Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unfiltered Valerie

Have you ever found yourself with someone who was spouting off or misbehaving, and you just sat back and thought, wow. Yeah, that’s what I used to do. When I was younger, I kept my head down, didn’t make too many waves, performed my role as middle child fixer of all relationships, even let my husband be the boss of me for awhile. (Right now John is getting all misty-eyed, remembering those bygone days.)

These days I’m more likely to laugh, comment, or even respond in kind. I don’t know if it’s maturity, hormones (or a lack of them), wisdom, a sense of justice for the oppressed, an inability to suffer fools gladly—but let’s call it maturity. I was in the grocery store one day as a scowling middle-aged man pushing a grocery cart was followed by his obviously browbeaten wife. As soon as he saw me blocking the aisle on the far end, talking to another woman, he made an even worse face and hunched forward as if to mow us down. We had plenty of time to pull to one side before he got near, but he still looked murderous as he pushed past, mumbling about us blocking the aisle. I laughed and said, “If that’s the worst thing that’s happened to you today, you’re having a blessed day.” His wife’s eyes widened and she scuttled past like I was contagious. I hope I was.

Just this past Sunday I was in a meeting with a church group and the subject of a Mission Statement came up. “You’re a writer, Valerie! You would be good at helping us come up with a Mission Statement.”

I made one of those rude, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me huffing noises. “Just shoot me now.”

“You don’t believe in Mission Statements?”

I said, “Oh, I believe in them. I’ll get behind whatever Mission Statement you make. Just don’t make me sit through another meeting with a group of people trying to come up with one. I hate those meetings.” A respectful silence followed my words. Or else most of the members of the group were saying a little prayer for my soul.

The filter seems to be gone, doesn’t it? Instead of my edges being rubbed smooth with age, I sometimes wonder if some of them are being honed even sharper.

What about you? Are you more open about your opinions? Do you react out loud, or have you learned to keep it to yourself? How is aging—I mean maturing—affecting your “filter”?


  1. "Maturity" seems to have had the opposite effect on me. I used to suffer from situational Tourette's Syndrome. I was, in my youth, incapable of letting a thought go unexpressed.

    Now, and I credit some of this to exposure to Bob Strother, the King of staying above the fray, I am much more likely to just let it go, whatever it is. Honestly, I think I have the whole thing backwards. I should be able to get away with saying what I think now that I'm, ahemm...a little older. :)

  2. I spent nearly 40 years suffering fools and politicians (too often one and the same), but not gladly--more a matter of career. For me "staying above the fray" was a matter of survival. I guess it became ingrained.

  3. I like you just the way you are, Val!