Friday, July 10, 2009
From Being to Contentment
Being at peace with yourself changes during a lifetime from "being yourself" to "being content with yourself." As you age, you do less "being" and more "accepting" of the product. Life changes pace as you find just doing the things you once took for granted gets tougher and tougher. So, you become accustomed to saying, "Oh, I'm just not myself anymore." And, you naturally spend more time on accepting whom you have become since the past is literally fixed and impossible to relive. Some people arrive at the acceptance of aging gracefully while others rage against it. I think being content is a product of the ability to change. For the self confident who have liked themselves from the beginning, change comes hard and seems almost merciless in its inevitability. For others who are blessed with meek and mild status from the start, change takes place with natural maturity. Of course, most people have a self concept somewhere in the middle, so they merely hang onto the bar of the roller coaster ride of living as the ups and downs of acquiring personal changes formulate their inner truths. To be content with being an older self, I find consolation in peace, comfort, and daily (somewhat boring) life. I have resigned myself to creating situations that explore these simple domains. Much is sacrificed in the process, but much is also gained. For example, most luxuries are relics of the past: I don't have to buy the newest car, electronic device, or plaything. Now, I enjoy affording a meal or writing in this blog. Today, time is my best resource, so I pace myself accordingly (more like the slow, Southern style). At the risk of parroting the lyrics of Paul Anka's "My Way," I have regrets without exemption and I certainly have "bit off more than I could chew" more than a few times. But, I refuse to choke or let others choke me with obstacles from the past. I know some would white me out of the old photos and memories if given the opportunity, yet I don't plan to let that happen. I am learning to become content with myself (this includes all that I have been). Living with consequences can be hell for anyone, especially those with close to 60 years of repercussion. So many people think aging should entail a loss of understanding and dignity. From my perspective, I believe I understand more than most young people, but due to circumstances that frame me as conservative and mentally impaired, many close to me devalue my opinion. Once you become stereotyped (ask Blacks or the poor), your pigeon hole becomes your "proper place" with its "proper perspective." I have taken this into account while being content with myself as I often offer my silent response. Nothing takes away from dignity more than being shut out of the decision-making process. No one is their true "old self." Wouldn't it be refreshing to make positive claims with this statement instead of implying purely negative connotations that getting older means we are somehow "lesser" in stature. Not being your old self can also mean "I don't live in the past." I have always heard that we learn from history, but don't we also sing "Auld Lang Syne" every New Year? "Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne?" "Being content with yourself" could mean waking up in the morning with a fresh start, no matter the age or circumstance. Most people won't let that happen for another person because revenge serves people better than forgiving in terms of personal acquisition.