A Room With a Southern View

Thoughts on Life and Liberty from an Average Middle-Class Kentuckian

I’m Unique, But You’re Different

i6HviS3N5H2hwTZS0BuP2KbqjHuGfuDGNS5oW2WvhrwWe are all unique, one of a kind, individuals.  We all know this. We all accept this. And most of us see that uniqueness as a good thing. Right?

We’ve been taught that being unique is a great thing. “Stand out from the crowd,” they say. “Be your own person,” they say.

So why do we yearn to be part of a clique? Part of a  club? Part of a group of like-minded individuals? (Isn’t that kind of an oxymoron?)

Truly unique people are usually seen as a little crazy.  Sometimes they’re even outcasts.

It’s lonely at the top…  or at the bottom…  or outside…

In America, we idolize freethinkers for their courage to stand alone; then we want to be just like them. Huh? Does anyone else see the irony in that?

In the real world, we don’t love our neighbors as we should. We focus on the differences and put up walls. We don’t truly value uniqueness.  We try to impose our values and habits and morals and image on those around us.  We are drawn to people like ourselves.  Yet, there is no one like us. We are unique.

And there is the eternal human struggle.

Let’s promise ourselves today that we will look past our differences and find common ground as Americans, as Believers in a higher power, as Humankind, or whatever we can discover in each other that can bring us together instead of tearing us apart.

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Do You Need To Be Perfect?

When I was growing up, I wanted to be perfect. My mother was an intolerable woman, (which is a long story for another time,) and my dad was a good man in a bad marriage who dealt with his lot in life by working long hours and volunteering in the community, which kept him away from home as much as possible. As children are hard-wired to do, I believed my mother. I believed it was my fault that my Dad was away from home so much, that he didn’t want to be around me because I was bad. I believed that I was a constant disappointment to my mother because there was something wrong with me. So I always tried to be the best at everything, to prove to my dad that I wasn’t bad, and to show my mother that I was not unlovable.

This mindset – that I had to be perfect to earn love – carried over into my adult life. I was so wrapped up in the endless pursuit of perfection that I even hated myself if I failed. It bothered me for years, and just a little still, that my college GPA was 3.96 and not 4.0.

When I failed at things, and I did as everyone does, it was life-changing for me to realize that my husband still loved me, still supported me, still believed in me. I began to see that most of the time good enough is good enough. Striving for perfection in every little thing you do will wear you down and make you feel inadequate because nobody’s perfect.

Do your best. Love yourself. Accept your limitations. Think hard on which things in your life really truly need to be perfect, and accept a passing grade on the rest. Trust me, you will live a longer, healthier, happier life if you do.

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Happy Birthday to Me

I recently celebrated my 50th birthday.

I think to myself, “I don’t feel 50.” But what is 50 supposed to feel like? I guess I thought by the time I reached 50 I’d feel different. Old. Crotchety. I actually feel better than I did 10 years ago. I began Weight Watchers in January and have lost 45 pounds. I get more exercise now and I feel more energetic.

Most people guess that I’m 35,  just a few fine lines around my eyes. My doctor says my oily skin ages more slowly. Thank you Dad.  And thank you Mom for my darkish complexion, which protects me from sun damage.  I reckon I’m blessed with good skin genes.  My parents both died in their 80s, and looked 20 years younger.

It’s flattering to look younger than my real age, and good genes are part of it; however I think the biggest factor is my lifestyle.  I trust God.  I don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs.  I’ve been happily married for 25 years, my only marriage.  I’ve been pretty healthy.  I don’t have any chronic conditions, and take no long-term prescriptions.  We’ve been blessed with little tragedy, good kids, steady income, and good friends.  We’re not rich, but have what we need.  The face really is an indicator of the state of one’s soul. Stress related aging is a problem for many folks.

There was a time in my life when I let people drive me crazy.  I tolerated disrespect and abuse. I suffered with constant drama. I believed the bad things I was told about myself. I worried about EVERYTHING. But no more. Those people and bad habits are chaff in my life.  They blew away with the wind, and the quality stuff remains. I am happy, content, and loved.

Perhaps the twinkle in my eye, the pep in my step, and the smile on my face just makes me seem younger, rather than look younger.  It makes no difference to me. I’ve learned that what happens on the inside is more important than what happens on the outside.

Thank you God for the wisdom I’ve gained from 50 years on this Earth.

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Never Grow Up!

Ice-Cream Face

In certain ways I still feel like a kid. I think it’s important to keep a youthful spirit as we age, so we don’t get too cynical, like the stereotype grumpy old men. The world and all its trials can drag us down into despair if we let it. Kids live in the moment much more than we adults do. We could learn a lot from them!

