When I was younger, I was pretty big a-hole.
I would wake up at the butt crack of dawn and not let parents sleep. I’d spit food out right on the table if I didn’t like it. I’d break toys, flush too much toilet paper and I couldn’t even ride a bike. Of course, all was quickly forgiven because I was just a toddler.
As I grew up, I became less and less of an a-hole.
I didn’t pick up my toys but at least I wasn’t breaking them. I said mean things to my friends like “I hate you” and “You can’t come to my birthday party.” I quit in the middle of the game of knockout because no one was “playing fair.” I pouted when we had pork chops with creamed corn and spent at least an hour letting that over cooked ball of meat roll around in my mouth until it had lost all flavor. Of course, all was eventually forgiven because I was an adolescent.
Then I grew some more, the teen years.
Raising a pre-teen now, I’m frequently surprised at her tone of voice. Why is she so angry? I asked my sister, “Were we that mean?” (Surely not.) She reminded me of the time we tricked the neighbor boy into cleaning up after our club meetings by letting him be the “chairman.” In our later teen years, we lied to my parents on a daily basis. We snuck out. We drank. We hung out with guys who I wouldn’t let my daughter even look at. Boy, were we a-holes.
Ah, the 20s. So mature, right? No longer an a-hole.
Unfortunately, that’s not true either. Now in my 30s, I look back at what an a-hole I was in my 20s. I’d cut off friends at the first sign of disloyalty or conflict (lost a lot of friends that way). I let a lead position go to my head at my first waitressing job. Boy, was I an a-hole to some of those people. I trash-talked behind people’s backs and picked fights with those who made me mad. Wow, this blog post seems like a confessional at this point.
Now, in my 30s, I’m acutely aware of my a-hole-ness. Yes, I’m still an a-hole sometimes. But, I like to think that I’ve got things in check. I break my toys occasionally, but I know longer spit food on the table. I don’t say “I hate you” to anyone and I actually try to resolve conflict instead of cutting people off. That was a hard one to learn. I don’t lie. I never lie. I think in the past 8 years or so, I’ve grown more psychologically than I have my entire life. This story just goes to show that,, eventually, most of us grow out of our a-hole tendencies. Hell, it’s always a work in progress (especially in an election year).
I was born an a-hole, but through the passage of time and life lessons and growth, I’m way less of a-hole. How much of an a-hole are you?