Until very recently, I have considered myself to be an unchanging person, a pillar of immutable constancy, not to mention a personality of great redundancy. I’ve known I got this emphasis on being grounded directly from my mom. Her childhood was one of complete upheaval with no option for stability, shifting around to different homes and different towns. This recognition of the ever-changing world coupled with the irresistible desire to control all elements within one’s own realm are hallmarks of my mother’s personality. And I suppose mine too.
In contrast to my mother, or perhaps the perfect complement, is my dad. He’s an adventurer, always ready to keep moving and trying out something new at any juncture, never sitting still. And I’ve always sort of understood and appreciated that daring nature, while still being cautious and rule-oriented like my mom.
Dad really dislikes regulations and eschews authority at every possibility, a perpetual teenager. This has never been my mode, even as an actual teenager. I rarely stayed out past curfew. I never ran with the bad crowd, or talked back to my teachers. I always obediently did exactly what has been expected of me.
But there has been a shift somewhere. The change wasn’t seismic or sudden, but over the past year, as my dissatisfaction with the status quo of my life has grown, so has my tolerance for being sweet-natured and compliant in all situations. Not only do I have this adventurous spirit in common with my father, but I’m taking it to the next level. As a 26-year-old southern woman, I am expected to be polite and smile no matter the injustice or rudeness perpetrated upon me. I find that this new free-spirited attitude has made me much happier, and it’s also allowed me to actually like people a bit more. I don’t have to have people act in any certain way. I only expect that people will give me a baseline of consideration and take into account my side of the situation.
This change has been the single biggest revelation in my nearly 27 years of life, and I’m finally feeling secure in my naivete and innocence. Previously I’d associated it with lack of control, but now I associate it with openness to excitement, which feels quite a bit more natural. If I didn’t have the contrasting personalities of my parents as shining examples, I’d never have been able to see that there is a time and place for loosening and tightening one’s ideas about life as the situation dictates. Currently, all bets are off.