Perhaps one of the greatest things about getting older is insight about honesty in one's own life. (Now, I realize that "getting older" means closer to 30 in my case, but you know, bear with me.)
This weekend, I had a my weekly 2-hour phone call with my Law Librarian Jen. I can't even remember what sparked the conversation, but LLJ pointed out that one great thing about maturing is being honest with yourself and subsequently making decisions based on what you enjoy as opposed to what you think you should enjoy. It's not about faking enjoyment for something that you hate, but more showing enthusiasm for something you feel apathy for.
I will never forget when I was about 20 my mother confided to me that she, in fact and contrary to what I had thought for the last 15 years, didn't actually care for shrimp. It sounds rather ridiculous for something so seemingly mundane to make a lasting impression in my adult mind, but after an entire life of summers spent at the beach, peeling and deveining freshly caught shrimp to boil for my entire family, I felt rather taken aback. Why on earth, if she didn't really care for shrimp did I have to stick my fingers in shrimp guts for hours on? She, like I, was taught that shrimp were a treat and something special saved for the summer (which it is in my opinion), but if she was honest with herself, shrimp would never be her choice of a treat or special meal. It isn't that she hates shrimp--just that if given the choice of a summer seafood meal, she'd rather enjoy something else instead; she simply tired of pretending that she thought shrimp was something special and was completely unapologetic about it. She said, "Life is too short for other people's shoulds."
She's right. LLJ is right. As I get older, and I'm sure LLJ and I are not alone in this, I find myself becoming more secure in myself and the small choices I make. Who I surround myself with, the parenting choices I make, the food I eat, the movies I watch, the music I listen to and the books I read. And frankly, no one cares that I'd rather read a modern British mystery novel than the searing political commentary of our time.