I mentioned earlier this week that I had a birthday recently. In general, I don’t really care much about getting older. I guess I’m still young enough to not worry too much about it, though the aches and pains (and jiggles settling in my lower half) remind me more often that I am not longer in my twenties.
At the advice of a former co-worker, I like to treat my birthday each year as a “personal new year.” Of course, that means that if at all possible, I do not go to work on my birthday. After all, it is a holiday. But, probably more importantly, I also try to do a little “taking stock” of my life. In the past, I’ve been mostly happy with what I’ve tallied. I love my handsome, clever and good-to-me husband, I have a daughter who is smart and beautiful and mostly well-behaved. I’ve done well in my career.
This year, I looked a little bit deeper than those surface things, those things that anybody could tell if they looked at me. I really thought about my attitude: toward life, toward other people, toward myself. And I didn’t really like what I saw.
The older I get, the less tolerant I’ve become. I like to think of myself as a genuinely nice person, but I don’t think that’s true anymore. Five years ago, undoubtedly I was a sweetheart. But I now have less patience for … well, anything that isn’t as I want it or think it should be. I use up all of my patience with R, for she often requires a lot.
I am an angry driver. I am resentful at work. I hold people to impossibly high standards and project my own feelings of inadequacy on others – friends, family, coworkers, complete strangers on the onramp to I-65. Even my own father has noticed that I’m not as nice as I used to be. And it’s impacting my health: My blood pressure is skyrocketing again.
I don’t like this about myself, but I’m not sure how to dial down the pissiness without letting myself get walked on. All my life, people have encouraged me to be more aggressive, more confrontational, more assertive. But now that I have become these things, I don’t like what that makes me. How do I balance these things?
Dave and I talked about this over my birthday dinner at Fogo de Chao, and he, rather dishearteningly, agreed with my self-analysis. So I’m going to try to relax, be more carefree and less controlling. I hope that taking the time to get a little perspective on things will make me a more likable person. Happy new year!