Mellowing With Age

Posted on November 30, 2020


I have noticed that the older I get, the less there is to get mad about.  I’m not talking about the state of the country or the world, but the state of my relationships.  Things that might have gotten me bent out of shape 20, 30, or 40 years ago just don’t do it anymore. 

I suspect there are a few reasons why this is true.  First, there are fewer stressors in my life.  The nest is empty.  The children’s college is long since in the rear-view mirror.  We’ve been in the house for almost 30 years.  Second, most of the people I surround myself with are pretty great people.  It’s nice to have family and friends that are trustworthy and considerate (on the whole).  If that’s in question, having good boundaries is much more effective than getting mad.  Third, I think that with maturity comes more of a long view.  You have a better perspective on what’s going to be a big deal a year (or 10 from now) and what is not.  As an aside, I think this is one of the advantages that grandparents have over parents.  With age comes a better perspective on what is a hill to die on and what isn’t.  Fourth, with age comes the perspective that not everything that happens to you (or impacts you) is about you.  Never assume malice where ignorance will suffice.  Or perhaps, taking the Brene Brown approach, give people the most generous interpretation possible of the facts.  Perhaps, fifth, might be a general experience that whatever comes, in some manner of speaking, things will be alright.  Bad things happen in life, but most aren’t catastrophic.  Catastrophic things happen, but they can be endured.  Losses will be grieved, but they don’t need to define your life.

What’s the point of this discourse? 

What if one could accelerate this process?  If we could realize earlier in life that there is much less worth being angry about, how much could that improve our sense of well-being?  What would be the ripple effect through our relationships if we could have healthy boundaries, but let go of the anger? 

Anger isn’t worthless, but it does have limited utility.  As Maslow said, “To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” 

Just sayin’. 

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