Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The constant struggle for grown-up-ness

There's a certain age beyond which people rarely think childish behavior is cute or acceptable. There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to pull up the big boy/girl pants/panties and walk/talk like a grown person with sense in their head. I believe this is truth in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Don't we all know at least one (or ten) people who needed grown fourteen yesterdays ago? We've talked about characteristics of grown-up-ness before. I'm not sure why we think that as we mature, we are suddenly bestowed with wisdom and grace and all manner of maturity… it's work (sometimes hard work) to be a pleasant responsible citizen. Here are a few things I must confess that I still struggle to master:

Patience – Kids are allowed to be impatient. My 3 year old BougieNephew will cut a fool if he's hungry/sleepy/bored and there's no quick fix to these problems in front of him. He will repeat "I hungy. I hungy. I hungy." until someone places food in front of him. For a child it's very cut and dried. I need something now so I yell for it now. I have to secretly laugh when I tell him, "Can you ask me politely?" And while wailing impatience is not the greatest thing to witness from a chile… on a grown assed person foot-stomping and carrying on until you get your way is seriously frowned upon.

I have been cursed with zero patience. I mean none. I've learned to fake it and I've learned some tolerance but honestly, if I said what I actually thought even half of the time… well, let's just say it would be epic. The number of times when I would love to fall out and throw a tantrum with my lip stuck out saying, "I want it now!" well… let's just move on.

My impatience often manifests itself because I hate to wait. Hate. To. Wait. Waiting in lines I wonder where is the process improvement and why would anyone get in line to check out without double checking that they had sufficient payment first? What I say is, "No problem, I don't mind." Waiting in traffic I wonder why people with cars that they know are going to breakdown when the thermostat tops 90 even bother to put their rust buckets out there? But what I say is, "Can I call someone for you?" If someone tells me to be somewhere at 8:00, I call if it's going to be later than 8:05. I give everyone a five minute window. Nowadays with texting and twitter and cell phones, there's no excuse (unless you are sick or dying) not to let someone know if you're running late.

I also find that my patience threshold for rampant ignorance/stupidity/bullshiggity gets lower every year. I used to pray for patience all the time. When no more was forthcoming, I just prayed that I not cut a fool holding onto what little patience I have.

Not giving a damn – I'm getting better at this. It used to be that I was infused with empathy and sympathy for everybody's plights and pitfalls. Now… not as much. But I still haven't mastered the art of flat out not caring what people do, how they think, why they're mad why they don't agree with my impeccable logic or how I'm not one of their favorite people in the world. I just don't get how that's possible (yes, I'm joking). I've definitely developed a thicker skin as far as things people (who know nothing about me) say about me. My book? Well, I'm figuring out that everybody's a critic. And I do mean everybody. But as long as they bought it and read it to criticize… I'm okay with that too.

I actually have Twitter to thank for pumping up my Gibbadamness. (Just made it up) Having random folks call you everything but a child of God makes you develop selective hurt feelings. That tweet bounces off, that one stung a little. That one? Well, blocked. Onto da next. As BougieMom says, "Sometimes you just can't give flipping fig. Life is too short."

Stubbornness – The trick to this one is to disguise it as determination and stick-to-itiveness. Then it's an admirable trait and one that won't drive folks around you crazy. Once I get something in my head, once I back something, once I believe that something is worth my time, I'm all in. Not to the point of blind faith but definitely in a protective, why-don't-you-see-what-I-see kind of way. I could blame it on my inner Capricorn or just admit that I'm a stubborn kind of gal. It takes a minute to get my head turned to the left if I'm already facing right. Which kind of segues into my next one…

Knowing when to give up graciously – Hmm, thinking about this one now, I realize that it's really a combination of the above three issues. Impatience, giving too much of a damn and being too stubborn to back down mix together and evolve into a struggle to be gracious in defeat. This one I fake extraordinarily well. I'm actually fiercely competitive (family of four kids) and quite positive I'm right most of the time. This is why I rule in Scrabble. This is why I was good to let my nieces and nephews win on the Wii until they started talking smack. Then they had to be taught a lesson. (It was for their own good. Don't smack-talk Aunt Chele). Moving on…

So when I lose or have to admit that *gasp* I was wrong, it chafes yet I do it with southern honeyed charm. Doesn't mean I have to like it. Actually, typing this up I can say that I probably hung into some of my relationships and friendships a sconch (ya'll know what a sconch is) too long. Learning to cut my losses and get out while the getting is good is one of those lessons I have to keep learning.

Not sure what prompted this post today maybe just a few things on my mind. So I ask you, Bougieland – are there elements of grown-up-ness you struggle to achieve (and master)? The floor is yours.

20 comments:

AppleBerryMIA said...

Great post. Patience is my struggle. Maybe one day they'll make a pill? I could use a daily dose.

Sarah said...

