Part of this cabinet was cleared out when it dawned on me that some people I was mad at were... young when then did the things they did. Like for instance, for many years, I was harboring this anger that someone had really said something mean and nasty behind my back. Not something critical, but an outright lie that could have really screwed me had I not had the friends I did at the time, who promptly told me what she had said. I am still friends with her (although it's been a while since we've seen each other in person), but for a long time, there was this latent unspoken distrust I always had, even though, to my knowledge, she never did this again. I never knew why she did it in the first place, and from time to time I'd remember she said this mean and nasty thing, with obvious intent of harm, and try and figure out why she said it. Then it hit me.
She was 22.
I was 18 at the time, so part of me got angry that an older person would do such a thing, but now I see some of the turmoil that people in their younger 20s still do, and think, "Wow... I remember being that age. What stupid stuff I did back then, thinking stuff mattered that really didn't!" Of course, now she's in her late 30s, matured, become a wonderful person, is married with a career... stuff she didn't have back then. I don't think I can hold her for stuff she did when she was 22. I mean, come on.
Does this mean anyone at that age who does stuff like she did is automatically forgiven? No. I mean, if one of my 22 year old friends now did something mean to me or my family, I'd be hard pressed to blow it off. But it's easier now to give someone young a little slack. That doesn't mean I think I am better than they are, or I am going to patronize them with a pat on the head and go "Oh, that's so cute!" But I know how I was back then, how my friends were, and how some of the stuff we all did... probably wasn't that good of an idea, and was more a result of lack of social experience more than malice. And it's not my place to tell them how to act, either. But what I can do is be a little more tolerant. And just let go.
This was a great revalation to me, and now when I think back to something someone did a long time ago, I can do my best to say, "They were 18," or 20, or 24. But you people who are 35? Jury's still out on you. :-P
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000127.html