What goes into the making of a thirty-five-year-old woman?
Relationships, circumstances, heartache, big wins, losses, small wins, obstacles?
A double tick for all?
I don’t know about other women, but I’m certainly a product of the above.
I’ve always believed a birthday is like a fresh start; a chance to start over in the same calendar year (although you can do it on any other day too). I’m officially 35 today, and I’ve noticed a sudden skip in my walk. It feels as if my body’s telling me, “You don’t have too much time; hold on to what you’ve got.” I can’t help that I’m a thirty-five-year-old woman with a brain of a forty-five-year-old or, so I believe. Is it because I grew up with three older sisters and had access to their share of experiences. Maybe. In my opinion, growing older can be intimidating, but that’s only if you let fear take over. Then again some people say Age is but a number (head scratch**). So what’s my number?
A large part of my 34th year was dedicated to the Ordinary Life Project. I still have a few more months before I hit the complete button. While I readily worked on Being Light-hearted and Being Thankful, I subconsciously stayed away from the third goal — Be Forgiving. It’s bloody hard work. But what are goals if not challenging!
So here I am, working out the details on how to do this right without getting overwhelmed. I guess the best place to start is with MYSELF. That’s where the healing needs to begin. There’s a long list of reasons for which I need to forgive myself, and I intend to address them one at a time, so it don’t give up halfway.
Moving on to those who thought it was alright to mess with my feelings is next on my list. Over time I have learnt that forgiving someone does not mean saying the words out loud and trying to pick up where you left off with that person. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone. I keep coming back to my favourite learning – Seasons of Life. People show up in our life for a reason and a season. And these seasons come loaded with teachable moments. When it’s over, it’s time to say goodbye. But sometimes those goodbyes can get pretty nasty leaving a bitter aftertaste. And the only way to get rid of that pungent taste is to purge the anger and release the grudge you hold.
I strongly believe time is a great healer, and sometimes you just have to wait it out. That grudge you’ve held for so long will begin to feel like a load you never needed and yet insisted on carrying around. People are not as complex as we make them out to be. There is no need to take on somebody else’s baggage. It’s theirs to deal with … often we try to lighten their burden out of the goodness of our hearts. And then sometimes it backfires; things spiral out of control. What do you do now? We feel let down and begin to complain about the person in question. Oh, those mighty expectations we built up in our head come crashing down like a ton of bricks. Have you ever been so mad at someone that you practised the lines you would like to yell at him/her just in case you cross paths? The next time you feel like practising a litany of swears before a mirror try saying “I forgive him/her/you” instead. See how that makes you feel. But don’t stop there. Try it again and again until you feel no anger towards that person. And then decide if you want to make peace or just move on to the next adventure life has in store for you.
Other times it’s best to agree to disagree, and I’ve learnt this the hard way. I’m all for talking about inner feelings, but not all talk is productive. Its OK to lay low and observe in silence. This one is new to me, and it makes me wonder, do we always need closure? Can we let go of a relationship that is festering slowly yet steadily without having the last word? I’m sure many people have been successful at doing so, and I want to try my hand at it too.
So now that I have shared what I think people need to do when they’re experiencing anger and frustration towards someone who’s wronged them, I’m going to do my best to follow my own advice and see how well it works.