Just Call Me Goldilocks

Just Call Me Goldilocks

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Remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Goldilocks wanders into the bear’s cottage. One chair is too soft. One is too hard. And one is just right. One bowl of porridge is too hot. One bowl is too cold. And one bowl is just right.

I was driving to work a few weeks ago, and caught myself feeling like Goldilocks.

There I was, cruising along in the slow lane, safely driving the speed limit. Cars in the fast lane (it’s only a two lane highway) were zipping along at a speed much higher than the speed limit. It was slightly drizzly, and some of those cars barely had a car length between them. There I sat in my car (oh, so self-righteous) berating the speeding drivers. Imagine, driving in such a reckless manner. So dangerous.

And then, I ended up behind a driver that was poking along, going much slower than the allowable speed limit. Can’t they find the gas pedal?

The speed I was going was just the right speed.

Thinking about how anyone that drove either faster or slower than I did was out of line, and my driving was just right, had me laughing out loud, alone in the car. Another instance in my life came to mind, where my way is the right way too.

That’s with the tidiness/messiness issue. In prior relationships, I’ve always been ‘the messy one.’ Oh, the house wasn’t horrid. It was usually fairly clean, and most often company ready. As long as they could ignore the not-quite-squeaky clean floor or the piles littering my desk. But my exes – two of them – that liked things neater and tidier were the ones in the wrong. They were ‘anal’ and ‘obsessive.’ They couldn’t just go with the flow, like I could.

But now, the tables have turned. After fifty years of being ‘the messy one’, I’m now ‘the neatnik.’ Now I’m the one wanting to have a living space that’s cleaner, tidier, and more sparkling than what I moved into. Now my better half, who has different cleanliness standards than I do, is ‘the slob.’

Just like my driving. Anything more or less than what I do is wrong. The way I do things is the right way. See – am I not Goldilocks?

By now I was only half laughing. Some of it was still humorous, but I realized that there was a lesson here I needed to learn. That part wasn’t so hilarious.

Then I got to thinking about age. How is it that with driving or cleaning, my way is the right way? Yet, with age, it isn’t so. With age, I am not content with my age. I find myself yearning for the energy, agility, and non-wrinkly skin from years past. Why can’t I take this attitude and apply it to my age – where the age I am is just the right age?

Yikes. More lessons to learn.

Here I am, 60-years old, and I’m still discovering how much I have to discover about myself, life, and living an authentic life of joy and fulfillment, leaving others to learn and grow in their own time and space.

 

I was reading a book and discovered that I’m not alone in this ‘just right’ dilemma.

In Poser: my life in twenty-three yoga poses, Claire Dederer has much the same attitude, although she mentions it in relation to parenting.

“I judged Lisa and any other mother who came within my range. The next-door neighbors put their kids to bed too early; the people down the street put their kinds to bed too late. The friend who lived near Green Lake was overly fussy about organic baby food; the friend on Queen Anne Hill was not fussy enough. Friend A dressed her baby in designer clothes, which was ridiculous. Friend B let her kids go around looking like slobs. I felt there must be a happy medium to parenting, and I felt that I was the very barometer of that happy medium. Anything that someone else did that I did not do was, to me, excessive and probably crazy…”

 

It always feels so good when I discover that I’m not the sole member of ‘The Just Right Club.’ It’s nice to know there are others.

The driver speeding along in the fast lane is probably griping about what a pokey, slow driver I am. Because their speed is just right. The one watching me approach in their rear-view mirror is probably calling me names, for being such a speedy, out of control driver. Because their speed is just right.

There’s so many place we can look at our lives and see where Claire Dederer’s “very barometer of that happy medium” comes into play. Saving money. Spending money. The foods we choose to eat – or not eat. The amount of fast food we eat – or don’t eat. The amount and way we exercise. Or don’t. The kinds of cars we drive. The kinds of houses we live in. The number of children we have – or don’t have. The way we treat our parents. The way we treat our friends. The way we treat our grandchildren. The animals we have – or don’t have. Oh, the list appears to be endless.

This is most likely a lesson I’m going to have to work on for a bit. After all, I have an attitude to correct that’s taken me 59-years to get set in place. But that’s alright. Because one thing is clear – tonight I’m going to bed knowing that I’m just the right age!

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April 2019
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