Suddenly Seeking Impermanence
Lately, these two feelings have been flowing through my blood stream, intertwining with each other and coming back to settle in my heart and brain.
Something inside me definitely changed when I turned forty. A switch went off, and suddenly, everything and everyone came into focus.
As perceptive of people as I thought I had always been, I now realize I have been very naïve, way too trusting and well, honestly, kind of a schmuck.
I have always looked for the good in people. It’s a trait from my grandmother that has been a blessing and a curse. That woman could find something sweet in an ax murderer. Unfortunately, I can be the same way.
Sometimes, always looking for the good in people blinds you to the bad. Those little red flags that I was always willing to overlook are now screaming at me as they blow in the wind.
I think people mistake my acts of forgiveness for being gullible. I get excited about promises made to me and then am actually shocked when people don’t follow through. I expect every man in my life to be as reliable and loyal as my father and it’s just not going to happen. I am learning this as I go. Hence, the disappointment.
Regardless of the glow of sarcasm that surrounds me, I am a people pleaser. I care far too much about what people think about me or how they feel. I am a sponge that absorbs other people’s emotions and energy. I carry around this extra baggage that is not even mine and it becomes a self-imposed burden that I can’t shake free.
Turning forty and becoming single has been terrifying and wonderful at the same time.
On the positive side, I am really coming into my own and figuring out who I am. This can only be achieved by being alone for a while. I am enjoying my creative side and embracing it. I am starting to surround myself with people who are also in the Arts and it feels like home. I am meeting people who share the same passions as me and we are having some really great conversations. I finally get to be me. I’ve never been a conformist and surrounding myself with like-minded people reinforces my desire to just do what I do.
With my newfound awareness, it’s amusing now when people treat me as they always have and their looks of surprise when I don’t respond like the ninny I used to. I’m sort of done with the bullshit.
I’m tired of making excuses for people and their behavior. That is on them. I will, however, accept responsibility for the way they treat me. People will test you to see how much they can get away with and for how long. I can’t control that, but I can control how much I tolerate.
Impermanence is understood by Buddhists as one of the three marks of existence, the others being dissatisfaction (Nothing found in the physical world or even the psychological realm can bring lasting deep satisfaction) and non-self (simply to promote the ideal of sacrificing personal interests for others’ interests.) I am working on accepting impermanence.
It is key to acknowledge this to be able to grow. Relationships don’t last, people come in and out of our lives, and we all die.
We hold onto to things and people far longer than deserved, just because it feels safe.
Life is unpredictable and as hard as we try to squeeze and grab the good things in our lives, the bad is inevitable.
Excitement is all around me though. I am embracing my fears by doing things I would have never done before. Sometimes it brings elation and empowerment. Sometimes it brings pain and leaves me licking my wounds the next day.
The point is, whether it be excitement or disappointment, I’m trying to remember that nothing is permanent and to stop holding on to people or ideas that don’t bring value to my life.
“Whatever is impermanent is subject to change. Whatever is subject to change is subject to suffering.”—The Buddha