Another good read. I think it takes time for everybody and like you said some people don't. I've been spending time thinking about what my Achilles's heels are and how I can better deal with them. I'd say your #3 is one of them. I'm stubborn, but I think of it as a good thing :-) My stubbornness to hold onto my plans, priorities, and general ideas of how I should be living my life are what got me out of the bad situation with the last boyfriend. And they are what keeps me from giving up now since I'm still in a tricky place. There are days when I spend hours giving myself lectures about not giving up. I've always had a lot of patience, but it has been getting less as time goes on. I'm looking forward to book #2 :-)

onlyme said...

I tend to get mad, stay mad, hold a grudge... I guess that's stubborn huh?

datdudeincali said...

You what you do get in adulthood that kinda passes you by in childhood? Guilt. You worry about consequences. Or at least, you should. I could use some of that Gibbadamness myself.

BB Waite said...

Well you are ahead of the game. Most people don't even realize what they need to work on let alone have presence of mind to pray for it. BTW, I would have never know you are the most patient person in the world. You must have ulcers holding it in.

OneChele said...

Funny you should say that. I developed ulcers at age 22 from holding everything in. Took over ten years to recover from that. Now, I cardio-box it out. Or blog it. ;-)

Orange Star Happy Hunting said...

Not really, I was forced to grow up very fast.

I will say this tho on the flip, some people get TOO grown, meaning they lose their wonderment and thats tragic.

I will always have the frosted side to my shredded wheat, even when I become an old ladyLOL

careycarey2 said...

Now, in my humble opinion, this was one of your top 10 posts. Really, you spoke from experience without any blame. Blame is a funny name game, and you laid it at your door. Big ups to you OneChele. This post should give all of us a few moments of ponder. Well, it hit me where it hurts.

Oh, I loved the analogy of how a child discharges their emotions. They feel it, and instantly give it away. We feel, hurt, hungry, mad, jealous, etc, and then, hold them for a verrrry long time. And then, mess pops out. Then, the blame game is back in the house.

"Not sure what prompted this post today maybe just a few things on my mind"

Well, sometimes it feels good to give it away. Honesty is a tuff gig, but it feels good on the other side.



Good post.

diamond life said...

Love this post. Really do. Makes me sit down and say hmm...

UDK (U Don't Know Me) said...

You came with some truth on this one.

SBChitownChick said...

Just sent this a friend of mine asking that he own up to his #3ness? But he was too stubborn to see himself in there.

careycarey2 said...

Hey, although your latest post created a shadow on this one, i liked i so much i used it in my latest. I linked you and used your name. Don't worry, it was all good.

Jasmine Girl said...

Ow, I hate being wrong as well. I doubt I'm as gracious at admitting it as you are. And allow me to issue a Scrabble challenge right now!

Melzie said...

Amazingly, I don't have an issue admitting when I'm wrong but that only makes room for the other "areas in need of improvement". Patience is one that's so black and white for me, I'm either sickeningly patience or ready to explode from impatience. As a good friend says, that's not my ministry...lol.

I'm too old to give a second thought to some things, so not giving a damn is easy. And, stubbornness is something I'm working on...yeah, that's it...working on... :-). We're all wonderful works in continual progress, so as Carey said, it's great when we realize these things and seek to do better.

Max said...

Great post! I'm still working on tact. When you're a kid there is a certain level of bluntness that you can get away with because you're cute and little. When you're 35 and blurting things out...eh not so much.

Solomon said...

Patience, some days I have it, and some days I just don't. I have been back and forth quite a bit lately. Who knows, maybe someday I'll have it mastered

sunt97 said...

I am sooo impatient. If I ask someone to do something and they waste time, it drives me nuts. Like you I hate waiting in line or waiting for people who are wasting time or mine doing something stupid. They other day I was at the hospital to get some blood work the clerk was talking and flirting with some man instead of doing her job. My piss meter was steadily rising and when she looked at my face she could tell and ended her convo with the man. It stills pisses me off even now. Guess that is why I have a bit of road rage too.

Peace, Love and Chocolate
Tiffany

deeinsandiego said...

okay...that explains why I like reading yout blog....a bougie capricorn who loves scrabble.....

OneChele said...

LOL! That is me ;-)

Nina said...

I used to be impatient. The other day a old lady was SLOOOOOWW at the gas station and it irrritated me a little because I wanted the line to go faster. Then a few days later a dude was pulling out of his driveway with equipment in his truck and I had to wait on him and for a second I was impatient.
But I told myself both times- MOST people are doing the best they can. The old lady is in no way obligated to hurry for my convenience,nor was the old man. My desire to get home 2 minutes faster does not make him wrong for having to slowly back out of his driveway. People before process, empathy before efficiency.
Things take how long they take. I think that way in part to be considerate. And in part to keep from always being stressed and irritated at people. I may one day be old and slow,or have car trouble, or a big stroller and a lot of bags getting onto the bus,or so busy dealing with a sick kid and a migraine that I didnt realize I didnt have my wallet AFTER I get to the checkout.. Everyone has a story, most people are doing the best they can.

What I am not good at, is letting things be sometimes. I'm bossy,

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