Sunday, August 21, 2011

30 before 30: I'm too old for this sh**.

(My goal, as a way to blog more and to actually look more forward to turning 30, is to blog 30 times before my 30th birthday - which is October 14th. My general plan is to reflect on what I've learned in the past 30 years, and what I hope to change for the next 30... but I reserve the right to be superficial and flighty as well - don't want to age TOO gracefully.)

I'm noticing in the last year or so I've taken on more of an attitude that I'm "too old" to put up with certain behaviors anymore, from myself or from other people. The biggest behavior I decided to stop putting up with involves people who make me unhappy on a consistent basis. I cut out some people in the last year or so who at one point were very important people to me. I did so because I realized that their involvement in my life caused me unnecessary stress and ultimately they made me unhappy. One of these people was my own father.

I've never understood the idea of "because they're family" as being the ultimate reason why you should keep someone around who makes you miserable, especially when it's the ONLY reason anyone could quote back to me to convince me to reconcile. My relationship with my father was reflected in my relationship with men in general, in that I let boys treat me like crap because at least they were paying attention to me. I was easily guilted and made to feel worthless when ultimately I did nothing wrong and was a good person who deserved better. It took me a long time to learn being treated badly wasn't love... and it took me longer to apply that lesson to my own father. Ultimately, a person can only take so much sturm und drang, and I decided I'd had enough. I couldn't find a way to keep him in my life AND keep myself happy, so I chose to make myself happy. I chose myself over him.

As for the other people who've been removed... well, the situations weren't as extreme as the one with my father, but the feeling was the same: their involvement in my life caused me unnecessary stress and, while there were occasional moments of fun and enjoyment, ultimately they didn't add to my life in a positive way. As I grew older, I wondered why I kept them around if they don't bring me joy like others in my life do.

Unfortunately, while I have matured in realizing what I need for me to be happy, I'm still maturing in expressing or attaining my needs with minimal damage. I admit with shame and a small amount of regret (which, frankly, is rare for me - I don't regret much or often) that I didn't handle any of the dissolutions of the relationships well. Either I was too harsh and rude up-front, or cowardly and passive-aggressive by just dropping communication. Regardless of how I felt at the time about the people, they all deserved polite and respectful disclosure of why I was saying good-bye, which I never gave them - and at the time, I felt self-righteous regardless.

Well, all I can say is that I'm human, I make mistakes, what's done is done. While I regret how it transpired, I don't regret the results. I only regret how I went about things, and that I might have left those affected with a lack of closure; I know how lacking closure affects me, and I did it to other people... and I've yet to offer it belatedly, either. Frankly, though, I'm of the opinion that if they don't understand why I broke ties, then they still won't understand even if I offer an explanation.

At this time, I can say that everyone in my life, friend and family, is there by my choice, and I'm happy to have them in my life. So I made my mistakes, but I own my behavior and can only move forward learning from those mistakes. Hopefully there won't be a next time, but if there is, I think I'll have matured enough to handle it the right way.

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