When to back down

Spring miscellany
Lunch prepared by Kelsey and Alex, a few weekends ago.

I’ll turn 29 this week, and so naturally, I am thinking about death.

And about how we’re supposed to improve, at least morally, with age and about how that doesn’t ever really happen. Because here’s the thing: Kids are jerks, sure, but adults are just jerks in a different way.

For example, I picked a fight at brunch a few weekends ago. (In my defense, I was hungover for the first time ever, which felt timely, as I am lurching toward the grave.) It was a fight over identities and definitions. I knew no one would agree with me, but I felt like ruffling feathers. It didn’t go well. Everyone thought I was a bigot by the end of the morning, and I still felt like emptying my stomach in my sister’s tidy bathroom. But I let the lectures roll in. I let the topic die. We played cards and everything was fine.

The special thing about this relatively unpleasant scene that I caused was how calm I felt afterward. In my youth, being wrong or being told I was wrong affected me profoundly. It’d ruin my entire month. I’d agonize over it.

But now, almost 29, I feel I am gentler and less self-assured. I still have strong opinions, of course (you can’t praise a pug or a French bulldog in earshot of me without getting the sternest of lectures). I still hate being wrong. But I’m learning to let the thing die. (Learning, Guion! I said learning.)

I’m still a jerk — but in a different way. Not sure if that’s something to celebrate but I am pondering these minute emotional shifts. Life is short. Soon we’ll all be gone. It’s good to let things go, when you can.

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2 thoughts on “When to back down

  1. Letting things die is a tough lesson, but a really good one. We save ourselves a lot of unnecessary tension. Sounds like you let yourself off the hook too, which is great – we can tend to beat ourselves up. The only problem of course is knowing which fights to let go of and which ones are worth perservering with.

  2. I’m turning 29 in June, and often I used to ask myself the same questions as you do. As a child, teen, or even in my early 20s, I had high expectations from myself at this age. I was always looking forward for that moment when I was going to tell myself “Well done you, that was so mature!”. As I was not getting closer to that much desired feeling, I started to get worried. What if I will never be mature or finally “grow up”? Will I be a teen trapped in an adult body? Everything changed when I was going through few old pictures… I started from one of the oldest – from vacations, holidays spent with family, parties. And then I was enlightened – as the years went by I changed a lot – my tastes for vacations, the way I treated myself and the others, the way I saw life. I got it all wrong – maturity was already in me, but it came so slowly, that I didn’t even realize it was there. Thanks for your nice story!

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