I am a work-in-progress. One of the ways this is most obvious is with opinions I had to call myself out on. From etiquette to life goals, here’s a brief list of things I used to believe were meaningful, true, and necessary that have thankfully changed.
1. Baby showers after the first baby
I used to wrongly think that baby showers after the first baby were tacky and rude. If I am not expected to host or it isn’t for my baby, then my opinion on their appropriateness is irrelevant. Babies, who have no choice in their birth order, are worth celebration. Dictating how other people celebrate is actually rude.
2. Non-matching kid’s clothes
I have too much to do in a day to pick out everyone’s clothes. When they wear something I wouldn’t, as long as it fits and is weather appropriate, I let it slide. It’s their bodies. They are allowed to like what they like. I do compliment when they do particularly well pairing an outfit, but other than that, I devote my energy elsewhere.
3. Shoes on the wrong feet
After struggling to get the shoes on their feet, the last thing most kids want to hear is they did it wrong. I’d rather foster their independence and problem-solving skills, and let them figure it out themselves. I could do the cute sticker trick, but that’s not me.
4. Rules about what’s appropriate to wear because of age or season
Being in my thirties, sometimes a voice in my head asks if I’m too old to wear something. The same voice has also wondered if my white shoes after Labor Day are a faux pas. Luckily, I found this handy guide that helps me get dressed every day:
20 Things That Women Should Stop Wearing After The Age of 30
1-20: The weight of other people's expectations & judgments
— maura quint (@behindyourback) June 3, 2015
I wear what I feel good in. I assume other people (except Serial Mom) are doing the same.
I’ve been saying, “No, no, no” to Beyonce since 1998 when I thought Destiny’s Child would be a one-hit wonder. Through the years, when the Beyhive would try to share their excitement with me, I would obnoxiously express my disinterest. Luckily, I’ve realized I was being jerk. Not everything is for me, and that’s ok.
6. The need for others to understand my perspective
I had a bad habit of not only needing to be right but to prove how right I was. So glad I’m over that. It’s exhausting, futile, and often times mean.
Nowadays, if you ask my opinion, I might share. I might not. My being right is not a compelling argument to expend my time and words. Also, I’m not here to save people from their own ignorance.
7. Buying something just because it’s a good price
I used to value a great price above need and utility. My cluttered house showed it. My house became so much easier to clean once I purged and gave myself permission to spend more on desired quality items that I will use until they are worn through.
8. Maintaining unnecessary “friendships”
Today I unfriended a guy on Facebook. He didn’t do anything wrong. There was just no reason for us to be friends. We’d only spoken to each other maybe 3 times 12 years ago. We don’t even “like” or comment on each others stuff, so I unfriended.
When people pop up on my feed now, I question why we are friends. Do they post things that I am interested in? Do I wish to maintain a connection? If not, I unfriend. I no longer devote attention, time, or energy toward unnecessary connections.
9. Writing off people’s flaws that should be deal-breakers
I don’t have time for racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other types of bigotry or harmful behavior. I don’t care how old you are, or where and how you were raised, or that you can make exceptions for the “right” kind of brown/immigrant/gay/etc person.
No more passes. Every day, we wake up and make choices about who we are going to be. If that’s the choice you’re making, I’m not interested in explaining it away with excuses.
10. Looking for a perfect job
I used to believe if I worked hard enough, I’d earn my well paying, dream job. Well, life is not a meritocracy, and even when we are able to start jobs we thought we would perfect, reality can be counter to our expectations.
Instead of looking for a dream, I ask myself two major questions: do I hate this and does the compensation match the required effort? Related, I no longer have time for a job that makes me car cry.
11. Correcting people’s grammar
My day job is to evaluate written communication for grammar and clarity. I completely believe there’s a time and a place for following most grammar conventions. However, if it’s not literally my job to care about it at that moment, I don’t critique people’s grammar.
Mistakes happen. Sometimes it’s due to laziness. Sometimes the error is autocorrect’s fault. Sometimes, it’s not a mistake at all, but instead a vernacular that’s operating by a different but completely valid set of language rules. But 100% of the time, there’s something better I could be doing with my time than using grammar to feel superior.
12. Picky eating
While I would eat many things, I used to have a long list of things I wouldn’t. Being the third child, my tired parents catered to my nonsense. But as an adult, I found that when you’re at dinner parties, potlucks, business meals, or your future-in-laws’ table, being picky is rude and childish. I don’t have to love every meal I eat.
Freeing myself from these and other problematic beliefs has been one of the best things about getting older because now I more wisely invest my time and energy into things that enrich my life. I am looking forward to expanding this list.