This month’s Chicago Now Blogapalooza assignment is: “Write about something you know now that you wish you knew then.”
At first I was going to write what I know now that I wish I knew then is not everyone plays by the Golden Rule. Treating people the way you want to be treated does not always bring you the results you expect or desire. But that would have been the perspective of a younger, more vulnerable me. A version of me more naturally inclined to victimhood, to be honest.
After I took a minute to think about it, I realized that what I really learned is that not everyone plays by MY Golden Rule. Where we run into trouble is when we assume that it means the same thing to all people. It appears the Golden Rule comes in many shades of gold. Yellow, white, green, rose, red, blue, purple.
It also comes in varying degrees of condition and quality. Some people’s Rule comes in a sparkly shade of gold shiny enough to make angel halos. Some people’s Rule comes in a dusty, tarnished antique gold in desperate need of cleaning.
What age and experience have forced me to admit is that my own Golden Rule is not as sparkly as I would have liked to think. Also, gold is a soft metal. So I found out that I sometimes bend and flex my Golden Rule to fit the situation at hand. Dammit! How did the young, self-righteous, idealistic me grow into this crotchety, flawed, self-serving adult human being?
I…don’t…know…but she’s cool so I’ll keep her. When life causes me to knick and ding and bend and twist my Golden Rule, I will always try to remember that I’m responsible for my own actions. I should always aim not to just treat people how I want to be treated, but I should make efforts to find out how they expect to be treated. And act accordingly. While respecting my own values and boundaries. That’s the best any of us can do.
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