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Pet Peeve: Disrespect

This is a biggie for me!!  I spent so much of my life being the target of disrespectful people that I guess I just got my fill. Many times I’ve wondered what qualities I had that made people so cavalier with my feelings.  I try to be polite, respectful, caring, and fair with everyone. I think some people see this as weakness, and go for the kill.  Shame on them.

I have little use for people with no regard for me.  I used to get all weepy, and I’d be like, “Why don’t they like me?” I tried to be what I thought people expected or wanted. Yet, I have been betrayed and belittled so many times, it boggles my mind!  Do I have a target on me somewhere?  🙂

As I approach the Big 5-0, I have better things to do with my time than worry about ‘haters.’ I’m comfortable with who I am, and I accept that I’m politically incorrect. I try to be the best me I can be, and if anyone responds to that, great. But it no longer worries me if people like me or not, except for my husband, kids, and select family and friends.

I will continue to be polite, and people will continue to not give a damn.

So is the circle of life.

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Question of the Day #3: Is Truth Absolute?

My short answer is… Yes.

My long answer is… Yes, but no living human is privy to absolute truth.

We are each limited by our own perception of reality, or our paradigm.  Take for example the Four Gospels of the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Each tells much the same story, but from four different paradigms.  The details are different, to varying degrees.  Thus the question, “Which one is the real truth?”  All are true, as each man saw the truth from his individual perspective, just as we all view the world through our individual “paradigm bubbles.”

Imagine that each of us is encased in a bubble that filters everything we see, smell, hear, taste and touch.  Every moment we perceive through this filter, and every filter is unique.  An event that is viewed by 100 people will have 100 different perceptions.

I think it’s impossible for us, in this world, to decipher truth without it being influenced by our perceptions.  An event that offends one person may bring joy to another.  Our appearance influences how we are perceived.  Most people only scratch the surface of this world, using their five senses to judge their surroundings without considering digging any deeper.

People judge me by what I did as a kid, or by something they’ve been told, or by one incident, or by my lifestyle, or by my beliefs, or by my past.  I am none of these, and all of these.  I feel that there are very few people who know the real me.  Very few people who have tried.  And most people have me wrong.

Can anyone really know anyone?  How well do we need to know others?

When we presume to know all about someone, we risk being judgmental about their every action.

How would it change the world if people realized that their perception of truth is unique, and gave others the benefit of the doubt?

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Question of the Day #2: Is there anything you feel too old to do anymore?

I’ll turn 50 in about five months, and there are a few things that I don’t do anymore, for fear of crippling myself or breaking a bone.

I no longer roller skate or skate board.  The thought of crumpling in a heap on the asphalt gives me chills.

Climbing trees is probably off my to-do list.

I always wanted to snow ski and water ski. But I’m afraid those days are behind me.

2012 is my year to get in better physical shape.  Perhaps I’ll revisit this question next year.  I look forward to a shorter list of things I can’t do.

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2012 is coming! 2012 is coming!

There are many ways to say it, “Two thousand and twelve.  Two thousand twelve.  Twenty twelve.”  I’ve even heard people say, “Twenty oh-twelve,” which makes me chuckle.  However you say it, 2012 will arrive in a mere six days.

Tradition dictates that we make resolutions for the new year ahead, things we want to accomplish, improve upon, or avoid, such as to lose weight, quit smoking, get in shape, work more, work less, and so on.  The variety of resolutions is as innumerable as human desires.

I’ve been considering items for my 2012 resolutions list.  My list includes typical resolutions about improved health and well-being, finances, and bad habits, perennial items that never quite seem to get resolved.  My major resolution this year is to write more, not better, just more.  If the world doesn’t end December 21, 2012, I’ll resolve to write better in 2013.

I wonder how many people have considered the Doomsday Prophesy in their plans for 2012.  News reports stated that Christmas shoppers spent more this year than ever before, and credit card purchases were at an all time high.  Reckon people think they won’t have to repay the bills?  I guess if the world ends, credit bills will be irrelevant.

I suppose I missed out on the Doomsday credit freebie, but I do have plans for December 22, 2012.  Two plans in fact – Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A:  The world continues on and I get ready for Christmas.

Plan B:  The world ends, and I spend eternity in Heaven.

Either plan sounds fine to me.  I’m not going to spend the year worrying if the world is going to end.  To me the whole Mayan Doomsday prophesy is fascinating not scary, because I followed the Plan of Salvation that Jesus laid out for us in the Bible.

Have you made resolutions for the new year?  Do you have plans for December 22, 2012?  Do you think the world is going to end?  Are you ready if it does?

Please comment on this story and let other readers know what you think.

By the way, Happy New Year!

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