I always feel exceptionally blessed when I meet a person I don't want to "grow up into". These people are probably what most people would term good people and contributors to society, not the scourge in any manner. Yet, they usually have a sense of unhappiness and malcontent which upon a bit of conversation reveals itself and makes me think on the drive home, "I feel exceptionally blessed with my great family and friends. I refuse to grow into that person." In a way, recognizing the undesirable serves as a caution sign with a big arrow pointing to specific character traits I'd like to avoid (along with the unhappiness).
Today, the big arrow was pointed at one-upmanship and I am reminded that I dislike one-upmanship in an 18 year old snot and also dislike it in someone a great deal older. In fact, I felt dissapointed that this person didn't grow out of, or somehow fell into, such icky behavior. Yet, being able to see this is such a good thing because I can prevent myself from going down that path. Also, it makes me think of how wonderful my family and friends (and their families) are. Surrounded by those I admire, I usually forget about those I could really live without. One of my relatives really surprised me with her insight today when she said she's trying to talk about current events and such instead about people (as conversation topics) because talking about people only leads to gossip. This was surprising because I always thought she loved a bit of gossip, but somewhere along the line she learned that gossip hurts people and wants to change her ways. Maybe someone important to her told her that gossip was hurtful or she discovered it for herself, but I really admired her for listening/observing and trying to change for the better. Also, it makes me think about my real life role models- they always ask about you and show interest in what you say... or at least delicately turn conversation to a neutral subject which all parties may converse about (hint: it isn't a full regaling of your glory days. Should you find yourself talking about your glory days 30 years later without being asked for the full blow-by-blow, look in the mirror to see if your head is swollen and if your insecurity is showing). Perhaps some will say that showing interest in what others have to say is merely good manners, but cultivating genuine interest and concern tells me that you care about me and my ideas.
This year, I'm going to be an executor and listen to people (much like How to Win Friends and Influence People ) I will remind myself to share my experiences and not to one-up. Yes, I will still talk about myself because hey, I'm not vanilla pudding and I like to share my quirky vivaciousness ;). But thanks to my friends, I also know that while they love me, All Freecia All the Time isn't really as interesting as I think it is. Even if 10 people occasionally tune into what I have to say. So please, leave a comment on what you think and if you ever meet people you don't admire but can't bring yourself to say that they're a horrid person.