Isn’t it amazing when you ask a young person this question they will tell you, five and a half, six and three quarters, and then there is the infamous 14 and nine months. (the age you can start driver’s training) However, as we get older the 1/2’s seem to drop off; worse yet are the people that hit 39 and never get any older.
I’m blogging this week to talk about my version of what I think the 1/2 added to our age should represent as we get older. You see, I have learned that no matter how old we are, we still move about and function as the children we were during recess in grade school. The way we resolved issues back then is more than likely the way we do it today. Think about it, the bullies on the playground usually grow up to be the bullies at work. They don’t always use their fist or openly bully others, they show up with aggressive body language, biting sarcasm and secretly rallying the support of others behind closed doors. It’s the same old thing…grade school recess becomes the break room at work or the cafeteria.
If you were the silent partner in the relationship with your BFF when you were 10 1/2 more than likely that is how you show up today and function in other relationships. Without the awareness of our behavior patterns we repeat the same cycle over and over again. I was the loud cheerleader type at recess who just loved to have a good time! I was the one chanting all of the cheers and getting everyone else involved. Oh yes, we were going to have a good time on the playground. (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Well how did that show up in my adult life? I was the one in conversations who could not keep my mouth shut long enough for someone else to finish their thought. I was the one who thought that everything should be a party. I was the one who felt they had to shoulder the responsibility of everyone in my presence having a good time. Whew! as an adult that can be exhausting.
For six years, I was blessed to have a boss who could see right through me. (Toni Flowers-Jefferson) She was also very skilled at holding up the mirror for me to see myself just in case the mirror I looked into was cloudy. She played a very pivotal role in my life in helping me to see the person I was on the playground. She frequently took me back to grade school recess mentally and emotionally to teach me vital lessons about myself and others. It was Ms. Flowers-Jefferson who taught me the value of watching children play during recess. With this awareness I started to make changes in the way I communicate and the way I show up in relationships. I now take a 1/2 a minute and access the situation, the environment and the relationship I’m in at that moment. I then take another 1/2 a minute to quiet my mind and focus my thoughts so that I can be fully present in conversations and not interrupt others. For I am now keenly aware that great things happen in the silence. (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
Things are different on my playground now, at 50 1/2 years of age, I am relieved to know that it’s not my responsibility to make sure everyone has a good time. I can choose to do that if I want. My relationships have moved to a deeper level because instead just listening with my ears, I have learned to listen with my heart and dwell in the quiet spaces with others if they choose silence. Instead of always being the cheerleader…I am now the person who inspires others to create their own cheers and I have found great enjoyment in standing on the sidelines watching them flourish. I am proud to say that pausing for a ½ minute has allowed me to add that ½ to my age when people ask the question, “How old are you?”
For your Journal: Okay ladies…How old are you and who were you on the playground? If you practiced pausing for a ½ minute, what would you change in your behavior?