She was nearing retirement age. Some days she could be sweet as honey, offer amazing wisdom and insight, and simply be a joy to be around. On those days, I looked up to her, and part of me considered her a mentor. I enjoyed her particularness. I happen to think in many ways we’re not particular enough in our society. But, on other days, that particluarness was overbearing with the combined affect of her attitude. She was rude, mean, and wouldn’t listen to reason. Often she was called with crude insults to emphasize the cruelness of her nature.
She is no longer my boss. I’ve since heard she retired and has moved on — probably best for all! But her personality combined with her age amaze me.
I feel like I’ve been given lessons in life. Back up. When I sold books door to door, one of the coaches we had tried to ingrain in us the belief that life doesn’t give you probelms. People complain about problems and nothing ever gets done. Rather, he coached, life gives you teachers. You will get the same teacher until you learn the lesson. In my life, I have found that too be true.
For example, I worked in varying positions in the “customer service” field. I’ve been a cashier, a shoe sales person, sold books door to door, and worked in hotels. I’ve had other jobs that have dealt with customer service, but were perhaps considered a higher echelon — you know, desk jobs. Every job, you get rude people. Right? I wish I could think of a specific example, but alas a concrete situation escapes me. So, I found I would get certain grumpy people or bits of rudeness until I was able to figure out how to correct my own actions in order to assuage their grumpy attitude and conduct our transaction blissfully.
Similarly, in dealing with other relationships, I feel like life gives similar lessons. Often, I assume, my elders have been given those lessons to. So, herein lies my surprise. When someone 10, 20, or 30 years my senior acts with the immaturity of a 20 year old. I pause in disbelief. “Did they really just act that way or say that thing?” Then, I worry.
I feel like I’ve learned certain lessons, right. You don’t treat people certain ways. You expect certain things and not others. You speak in certain ways to bring the most people to the table. You assume certain things but not others. Such as treating everyone with base respect because they are human, expecting that people in business will keep their moods in check, the presumption of entitlement is going away, or assuming everyone is out to get you.
Okay, that’s the beauty of life, right? We’re all so different and always at differing stages. When I do a sort of reality check, I realize those whom I call friends aren’t like that. They seem to have embraced similar lessons that life has handed them and have approached them with courage, maturity, calm.
I keep meeting these people. People I am surprised haven’t learned certain life lessons. So, what’s my lesson? What’s my teacher saying.
I am sensing my teacher is encouraging me to stay humble. My teacher is encouraging me to remember my own respect towards others. My teacher is asking me to be patient. My teacher is asking me to wait 10, 20 or 30 years and then to a retrospective look and see how far I’ve really come.