The older I get (and I know this sounds slightly weird), the more I realize that I don´t want to change as often as I did when I was younger (again: weird). Maybe I´m getting stiff and rusty in my ways like an old grandma, but I think I have earned that right.
The first time I realized my reluctance to budge was when I tried online dating aboutsic months back and I got all those messages I probably would have answered when I was still a student, but my older self thought those messages gross and pointless, mainly because the men were either perverts or not what I wanted (maybe some of those were perverts too. I´ll never know). I remember sitting in front of my laptop and thinking to myself that I don´t need this bullshit.
The second time I realized I´ve become too old for dealing with stuff I don´t need or want was when I was at my hairdressers and I told the nice lady with the sharp scissors exactly what I wanted, but she kept insisting that I would look real hot if I tried a new hair color and she told me that mild purple highlights would go best with my complexion. I tried being nice at first and told her that was not what I wanted. She was pouting her lips like she couldn´t believe that I didn´t trust her impeccable advice. She told me that all fashionable people now dye their hair with colors one might think rather extreme at first, but actually looked awesome. I told her again that I did not want purple highlights. I repeated what I wanted. When she put a towel around me, she started again with those purple highlights. I got mad. I admit I wanted to tell her to shut up about the purple highlights already and simply cut my hair, but from previous experience I´ve learned that it is never good to make the person changing your looks mad at you right before they start their work, so I simply left. Probably not the nicest thing to do, but I realized that I wouldn´t have gotten what I wanted from her, so I turned my back on her.
Turned my back on her.
It seems I have been doing that often lately. When the guy I dated six months back turned out not to be the right man or thing or the right man at the wrong time or the wrong man at the right time or whatever, I turned my back on him. Sure, we talked, but after he told me to grow up and simply accept the fact that things would only go downhill from here, I excluded him from my life.
And I have also been doing that with a couple of friends. The student teacher training left me only with a small number of friends, which are those that didn´t get offended by me taking three days to text back and about two weeks to return a call. Sadly though, I have been sorting out friends ever since I passed my state exam. It seems that my level of tolerance for things people do is not what it used to be. I get mad at people for letting me down and I get mad at people getting mad at me for speaking the truth. But mostly, I get mad at friends, when they don´t even try to understand me or when they waste my time.
I had a friend who would call and we would talk for hours (and I do mean hours. If I remember correctly, the record is about 7 hours). We would have to schedule our phone calls, because with her crazy work schedule, my work load and anticipated our long calls, we both had to be free. We invested the time, because we could both profit from those calls. It was balm for our souls to be able to tell someone just how you felt, not having to give pretend-answers that made it seem like all was well when in fact nothing was.
However, it had gotten even more and more difficult for us to find time to talk, because she was usually busy on the weekends and I was busy on weekdays, but we made it work somehow. The last conversation we had on the phone was one of the longest ones we had ever had and we talked about her ex and how she felt about him. There was crying, there was laughing, there was understanding.
A couple of weeks later she asked me to give her advice on something she had written for a job interview and she thought that a teacher´s perspective would be helpful. I didn´t really have the time to read her stuff, there were exams piled high on my desk and I was drowning in work. But I did it anyway. It took me about three hours to read everything and to give her a detailed feedback.
A couple of hours later she wrote back saying that my answer sounded conceited and arrogant and that she didn´t even want to consider my input now. I was flabbergasted. I read my email over and over, trying to figure our what was so conceited or arrogant about what I had written, but I just didn´t see it. I had meant well and I hurt to see her trash my effort to help her. I had taken time I didn´t have to help her out and I was hurt that she didn´t see that, didn´t even take that into consideration. As a friend, she should have known I would help, even though I didn´t really have the time.
And that´s something I´m not going to do anymore. I´m not going to invest time into something I think is important when I know there is a high chance I will only get rebuffed in the end. My younger self would probably have apologized for anything she might have read into it, but my older self just snorts and goes on.
See, I don´t really have the time to put up with the bullshit some people throw my way. And I don´t think I have to. I think I´m old enough to decide when I should change or adapt or simply let things slide (not grammar, though, it´s still incredibly difficult for me not to correct German grammar mistakes when I hear them). I think I have proven that I can handle my life, though sometimes I struggle with the choices I have made or have to make, just like the rest of the people out there. I think I deserve to simply live the life I want to live. Just me, without purple highlights.