You know you’re old when…

by Christopher Paul on April 16, 2007

…when you find yourself less tolerant than you had been in the past.

I consider myself an easy going guy.  I’m not one to get angry and when I do, I (generally) feel I am justified.  And even when I do get angry, I’m calm about it and almost never loose my cool.  While I have lost my temper before – and still do from time to time – its rare (I think).  But mostly I just roll with the punches and take things in stride.

But lately, I’m finding myself less likely to “forgive and forget” and I’m holding things in.  If someone ever trespassed against me, I would forgive them.  I’d even give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they didn’t mean to trespass against me?  I’d let the small stuff stay small and focus on what was really important.  But now, the small things bother me and, more and more, I fine myself silently cursing “some jerk” who obviously wronged me.

When did I become this way and why?
Is it age?

Is it learning “life’s lessons?”

Am I getting wiser?

Am I losing my youthful ideals?

And what about the altruism?  Is that gone, too??

I don’t know what has changed but I’m sure its me.  The world was always a bad place and I just seemed to forgive it.  I knew there were thieves, jerks, cons, scammers, bullies, assholes, bitches, and every other name for the type of person who would rather spit at you than flash a smile.

Yet, in my youth, I’d say, “they don’t know any better.”  Or I’d think that they are in some kind of personal hate or have low self esteem that causes them to be defensive with a good offense (you know, the football saying) to hide their perceived shame, guilt, and lack of confidence. I’d be able to accept the things I couldn’t change in someone by understanding them – almost justifying them – by thinking as them or, in most cases, not thinking as me… there is a difference.

But I don’t like what I’ve become and I want to change back to who I was before.  And let me say this, I’m not really that old in years.  I’m 31.  Yet, I feel a crotchety 83 – an Abe Simpson.  I feel I’ve lost my youth somehow and, with it, my understanding, my compassion, my forgiveness, my easygoingness even (yes, easygoingness is a word dang nab it!).

So, how to get there?

Do I meditate?  Do I isolate myself to reflect on myself, the world, and ponder why it is that people are self destructive, selfish, rude, and… well, human. Do I restrict my interaction with the world to regain some naivety?

Or how about the opposite?  Should I throw myself into a crowed room and socialize, mingle, or strike up seemingly random conversations?  Will I be able to build a bond with those around me and have that transcend to those I haven’t spoken to?

I just don’t know what to do.  And as every day passes, I find myself getting more and more frustrated with the world.  At some point, I fear, I will not be able to forgive at all let alone forget.  And all the good things I did will be a waste because I’d have become the exact type of person who I could forgive before but now, no longer.

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