(Let me caveat this blog post by saying not all embarrassing moments will heal up, but I take comfort in the fact that it can happen, as I’ve learned from others and with my own experiences.)
When young, many of my embarrassing moments were so mortifying.
Like when the elastic in my shorts snapped at school, when I broke a window pane with my butt, or when I got my hair caught in a curtain holder.
I couldn’t see how such incidents could bring me anything but a red face and a desire to hide from the world. forever.
One of the many delights of aging for me: the humiliation typically* fades for many of those memories, and they morph into little anecdotes about myself that I can share with others and have a good laugh at. They have bonded/enriched many a friendship for me, as we chuckle over similar past mishaps.
(*and ideally – I know this won’t happen for all those moments!)
Young me absolutely did not appreciate the richness that discipline brings to a life. I certainly appreciated other things. A delicious meal? Absolutely. A lovely friendship? Yes. A beautiful flower? Yes again. Discipline? Um, no.
Older me wants to befriend it, better understand it, and saturate myself in stories that glorify it. Even experience pain in order to achieve it.
Because the years are teaching me how incredible and necessary discipline is:
We all must suffer one of two things:
The pain of discipline
the pain of regret.
The older I get, the more I remember bits of advice my parents gave me that I brushed off, only to loop back years later and humbly think, “Yup, they were spot on!” I’ve devoted a little section in my blog where I will periodically share a story that illustrates that while my parents don’t know everything…they sure know a lot. And while their advice may not hold true for everyone, I find that it often did for me (and isn’t that what they secretly wanted, in their heartest of parenty hearts?)
Now, granted, a lot of things made little me feel like a “weirdo” on any given day. But one fun fact about my household was that we didn’t possess a TV for most of my growing up.
While deep down, I knew better, I still felt like my peers saw me as “the girl who had no TV”. Like my family was a strange hybrid of modern meets Amish.
But then years later, I found THAT PERSON. Do you know who I mean? That special someone you run into that shares your frustrating past experience (ranging from catastrophic to slightly embarrassing) that will bond the two of you in an instant.
Anyway, I found my person. I was chatting with a colleague, and she mentioned not having a TV while growing up.
“It was awesome!” She said this confidently, almost as if it was a privilege. (But not in an “I’m better than everyone else” kind of way, more like a “I’m very grateful that this happened to me” kind of way.)
And I found myself chiming in and saying, “Yes, it was one of the best decisions my parents could have made for us.” And I meant it. Because it forced me to go outside, delve into books, and experience time with others that didn’t involve always staring at a bright screen. I exercised my imagination by creating my own pictures and words to “watch.” I wasn’t daily vegged out with shows, but rather embraced life beyond the screen -whether I wanted to or not. And it did me a lot of good.
Yep, Mom, Dad, you were right.
Older people talk about how forgetful they are, and while only in my late thirties, I’m starting to notice my own forgetfulness. But, I actually don’t care. I’m not ashamed of it.
For example, I might forget someone’s name. I vigorously started learning first and last names of my peers in elementary school (and of course the middle names of my BFFs.) Soon I was in secondary and high school, where I was flooded with more new names and faces. I memorized most of them (after all, I wanted to be “in the know”), including those who were friends of my parents and sibling. My college years brought me in contact with another new set of people at my university and so did my first job where I catered very personally to special clients.
Names were more than just words: they became personalities and left impressions on my heart. I now feel things when I hear a familiar name. Memories emerge. Images of expressions, smiles, and eyes flash in my mind upon hearing a name.
The sea of faces only became greater when I went to graduate school and then when I started my career. I married, and more names and faces were learned as my husband’s family and friends became my family and friends. Married life has resulted in several moves overseas, and the parade of people has only continued.
So if I can’t remember a name, not only do I go easy on myself, I have a slight feeling of pride.
Starting out in life, I prided myself on knowing first AND last names. So, what if I can’t remember someone’s first name, let alone full name?
That’s okay. I wouldn’t trade it for my full life.
Creator of Love, Auntie.