Convergent and divergent views of the world

I don’t have a quote for this one, but it’s been in the front of my mind for a few days now, as I start thinking about an upcoming vacation I have with my parents. Well, 2, actually.

And here’s the thing: we could not have more divergent views of the world. I don’t know how and when it happened, but my perspective on life and others and how things should be is, well, completely different from theirs. They watch Fox News (sigh…). I, to put it mildly, do not. I choose not to respond to many of the opinions and perspectives they put in their emails to me, because I simply do not want to engage. Suffice to say that we just view the world very differently. I’ve come to terms with that. I know that we will never, ever agree politically. It’s so hard to just walk away sometimes, but I do love them, I do want them in my life, and to do that I have to be willing to NOT engage even when every fiber of my being screams at me that I need to speak up, respond, make my case for my approach to life.

Yet, I also find myself hearing their voices in my head, multiple times per day. I don’t think we ever get away from our childhoods and how we were raised. So there are vestiges – ghosts, perhaps? – of their beliefs that still flit across my mind (and apparently my inner ear) on a regular basis.

Yesterday was a classic example. I was confronted with two instances where people were complaining but not taking action. This is a pet peeve of mine, to be honest – if you’re going to complain about something but not try to actually change the situation or address the problem (assuming, of course, that it can be changed and / or addressed safely), then it’s really hard for me to listen to you complain about that situation or problem.

The first was a colleague complaining about not having help and not being able to get anything done. Part of me wanted to say, well, if you worked on what you want to accomplish instead of spending all this time complaining about it, perhaps you could demonstrate that having help would actually make your work move forward faster. But instead, I bit my tongue and tried to make helpful suggestions.

The other instance was a bit frustrating – I went in to heat up my lunch, and encountered a microwave with a post it on the front that had “Wow, gross” written on it. So I (of course) opened the door to discover that someone had managed to explode tomato sauce all over the microwave and… had not cleaned it up. All I could think was that the post it note could not possibly be LESS helpful. If you’re going to take the time to do that, perhaps you could rouse yourself to clean it just this once, then follow up by asking people to please remember that these are shared spaces. I mean, really. It took me 1.5 minutes with the cleaning spray and a paper towel to get it cleaned up and usable again.

And the voice I heard in my head during both of these instances? My mother. Saying her classic slogan, “Just do it!”

Despite my growth away from their beliefs, there are still some things that are so ingrained in me that I think them almost automatically. I’m okay with this – as long as I don’t start watching or following Fox News. (Don’t worry, that’s not going to happen…)

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