I’ve only been in my thirties for a shade under 2 years, but I think the theme of this decade (at least so far) is RISK & FAILURE.
Risk is good; risk has been good. Risk is far preferable than the dithering of my twenties, or the trying-nothing of my teens (although there were good aspects of those decades, obvsly!). I feel like my thirties are more fearless. I’m more bold in nearly every way, and I fully expect to be one of those women who enjoys life more and more the older I get (rather than the reverse).
But with risk comes fucking up, and that’s been tough. I’ve fucked up friendships, jobs, childrearing, grad school, writing gigs, and garbage disposals. I’ve pissed of family members, old friends, Bronies, and Elf on the Shelf lovers everywhere. Not on purpose, not by actively saying “Today I shall be a dick!” but more from saying, “I’m going to try this new thing,” or “I’m going to comment boldly on a thing I think is stupid/wrong/unethical,” or “I’m drawing a line in the sand.” And inevitably, there is fallout. Inevitably, I realize I was wrong or off; or express myself imperfectly; or express myself perfectly but anger others who disagree; miss something or forget something; realize I was arbitrarily doing XYZ, etc.
I understand, logically, that this is going to happen. I don’t think it’s possible to have a longterm friendship that’s completely free of conflict; to share an opinion on facebook without angering someone; or to start a new career (or five) without some bumps along the way. OK, fine. GOOD. All this stuff is a sign that I’m living life, right? But I hate negative energy being out there. I’m not used to this. It bugs me for days on end if I so much as slightly disappoint a stranger and I have done a lot of disappointing in the last few years, often with people I care about a lot, or people who I at least want to think well of me. I wish I was one of those people who could shake things off, or resolve them with little fuss, etc. I wish the tiniest criticism didn’t bother me for days, like a pea under the sixteenth mattress.
I want to accept bad stuff, grow from it, apologize, move on, get better, etc. How do you embrace this stuff without feeling completely down about yourself? How do you move past conflict or fuck ups? Is it just a matter of time and experience? Please advise.