A distant relative is having a baby. She is married to a man so it’s not exactly a shock. To be expected, I suppose. It only seems five minutes ago she was moaning on Faceache about other people’s kids, kids in prams, prams themselves, pregnant women, the ordinary outcomes of reproduction in general.
People change, though. Don’t they? I know I have. I remember being technically an adult and still thinking toddlers were the most repulsive thing in the world. I still do, about a lot of other people’s kids, to be honest. Snotty noses, dirty faces. Would it kill you to run a baby wipe across the child’s face? It changes of course when the child is your own (I know from experience of giving birth and I expect other parents feel the same from adoption as well) or close to you somehow, in the same way that I hate cats but I could probably tolerate one if somebody gave me a kitten. I’m being romantic of course – I’d never keep a kitten if someone gave me one.
Some people like to say that people can’t change. “A leopard never changes its spots”, “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and any other animal related pearls of wisdom you can think of that would go nicely on an inspirational quote for angry women, passive aggressively rebuking someone who has ‘done them wrong’.
Then other people say we renew ourselves every seven years, or something like that. I don’t know, and I’m entirely unarsed about what other people think or do. But I know that I change – or grow, let’s call it, to put a positive slant on it – all the time. Often too little too late, that much I’m sure of, but it’s better than being so overly sure of yourself that you think you know everything about everything.
It’s laughable how much I thought I had everything pegged in my twenties. So arrogant isn’t it? You never stop learning, though, cause there’s still so much to learn. Because you never stop encountering dickheads, or feeling the pressure or challenges, or experiencing more and more good, more and more bad. To think you never stop learning and adapting accordingly is astonishingly naive. You might carry some traits with you through your life. But nobody stays the same. I’m not talking about ‘goals’ and all that jazz either. You could do the same job for fifty years and wear the same suit, eat the same cheese sandwich and go to the same place on your fortnights holiday every year for your whole life. But there’s still room inside to develop even if things on the outside look the same.
I’m an introvert. People often get this confused with being shy. It’s more about me not needing outside influences to make me tick. An extrovert can be like a sponge, absorbing everything from everyone around them. Me, it would take me a long time to feel the effects of not having anyone round me. And I should know; I’ve experienced it. It also means when situations and feelings change and I’m no longer close to someone, that it doesn’t leave much of a gap in my life because I don’t need other people to make me tick. I don’t choose friends for a purpose, or because I can get something out of them, they just ‘become’ my friends.
There is a saying: if you keep more friends than you can count on one hand, count again because you keep too many and I tend to live by that, perhaps not even intentionally. At any rate, it’s fewer people to interfere with who you really are as a person, and fewer people to disappoint if and when you find yourself changing and growing.
Until next time, be kind to toddlers and animals.