Thursday, March 12, 2015

Age Appropriate: 11 Things I'm Allowed to Say Now

It seems when a person is a child anything can come out of their mouths, and it's ok. Fat comments? Curse words? Letting family secrets slip? It's ok. He doesn't know any better. There was even a whole show dedicated to the idea - "Kids Say the Darndest Things." (In the house where I grew up "darn" was a cuss word. Strictest parents ever.)

This phenomenon of being able to say pretty much anything at all and get away with it seems to reappear later on in life. I was chatting with a college friend lately about when exactly is that age where we can gripe, boss, and let our darkest feelings out without fear of repercussion? ("I don't know about you, but I think that was the worst meal I've ever had. Yes, I know you cooked it! Ain't nobody got time for beating around the bush when you are as old as I am!")

Well, yesterday I turned 36 so we are going to say that is the age where you can say things. At this age I can safely say, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" So I am going to get some things off my chest in this here post. Some you may have heard before particularly if you follow me on Facebook, which I recommend you do.

Here we go:

1. Quit missing belt loops!
I mean, what? Why can't you turn around, check the mirror, use your sense of touch. Thread the belt through all the little loops. Not hard, people.

2. Eat some dadgum carbs!
If you want to eat them in moderation, I think that is wise. Really, I think that is wise in all things, not just food. But if you never eat any cornbread, or a hot Krispy Kreme, or birthday cake, or drink an ice cold coke every now and again just so you can have ripped abs, you are seriously missing out. Of course I've never had ripped abs, so maybe I am the one who is missing out.  

3. Stop not finishing sentences. 
There is this new trend where people say things like, "That was the best pie ever because chocolate." Um, this is not a complete sentence. Did you have a grammar class ever? I taught 1st grade for the first six weeks of my teaching career (which was a disaster). Within that first six weeks the curriculum involved teaching the difference between a complete sentence and an incomplete sentence. It isn't hard. Because grammar. 

4. For the love of apostrophes everywhere, learn to use them.
This one can be a little more challenging. Those little marks can really screw with the best of us. I happened to have this high school English teacher who would go crazy with his red pen marking your papers until they looked like a crime scene over things like misused apostrophes. This appears to be especially difficult if your last name ends in an "s" as does ours. When pluralizing a name ending in "s" apostrophes have no place: Brooks', Brook's, Brooksssss and Brooks's are all incorrect. This grammar lesson brought to you by the Brookses.

5. No passive aggressiveness. None. 
Mixed signals make you crazy. You must say what you think, or you are lying. If you come back later and complain about something you agreed to, you are the problem causer. This is an especially tricky one because you must learn to be kind while stating your real opinion, and you most also learn you will not always get your way, so sometimes you must change your mind and heart to go with a different plan from the one you think is best and truly be OK with it. Super challenging. But again, mixed signals make you crazy. Be a friend. Don't make others crazy.

6. Lie, lay, laid, lain, laying, lying
Just kidding. This one doesn't bother me because I have no idea myself. It's a pet peeve of my brother's (the superfab, genius Realtor), and I love to drive him nutso. 

6. You won't change someone's mind on social media.
Want to influence someone? Buy them a cup of coffee and have a conversation. Keep Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest fun! (Well, Pinterest is never fun. It will only make you feel like the least accomplished person on the planet. No, universe. See this.)

7. Don't wear leggings as pants. 
Because they aren't. This satirical blog post from way back in 2011 still makes me laugh. 

8. Let it go.
Stop holding on to that thing that happened when you were a child, or back in high school, or last year. Lay (lie) it at the Cross 50 times a day if need be. Otherwise you are the one who will be miserable, not the person who did it. And not to say those "things," whatever they are, don't shape us and become a part of our consciousness, but don't let them define you. For instance, I refuse to let the fact that "talks too much" got checked on every report card ever in the history of my life keep me down. It has taken some serious strength to move past all those check marks, but now I probably average 57 million words a day. Ask Preston. I've healed.  

9. Quit giving out candy.
A child who lives here just told me she has Pez left from last Easter. What now? Trash it immediately. Commence dramatic tears. Or if you really feel the need to give out candy, give chocolate, and I swear there won't be any left one week later, much less one year. And I think dark chocolate has some riboflavins or endorphins or something that ends in "ins" that your body needs. On behalf of mothers everywhere, chocolate is the way to go. 

10. Don't push your agenda on someone else.
The only thing, the ONLY thing, you need to be pushing is Jesus. And the best way to do that is loving, serving, kindnesses without end, loving accountability when you are in relationship. That's key - don't try to hold strangers accountable. They do not care about your opinion. 

11. Extend grace. 
And then do it again, and again, and again. And again. Just think of how awful you have already been today. 

And seeing as this list is my own agenda, please take it with a grain of salt. Extend me some grace. Just think to yourself, "Martha says the darndest things," and then post this blog to your social media site so more strangers can be influenced by my agenda. 

Grace for the 37th year of my life,

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