On Being Judgemental

I learned a little something from Stefanie tonight. Maybe it was something I knew in parts, but I’d never added up.

I had come home from work, and Stef was on the floor in her room watching TV. I’m not sure why, but she has become fascinated with a cheesy jewelry infomercial that runs late at night.

She was making fun of the awful looking jewelery and how the host, with a southern accent thick enough to insulate a house, would start off each item by giving some ridiculous price no one would ever consider paying. It was a lot of fun because Steffie has a sharp wit, great powers of observation and comedic timing.

She will admit to none of these things, though they are true.

We talked a little more and, finally, I got around to telling her I had talked about her at work.

Stefanie has just begun knitting. I had told our anchor Ann Nyberg, who is knitting obsessed, about a scarf Stef had begun. Ann became enthused. “Stefanie should come in,” she said, and then she went on to tell me some knitting technique she wanted to show Steffie.

When I told Steffie about the conversation, she became a little defensive. She had only begun knitting a few days ago. Why would this person care?

That’s when my light bulb came on.

The younger you are, the more conscious you are of how what you do fits in. Steffie expected to be judged on how her knitting stacked up.

I never played ball as a kid because I was awful at it. I was worried what the other kids would think. It’s the same thing. When I should have been having fun, I was instead concentrating on my low skill level.

Adults don’t work that way. The older you get, the less judgmental you become. In this case, my co-worker is thrilled Steffie’s knitting. Stef’s general expertise in the hobby is a non-factor.

To see this transition to non-judgmental thinking at its extreme, go to Florida where my parents live. There, anyone can do anything they want. As long as they want to do it, regardless of their skill level, everyone around them is supportive.

It’s why I can play golf with anyone there, though I am truly horrible at golf. No one cares. All they know is, I want to do it.

There are many bad sides to growing up… getting older. This is an upside. It is part of the true gentility of age. It is a shortcut to being happier.

Imagine how much easier growing up would have been had you not been concerned with what everyone else thought.

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