"Ten" Pieces of Unsolicited Advice from my Corner of the Internet

It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that I'm getting old.  I recently realized that most professional athletes are now younger than me, even quarterbacks.  I watched a football game and as the wide receiver jumped four feet off the ground in the end-zone to snag a ball and came down and landed on his shoulder only to pop right back up to do a celebratory touchdown dance, my first thought was, "Oh!  I'd totally break something if I did that!"  I graduated from high school 15 years ago.  I'm on the cusp of raising a teenager when it feels like just yesterday I was 12 myself.

All of that, but mostly, technology makes me cranky.

Maybe it's not so much technology but the grip it has on all of us.  I find myself frustrated and indifferent to newer technology because I remember a time when we all so easily coped and, yes, even thrived without it.  It's a great, distant memory - those days when I woke up, drank a cup of coffee, and did something productive like, took a shower.  These days, most of the time I roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and check my phone.  What's so important on there?  Not much, I tell you.  But good gracious, I can't seem to fathom the possibility of missing something like reading ANOTHER BLOG POST regarding "Ten Things not to Say to...Large Families/Small Families/Single Folks/Your Grandmother/Your Postman/Children with Questionable Fashion Sense/Babies with Ears."

I'm guilty of writing a few of those posts myself.  I seem to think people care about ALL OF THE OPINIONS floating around in my head.  That's not so bad, I guess, so long as I'd be willing to say these things to people's faces.  But it seems like we're not allowed to say anything to anyone anymore.  I mean, pretty much every opinion piece on the internet tells me Ten Things Not to Say to someone.  Heaven forbid we cause someone else to be even remotely uncomfortable.  Heaven forbid we take our faces out of our phones and actually converse with someone in real life.

I'm an introvert and it's taken me a very long time to learn how to chit chat and make eye contact and all of those normal social behaviors.  I've still got a long way to go, but I'm a work in progress.  For example, I am now capable of ordering take out over the phone without an anxiety attack.  I'm now able to sit in a waiting room and crack awkward jokes with strangers to pass the time.  I am now functional enough in new social settings to introduce myself to others and attempt small talk.

Only...now I feel like I probably shouldn't.  What if one of those Ten Things Not to Say comes out my mouth?  What if I offend someone?

I honestly don't want to do that.

So here's what I decided.  It starts with me.  I've decided to give a pass to anyone who says any of these "Ten Offensive Things" because I don't want to be the person who's offended by chit chat.  I want to be the person who welcomes a real life conversation with someone who's not staring a phone.  I want to teach my children that sometimes platitudes are just that.  When someone sees my large family in the grocery store, it's not actually offensive for someone to look at us and say, "Wow, your hands are full!"  It's true.  My hands are full.  And I do look tired.  And there are enough of them for a basketball team plus a sub.  Maybe I really like basketball and that was my plan all along - to birth a coed, multi-age basketball team so we can play pick-up games all across the country on our travels.  (Or not.)

I don't want to live life walking on eggshells.  I want to hear the "offensive things" and learn to respond gracefully.  I want to say the things I don't even realize are offensive and have a real life conversation with the person I just inadvertently offended so they can tell me why they are upset by it.  I want to mess up, face-to-face, and learn how to overcome it.  I don't want to be soft.  I don't want to be thin-skinned.  I want to hear other people's stories and learn why they think and feel the way they do.  I want to make eye contact.

Will you join me?  Let's give each other a pass.  Let's do our best to be nice and apologize when we aren't.  Let's let it roll off.  Life's too short to take the little things so seriously.  I have better ways to spend my numbers days here.  We all do.


Sharon said...

Good words from the soapbox, Jennie! Just last week I talked about how this world is crazy - at the same time that we seemingly worship the concept of *tolerance*, hatred is seething and growing at a frightening pace.

As a representative of Christ, I want to mirror Him accurately. Learning what to say and how and when, and then sometimes learning the grace and discipline to remain silent, this is crucial.

Instant communication (via social media) does not ensure conversation. Let's get *real* out there, and let's really contact people at a heart-to-heart level. What a novel idea!

I *LIKE* it...


Post a Comment

Before you go, I'd love to hear from you! Let me know what's on your mind! (Please and thank you.)

Back to Top