Better Than I Was

“Because never in my entire childhood did I feel like a child. I felt like a person all along – the same person that I am today. I never felt that I spoke childishly. I never felt that my emotions and desires were somehow less real than adult emotions and desires.” -Orson Scott Card

When are we “better” adults? When are we matured in our thinking?

We can always be continually moving towards growth. Unless there is too much damage or too much apathy, we never stop growing.

Is it when your loves are ordered properly, as Augustine would say? Is it when your self is placed in the median balance of caring only about the right things? When do we know they’re the right things?

I think of the old timers who have “earned” the right to say what they want, no matter what. No matter the view, no matter the execution, the abruptness is either funny, or accepted as permissible and not to be dwelt upon. There’s something about extended existence that permits…anything.

Is that better? Is that the ultimate goal? To care less?

I think of the things I cared about deeply as a teenager. I think of the things I was ashamed of, embarrassed by, but endured. I think of the multitudes of misery then that I simply say “No” to now. There are things now that I believe are a waste of time, that taint too much happiness, that I simply cannot be bothered with them any longer. I don’t want them in my life. And I say so. And I remove them. And I don’t care about the reactions I may receive.

Is that better?

Is that a step towards being a don’t-give-a-rip old lady? Or is that a step to maturity? It might be both.

I think of myself at 19, how I thought myself wise, impenetrable. I think of myself at 22, thanking God that new friends hadn’t known me at 19. I think of myself at 28 – thank goodness I’ve experienced new things and changed views.

I think of myself now. I am so different, so new. And yet I am the same. And I am who I am today because of 19, and 22, and 28, and yesterday.

The same insecurities are there. The weight I afford them has changed. New ones have moved in, and I haven’t yet learned the perfect balance. I think I am better than I was before, but so far from where I want to be.

Things that made me feel powerful before, I have given up. They are so unnecessary. Things that made me feel weak, I have also given up. Do you know, that can be the hardest? Pain, when carried for a long, long time, can become indistinguishable from who you are. To give it up feels as though you are giving away a piece of yourself. It feels terrible. But it’s a lie. You will not be less you. You will be more you than you were before.

I wonder about the things I care about this year, that will be pushed from my life in ten. I pray they are replaced with better things. Less of “me,” and more of who I am supposed to become.

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