A list of a few things I’ve outgrown:
- Any insecurity about coming from a small rural Texas town. I had a moment sitting in a meeting of the Beverly Hills PTA Council (that’s all the schools in the district) when I realized that all the people there were just like the people (mostly women) I’d known when I was growing up. They were there because they wanted to do everything they could to help their kids have a good school experience. Suddenly, I was aware that people are all the same, no matter their zip code.
- A need to get approval from others for being cute or pretty. I remember distinctly when I was pregnant with my third child at 38 and noting that I was not getting the usual flirtatious response I had grown accustomed to all of my life. While it felt odd, it was also oddly freeing. Since that time, I have dropped my need for that sort of male response. And it is definitely liberating.
- A need to be validated as smart. I grew up with very smart older siblings and it took me a long time to understand that I was also smart. The competition was pretty fierce in terms of brains in my family so I quickly became the socially adept kid in the family. Luckily, over time, I began to understand that I could be socially adept and also smart.
- An expectation that people I love will automatically be emotionally where I need for them to be at any given time. Lots of time those people are exactly where I would like them to be but sometimes they are preoccupied with their own life and just can’t be emotionally available. Surprise, surprise. I’ve discovered that I can be just fine whether they can be right there for me or not.
- My expectation that life will turn out the way I thought it would. Sometimes it has and many times it has not. Luckily, most of the time when a situation has not turned out how I expected it to, it’s made a shift that was ultimately for the better.
- My belief that people always need to express their feelings so they can work through them. While it can be helpful to get feelings out in the open, I have learned over time that not everyone is ready or willing to share what’s happening with them and that is okay too. People process feelings in a multitude of ways.
- My idea that romantic love is a feeling of being swept away. After forty-two years of marriage, I’ve learned that romantic love is based on mutual respect, kindness, a good sense of humor, and a sense of being heard and seen. It’s also nice if you are attracted to your mate. That is a lovely plus.
- That taking good care of yourself guarantees good health. While it certainly helps, there are no guarantees and that is simply a fact.