someone to deserve it, in my book. You must absolutely be toxic in my life for me to completely sever ties with you. (And yes, I've done this once with a friend, but that story is for another day.)

Enter the 'Unfollow' button, which we can all apply in real life. It's me saying, "I'm not completely cutting you off, we can still contact each other if we choose to, but I refuse to be exposed to your energy, your choices, and am opting out of regular interaction with you."

Social media gives us a lot of gifts and garbage, and one thing these buttons or choices teach us for sure is that we can really only control our selves, our responses to other people and not other people's characters and their ways. We don't have to confront every single human being that annoys us. And depending on your level of intimacy, it may not even be necessary at all for you to explain your choices. You can just walk away and ignore your source of annoyance.

I'm not at all sad about getting old, although I can definitely do away with the physical pains and limitations that go with it. The fact is, I'm currently indifferent to the psychological and emotional changes unraveling within me. I neither love nor hate them, although one thing is certain. I'm fascinated by them and am curious to see where they will take me. If boldness with one's choices comes with the territory, then bring it on. I prefer it though with a dash, pinch and sprinkle of sensitivity. It makes it smoother to swallow. 

6 comments:

  1. I went through a too long period where all I did was think about aging. But I'm a geriatric social worker so....actually former geriatric social worker.
    I've been blogging for going on 12 years. I used to be a fairly known political blogger. In the beginning I thought I had to answer every comment and treat every person even the ones who were beyond nasty to me with some dignity. But that made me treat people I like harshly. the day I realized you could delete comments was one of the happiest of my life.
    For years I was scared to "unfollow" for karma's---something I believe in strongly. But again blocking and unfollowing made me a much better person for the people I like
    I'm really glad that we connected!

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    1. Oh my, I can only imagine the abuse you must have gone through with some nasty comments as a political blogger, Pia! I don't have the patience and the level of compartmentalization required of that. Kudos to you! And yes, thank God we can delete comments! A few years ago, I was attacked here by another blogger. I would have been able to take it but she crossed the line and started belittling my readers as well. It was really nasty and from that point on, I learned that comments moderation is a must. I had to be clear about my boundaries, what I just can't allow in my space. It's good to age and learn, isn't it? THANK YOU so much again and yes. I AM REALLY HAPPY TO CONNECT WITH YOU!! You know I'm a fan! xoxo

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  2. I've gotten much more aggressive in unfollowing of late. There's only so much I can take and I do believe it impacts your state of mind and overall health. I'm not sure those I've unfollowed even know I have or if so don't care. That's all good. I'm sure I've been unfollowed, too.
    b

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    1. Hi Barbara! Yeah, I don't think we ever find out when we've been unfollowed. And as you said, who cares? The mental and physical health we gain from it is worth it! Life is indeed too short and I swear, if I engaged with every stupid thing I see on social media, my life will be shortened even more. Haha! Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the entry of Spring! It's suddenly cold here in TN, it's so weird!

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  3. I'm like you, I don't take unfollowing lightly. I'd rather ignore, except when I'm absolutely incensed. I prefer to mute people. However, that isn't a perfect solution and I'll still see their posts from time to time. I think I'm far too serious to be on social media sometimes. I spend far too much time considering whether I should unfollow them or not. *sigh (And I'm sure that there are people who think the exact same of me.)

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    1. "far too serious to be on social media" ---- Oh my, that's a eureka moment for me, Marie! I think you might be right! Thanks for your insights!

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