|Youth has the market cornered on truth.|
I have one friend who likes to get into debates about anything and everything. He often plays the devil's advocate just to see how people will react. More often, however, he likes to argue because he thinks he's right. At twenty-five years old he has all the righteous conviction of youth. One of the more entertaining aspects of our conversations is attempting to get him to consider different perspectives. Occasionally it can be like pulling teeth from a chicken, both frustrating and impossible.
At twenty-five, I was a good daughter, a good student, a good friend, and a good wife. I did and said all the right things for which I received praise and admiration. At forty-two, I don't classify myself by those identifiers. I don't even know if I am "good" anymore and I don't care if I receive praise. The the thing is....I am better person than I used to be, and I like that much more than simply being good.
At this age, I am peaceful and centered. I'm more humane and forgiving. I'm not nearly as self-righteous, uptight or judgmental as I used to be. Time and experience have mellowed me, have made me really think about what is important in life and who is important in life. I believe that kindness should be a guiding compass for all behaviors. I think that if a person moves from a place of love and pure intent, he or she can be truly happy. People can have their own joy and celebrate the joy of another without jealousy or judgment clouding it. Once I adopted those beliefs, I moved away from the superficial appearance of goodness into living goodness.
Don't get me wrong, I still have my convictions about things. I'm not all-accepting of everything. I have non-negotiables that I've held onto regarding what I believe to be right and wrong. But like a long-simmering sauce, those convictions have been reduced, strengthened and clarified. All the other BS has floated to the surface to be skimmed off and tossed away. One of the compensations for losing the physical vitality of youth is that increasing mental, spiritual, and emotional vitality we experience as we age.