A Perk To Growing Up

Why yes, I AM amazing- thanks for asking!

Why yes, I AM amazing- thanks for asking!

There aren’t many perks to growing up. Mostly it is a lot of down sides like cellulite and taxes and jury duty, but it isn’t all bad news either. It turns out that one of the perks of growing up is a gradual liberation from What People Think Of You.

I’m not saying that, at the ripe age of thirty, that I am completely free of criticism and the associated self loathing, but I’m beginning to see some progress and that is very edifying. Historically I have had a very thin skin to criticism. I tend to take things personally: criticism, snide remarks, gossip, mistakes, bad reviews, rejection, etc. And I say that in the present tense because I still do it all the time, but now I’m better at getting over myself sooner.

For example, I still have an occasional go ’round with body image along the lines of “OMG I’m so porky and pale and I’m never going to be young and skinny ever again.” This isn’t a rational state of mind and I know it, but I wouldn’t be a normal human being if I never had a bad self image day or two. But where I used to translate this into “I’m ugly and no one will ever love me” I am getting better at turning it into “So I’m never going to be a supermodel and that’s OK” and then I get on with my day.

The advantage that I have now that I didn’t have before is a better sense of what it means to be me. I know what I am good at (organizing stuff, artwork, diligent hard work) and I know what I struggle with (cold calls, small talk, envy) and I know what is Not My Problem (whether my butt is too big, misogyny, Amanda Byrnes).

Now I know who I am. More importantly, now I know who I’m not.

This is exhilarating to me! I have so much more confidence now than I’ve ever had before. There is something very reassuring about being able to dismiss obstacles based on the fact that they don’t apply to me. (Can’t touch my toes? No problem- I’m not a Prima Ballerina.) And by dismissing these obstacles I get to enjoy myself more. Life isn’t just interesting- it turns out it is also fun!

I realize that this is probably just the first step in a long journey of trial-and-error that will turn me into a new person at each step and that there will be many more hair-tearing-gnashing-of-teeth days along the way, but it feels good to know that the compensation will be worth the struggle.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 7, 2013.

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