Like most folks, I’ve spent a lot of my time sorting myself out; parceling out the traits I like and the ones I don’t. I’ve decided that I like my everlasting urge to improve myself. I like that I’m a quick study and pick up new ideas fairly easily. I like my thick hair and the shape of my feet. I’m grateful that a bad pun will cheer me up no matter what kind of mood I’m in. On the other hand, I’m decidedly not crazy about my tendencies toward procrastination and pessimism and turkey neck waddle.
Then there is a third category of things that I know don’t serve me well, but I just can’t seem to get too excited about. Well, not enough so to put forth the energy to change them. I’m calling them–
Personal Shortcomings I Should Probably Feel Worse About.
- My love of cursing. I know that many folks consider swearing to be crass and a sign of lesser intelligence, but I’ve come to accept that I just. fucking. love it. The other day I had to reign myself in because I had $60 of profanity-laced coffee mugs in my Amazon shopping cart — because I’m fond of the cursing, but not of fiscal irresponsibility.
- My inattentive parenting of my adult child. Sometimes when she is relating to me the questionable shenanigans of her and her hoodlum friends, I know I should probably voice some sort of words of caution. Instead, most days, I find myself treating her like a friendly ex-boyfriend, cocking my head sympathetically and thinking how glad I am that this is somebody else’s problem.
- My jiggly arm bits. I’m forty-six years old. Until recently, I wouldn’t wear a sleeveless shirt on a bet. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why so many women seem to live in them almost exclusively. Honestly, it seemed as if you hit a certain age and necklines went up and the sleeves came off. “How weird,” I thought and then my temperature control went all to hell and I understood. I say it so often, that were I to die tomorrow, my kids would probably have the phrase, “Jesus, I’m hot!” carved on my tombstone–a gesture I would support completely because how hilarious would that be? The point is that I’ve made peace with my upper arms and wear tank tops every chance I get. A radical change made possible because I have achieved acceptance; acceptance born of wisdom, born of hot flashes.
- The fact that I couldn’t pick the majority of my kid’s friends out of a line up. Hey, they’re not my friends.
This is a list I hope to add to for years. Short of growing to actually love and embrace my whole self–an endeavor that strikes my inner German farm girl as ridiculous and vaguely indulgent– my plan is to declare a whole swath of my lesser traits too tedious to be bothered with. I’ll save my energy for worrying about the things that matter so much more; learning to be more kind and patient, becoming half as wise as I pretend to be, and finding ways to fund vital research on the aforementioned turkey neck. I’ve got many traits I’ve decided to ignore, but so far, vanity ain’t one of them.