It’s all a matter of perspective. Now…what is “it”?
My mother and I were talking. She said her mother didn’t like her friend Sandy. She didn’t approve of the girl’s family. In essence, Sandy was guilty by association, not merit.
“You didn’t like some of my friends, either,” I said.
“And I think that was wrong,” she admitted.
“When the girls hung out at ____’s house, I worried that they were there. I wasn’t sure it was a good place for them, a good influence.”
“Your children respect you,” Mom said. “I don’t think you have to worry. They’re never going to let you down.”
At this golden stage of my life, I can see that perspectives change as we grow older, more knowledgeable, and wiser. I think I’m beyond the “ideals” phase of my younger years, the time that I was so certain that I could mold my world into what I wanted it to be. Along the way I learned that too often, in this chess game called life, we have to deal with the consequences of actions of other people even though we are innocent bystanders who had been minding our own business.
These days I advise my children (now all adults) that they need to relax, pick their battles carefully, and let go of the things they can’t change because holding onto those things is hurting only them.
Oh, I’m not so mellow that I never get bent out of shape. Ask the guy at the cell phone store who jerked my 19-year-old around for a week. I threatened to talk to the state attorney general’s office and the Better Business Bureau.
“You don’t have to talk to me like that,” he said.
“This has been going on for too long,” I said.
“I’d have to see the phone.” Before I could speak he said, “I’m with a customer. I’ll call you back. What’s your number?”
But I wasn’t home if he called. Four 20-mile trips at $2.13 a gallon of gas, a minimum of half a dozen calls switching my daughter from one person to another, we took the phone in yet again. I wasn’t satisfied with the resolution, but my daughter was. She got a new phone, a new two-year contract and now she has phone service so we don’t have to worry about her if the car breaks down along the road on her way to or from college classes.
And peace settled around me in time for me to be physically and mentally ready to be available for my elderly father’s cataract surgery.
“There sure is nothing good about getting old,” my mother says frequently. “They call these the golden years, but I don’t see anything golden about them.”
But my 80-year-old dad presents a picture of someone making the best of these years and fighting to stick around awhile.
It’s all a matter of perspective.