Archive for March 2014

Communication and Interaction: Tips for What you May Notice When You’re Over 40   Leave a comment

Anyone who’s under 40 should definitely read this. Maybe even under 35.

I have a few observations that might be helpful to you as you get older.

The rules change as you get older, and although it might not have done me any good, I wish someone told me these things.  Here’s what I have noticed.

1.  In any group social setting, assume that, if you are older than the people around you, they expect you to initiate the conversation. This applies whether you have never met them or whether you already know them.  So it wouldn’t hurt to stop worrying about whether anyone is noticing you, and notice them by saying hello, smiling, or whatever comes to mind.

2.  People will also assume that, because you are older, you are wiser.  You know things they don’t know. This is, I suppose, true.  A practical application is that they think you already know things, already have friends, already made it through that problem or situation, and they won’t realize you may be just as lost as they are, just as in need of friendship as they are, just as in need of wisdom for the next life event as they are. They will most likely look up to you for what you have accomplished and assume that it was some special knowledge that got you there.

3.  Be OK with the fact that you will not be noticed for your accomplishments, your looks (because you probably don’t have those any more), your hipness (because you aren’t) or your cuteness.  And if like me you have been a big pea in a small pod most of your life, realize that will change.  All you’re experiencing is what other people live every day.  You don’t need other people to ask you how you are, what you think, or what is new in your life, as much as it may feel that you need that.  God will provide exactly what you need, and his attention and regard is yours, all the time.  You have the opportunity to really get to know the people around you, by initiating contact with them and listening to how they are doing and where they are in their lives.  You have something they don’t: experience.  Let them benefit from it.

Acceptance of your new role and position is a hard change, but it’s your best option.  I have wasted too much time analyzing what is different now, what am I doing to put people off, why are people here less friendly than everywhere else I have ever lived, and all of those questions have not really gotten me anywhere.  What I want is to go with what is, and be content.

I hope that for you forewarned will be forearmed.  Just go with it.  It will be different, but different is not necessarily bad.  (Yes, I know it’s scary, but repeat with me while I keep repeating to myself: different is not necessarily bad.)  Hard, yes.  Different, yes.  New, yes. Feels odd, yes.  All that is true.  But I am confident that there is a divine purpose to go along with the new reality.

And hey, being perceived as an expert is part of your new reality.  And I  like that.

Posted March 2, 2014 by swanatbagend in servanthood, transitions

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One More Thing Nobody Told Me   Leave a comment

You probably have seen the quote.  I did around the time I was first pregnant, 19-some years ago.

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  Elizabeth Stone gets the credit for putting this into words, and maybe it’s what I deal with, but I don’t think so, close though it comes.

Of course, yes, this is true, if it means that what is most dear to me is not mine and cannot be kept safe.  Can’t argue with that.

However, for me right now, one of the hardest things about being a parent, and one that I don’t remember anybody mentioning to me before I had children, is this.

I want so much for my children to get what they want, that sometimes it gives me pain, emotional and physical. When contemplating longings my children have, my chest literally hurts.

Now please tell me I’m not the only parent who experiences this.  I really hate it, because I know well enough that reality is we cannot make things the way our kids want, we can’t keep them happy, we can’t smooth their paths through life.  It’s impossible and that’s the way it should be.

And it’s not that I don’t want my child to be unhappy because it’s unpleasant for me, although certainly there was a time when that was most of what I was about when I was trying to help them: avoiding the meltdown, the scene and the stress.  It’s definitely more fun when your kids are not unhappy.

And it’s not that I want them to have things they want that aren’t good or safe.  I have no difficulty ignoring what’s simple foolishness.  But that doesn’t really happen that often.

Nope, this is different.  This is really seeing who they are, and where they want to go in their lives, and agreeing with them in heart, mind, and spirit, that their desired path would be a great and wonderful thing.

And knowing that as much as I want it, my wanting won’t make it happen.

And I would give up quite a few wishes of my heart, vacations, new furniture, you name it, doggone it a limb or an organ! just so that child could have what he wants.

Nope, can’t be done.

I think I’m not the only one who knows this situation.  When I was 10 years old we had a bazaar for Halloween in the school gym.  My mom dressed up as a gypsy and was in charge of the wheel of fortune.  There were little prizes to be won when the wheel stopped on the number you guessed.  Somehow I got my heart set on this little transparent cat figurine.  I was so disappointed when the wheel went past my spot.  Bad place for my mom.  I don’t remember begging, although it’s certainly possible, but a few minutes later she gave the thing to me on the sly.

Looking back on that event, I now understand the thoughts and emotions driving that small act of illegality.

You want your kid to have what she wants.  I guess that’s a natural part of mothering.  But it’s one I certainly have to moderate.

I can intellectually align myself with this reality.

But the heart sure has a hard time keeping up.

Posted March 1, 2014 by swanatbagend in parenting

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