In case anyone was wondering about the substantial maturity and self-growth I've experienced in 2020, I have a beautiful story to demonstrate just that:
Several weeks ago I was happily shopping by myself in Walmart when I came across a grumpy lady. Stumbling across this grumpy lady was totally unexpected because I didn't think anyone could possibly be grumpy on this beautiful winter's day in small-town Walmart. I mean, the birds were singing (like, literally there was a bird flying through the rafters), the customers were all smiling (you know, under their face masks, I bet), and I could literally feel the prices dropping just so I could live better (Save Money, Live Better) as I was strolling through the store.
I was there for one reason: to purchase stuff to make Graham cracker candy houses with my kids. I spent a few minutes on the candy aisle happily throwing in my cart everything from Twizzlers to gum drops to Reese's pieces to Junior mints! I could just imagine the joyful look on my children's faces as I returned home with all this sugary junk that they would consume within minutes of building their holiday cracker homes. With a contented smile of mass-consumer-completion on my masked face I then began to exit the aisle with preparations to turn right at the T section of candy aisle and main-aisle, heading towards the cashiers at the front of the store.
Now, I've always liked to treat shopping in Walmart like driving on a busy highway. You have to follow the same traffic rules or someone's going to get hurt. With this in mind I arrived at the T section of candy aisle and main-aisle and made a complete stop, careful to look right and look left before turning. I noticed right away upon stopping that there were some oncoming elderly shoppers coming down the main aisle. I had to make a quick decision; do I wait at the T section and let them walk past or do I make a quick right-hand turn in front of them? I decided that they were walking slow enough that I could easily make the right-hand turn, no problem, even while still maintaining a 6-foot social distance. So I went for it! I pushed my cart out into oncoming aisle, turned right at the intersection, and headed towards the front of the store.
Well, all was happy and wonderful in Walmart up until this moment, when I suddenly heard a voice come from behind me saying loudly so everyone could hear, "Well, that was Fu**ing rude!"
Who, me? I thought. I jerked around only to look right into the angry, squinting eyes of an elderly women who had just been deeply offended by yours truly. She stared me down like I had just done the worst thing imaginable to her and her husband. I was not only shocked, but insulted by her accusation!
Within my shocked mind I had to make a quick decision: do I cuss back at this woman and tell her to go stick it where the sun don't shine, causing even more of a ruckus between disgruntled Walmart shoppers, or do I take the high road and choose option B?
I chose option B.
Nevertheless, I didn't really know what option B was at the moment. However, my subconscious mind knew exactly what option B was because before I knew what was happening I was hurrying down the aisle towards the next right-hand turn. I swiftly turned right and pushed my cart to the side. Then I crouched down besides the endcap display and waited, hidden from view of the grumpy lady and her husband. In the next 3 seconds the elderly couple came into view. I could see them inching towards me, slowly, slowly, slowly making their way towards the front of the store. I waited for the precise moment, which was right before they were about to pass me, then I jumped out and yelled, "BOO!" as loud as I could, with my hands opened wide in front of me like a Cheetah in attack mode.
The couple startled, jumped, and then stopped to stare at me in disbelief. The woman had grabbed tightly onto her husband's arm who had dramatically placed his hand on his chest. Both of their eyes were bulging with fright. I could tell they were in ultimate fight or flight mode for about 5 seconds before they realized what was happening.
Mission accomplished, I thought! I suddenly couldn't help myself and started laughing so hard I had to hold onto the endcap to steady my shaking body. As I was in total self-indulged hysterics over what had just happened, the couple started speedily walking away from me. I heard the woman say as they were leaving the scene, "Well, that women was Fu**ing weird," which sent me into another fit of laughter.
I was feeling supremely proud of how that whole situation turned out for about a minute afterward, until it suddenly sunk in what I had just done: Oh.My.Gosh. I just scared the crap out of an old couple! Holy Sh*t! I just crouched behind an aisle and jumped out and said BOO to some strangers shopping in Walmart. What the heck is wrong with me? I was immediately filled with embarrassment and shame over what I had done. Why did I do that? I wondered.
Who am I?
Then it dawned on me that it was simply a knee-jerk reaction. It wasn't premeditated or planned. There wasn't a single thought in my brain telling me that I should hide around the corner and scare those people, it just...happened. So, if it wasn't planned and I didn't think of it on my own, where did it come from? And that's when I realized that I am finally growing up into mature adulthood. You see, in times past my knee-jerk reaction would have been to tell that woman exactly what I thought of her, involving some very colorful words and phrases that would have left us both feeling angry and resentful. But look at me now! I have grown and evolved to a whole new level. My subconscious mind has so much more self-control these days that my first reaction upon being offended is not to offend back, but to choose option B, which is apparently much more mild. In the end, nobody had to walk away from that situation feeling angry or insulted, but instead, we got to walk away feeling extremely awkward and weirded out. That is a huge improvement, my friends!!(This is the part where you applaud for me and tell me welcome to adulthood where adults learn how to deal with jerks in more mature ways)
After making this beautiful realization, I didn't feel as embarrassed anymore. I actually felt proud of my accomplishment! I did, however, take off my jacket and change out my face mask so they wouldn't recognize me in the checkout. I didn't, however, go to the checkout right away because I was too embarrassed to run into them again. Furthermore, I'd like to extend an open apology to all the inconsiderate jerks who I've had to yell at over the years for saying and doing stupid things. If I could do it all all over again, I would've chosen the higher road.
All in all, this was a great way to end 2020!
Happy New Year! May 2021 bring growth and change in all the ways that you need. 💓💗 (or all the ways you don't need)
Disclaimer: I have nothing against the elderly. Conflicts with other humans come in all sorts of shapes, ages, genders, races, economic backgrounds, and sizes. You can read about another knee-jerk reaction here: Impulsive