When I was little, nothing was more fun than piling into a bed or a pile of cushions and cuddling and talking and reading and wondering about the world.
My mom and sister and brother and I would all be kittens together.
This came back to me today when I was in a videoconference with half-a-dozen online entrepreneurs. These are women I only know virtually, and one of them said something apologetic about being THIS age and still having THESE dumb feelings.
As if there’s an expiration date on learning.
As if there’s a statute of limitations on gaining insight and understanding, on maturing, on figuring out what makes sense.
In the videoconference, I had already said a lot of insightful, urbane and sophisticated comments. What I didn’t get around to saying was this:
Let’s be old together. Today.
Let’s stop apologizing for not yet learning the things we’re supposed to know by now, at this age, all this water under the bridge.
Let’s show ourselves the patience we’d show to anyone else we love who is moving imperfectly through the world, making parallel if not identical mistakes over and over as we try to work through our unique life questions.
Or even the same dumb, repetitive questions we keep forgetting the answers to, the way we forget where our glasses are when they’re sitting on our face.
I am nearly 49 years old. Old enough to know better, perhaps. There are only a few things I know for sure:
- I’m not doing anything immoral, illegal, or even particularly harmful if I eat a sleeve of Ritz crackers in bed.
- I may let ugly, stupid things out into the world from time to time. Like farts, or insults, or really really bad ideas. Sometimes I will hurt someone else’s feelings. I haven’t learned yet how to ALWAYS control myself. Or why.
- There’s a reason I’ve never had a regular 40-hour-a-week job, and while I don’t know exactly what the reason is, I’m going to keep trusting it.
- It is possible to write effortlessly and fearlessly. It is possible to write un-self-consciously. Even if you don’t know when to use a hyphen versus an en-dash, or whether to treat data as plural (correct) or singular (widely acceptable).
- My joy is found in connecting with others. I love conversation. I love stories.
And though I sometimes miss the girl I used to be, I’d much rather be the woman I am now, in all her glorious imperfections, without apology.
What is one thing you know for sure? Please share your wisdom in the comments.