When I was in high school, one of my English teachers told me that I was an “owl.” At first I was flattered; you know, wise old owl and all that. Then I realized that what he really meant was that I took things too seriously—especially myself.
The class was divided pretty much into two factions—those who loved the class and those who hated it. I of course loved it; reading and writing were and are my favorite hobbies. One day I admonished one of the haters for “helping the English language devolve into useless slang,” and of course I was ridiculed for weeks afterward for that comment. But that was part of my “owlishness;” I hated being laughed at, especially about those things I took so terribly seriously.
(By the way, I still mourn the collapse of our English language, and wonder how in the heck Webster’s can allow such drivel as the word “woot” into its hallowed pages. But that’s another argument for another time.)
It took years and lots of life experience to realize that I was simply being a typical young person. At that age, we tend to be our own heroes and we conveniently overlook our faults, and we believe we are right about everything. It took me even more years to realize that the reason why I didn’t like some people was because they had habits that drove me nuts–exactly the same habits I have. That’s why they bugged me so much. Live and learn…..
Even in my sixties there are days and people and events that still press my buttons, but that’s kind of how we all are, isn’t it? I truly wish I could be a more Zen-type person, never letting small stuff bother me, keeping my mind peaceful, wishing goodness and light to all those around me (even the ones who drive me bat-crap crazy); but I’m just not that evolved yet. Maybe I’ll never be, but I do try to remember that things are seldom all about me, even if it feels as though that’s true.
Seriously, in the general scheme of things I am less than a speck of dust. My opinions, habits, hobbies, likes and dislikes are certainly not the wisdom of sages. Unfortunately, I am still an owl, and have to keep reminding myself not to sweat the small stuff or let circumstances over which I have no control anger or depress into not living well. The best defense against my owlishness is to keep being grateful, keep on doing the things I love, keep on telling the people who matter to me how much I love them, and doing even the smallest act of kindness whenever I can.
I may still be an owl, but I am working on being a more evolved owl. Wish me luck.