As They Are

as they areThe way I see it, aging can have one of two effects on a man.   He can decide that everything was better when he was younger … and that what he believed was THE TRUTH.   Or, he can adapt and allow his years experience to lead him to new beliefs that work better, at least for him.   I will readily admit that I believe that many things in the world were better when I was younger than they are now.  That and $1.95 will buy me a Grande Pike’s Place at Starbuck’s. And many of the values I was taught as a boy, rebelled from as an adolescent and wrestled with intellectually as an adult remain my values at sixty-nine.  But I try to be flexible.

In the last twenty years, I have truly come to believe that we cannot change another person.  We can ask them to change, cajole them to change, even, in certain circumstances, force them to behave differently, but at the end of the day, unless they want to change, they won’t.  Even if they want to, they may not.  Change is difficult and not everyone has the stomach for it.  The corollary to this axiom is that I get to accept everyone As They Are.  No one, As They Are … myself included … is exactly as I’d have them be.   How much they are … and how much I love them … determines whether they are good friends, friends, acquaintances, colleagues or people I deal with as little as possible.  Family is a special category but the rule still applies.  The station I give them in my life is my choice.  The difference between putting up with others and accepting others may seem like splitting hairs, but it opens me to the possibilities of differences between friends.  That has opened my sixties to friends I’d never have had in my forties and relieved everyone in my life from having to march to my drummer.  Oh, yeah.  Sometimes, they still annoy me, bug me, infuriate me … but at other times they please me, delight me and inspire me.  And life is better … and usually easier … when I accept them As They Are.

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3 Comments on “As They Are”

  1. cherperz Says:

    If age teaches us anything…it teaches us to become more adaptable, I think. I have always been open to the idea of people being different than I am. I find them interesting…but there can be a backlash in the form of irritations, and annoyances

    I, totally agree though…Accepting people as they are and being open to the differences makes life more interesting.

    If I only dealt with people that talked, thought or acted just exactly like me…I would be bored.

  2. Interesting… my friends and I were just discussing an essay one of us found online, wryly titled “If I Can’t Love You For Who You Are, Maybe You Should Stop Being Such A Horrible Person.” The author’s point was that we all have an obligation to hear the people we love when they tell us where we fall short, and try to improve ourselves. I tend to agree, but then, as you say… it’s up to the person receiving the request.

  3. Very true words, Bud. Not always very easy words to live by but another benefit of aging often is acquiring a little more patience than one had before. There are some people who do occasionally “rattle my chains” but with them, I try to get let it pass on by and not get too upset about it. We each have our quirks and expect others to put up with us and those things so it’s only fair to return that as a favor. And if I find that too difficult to do, I avoid the few like that as much as possible.

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