I’m not much of a talker. That’s one reason that I write. Writing dialogue allows me to tailor conversations the way I’d like them to go, enabling me to make that glib remark I wished I’d made, infusing logic into disjointed repartee, and at extreme times giving me the wherewithal to hit a speaker upside the head with a lethal comeback. Regrets, I’ve had a few, and usually they were due to my lack of a quick response or courage to say what I felt when stunned by other’s arrogance.
When I was a child, I was honest due to stupidity. I actually thought that people appreciated honesty. They don’t, or they didn’t appreciate my take on situations. Usually, I was vindicated…eventually. But now I filter my initial response because I know better than to give a kneejerk reaction, at least to those outside my circle of intimates. Within my circle, I’m just as honest as I was as a child, but not during the interim of my thirties and early forties. Childrearing takes a lot of energy. I said one thing and thought another because honesty just wasn’t worth the hassle. The lesson I had learned then was to choose my battles.
A change occurred at age forty-five, and I think many people come to the same realization at that age. Up to that point, we were still evolving our personalities and discovering who we are. With that forty-fifth birthday, you understand that you have attained mid-life and you pretty much are who you are. Evolution doesn’t stop, but rather than have events happen to you, you start to control what happens. You come to realize that if you don’t have some control in your life, it’s your fault. You speak your mind more, become more congruent and if people don’t like it—tough. In short, you stop trying to please everyone and try to please yourself more.
And why is this a Valentine’s Day message? Being honest in relationships is essential. But the problem is that until you really know yourself, which takes time and experience, you can’t be honest. If you don’t know yourself, how can you be honest with your beloved? At every age, we evolve, becoming more at peace with ourselves and with our relationships. Our word has more integrity—and then we learn to lie. We don’t tell our spouses that they are old, fat and ugly. We see them in their youth and appreciate the body they once had, we remember their sacrifices knowing what they gave, and when they get forgetful or can’t hear us, we lie just a little so that they know we care.