What’s Important in Life (Other People’s Priorities)
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
Just in case we forget our life’s mission or what’s important, there’s always some chatty “friend” who lets me know what’s really important in life, from their perspective, and how I should be defining “success.”
It reminds me of the JK Rowling news story where someone she hadn’t seen in a long time remarked on her weight loss/gain during the intervening years and failed to give any credence to the number of books or children the Harry Potter author had produced in that time period. The only thing that mattered was the size of her ass.
I feel Rowling’s indignation.
Case in point.
Six months ago, I ran into a woman I’d been friends with a few years ago. She knew I’d come through a painful divorce (and was highly outspoken and judgmental of me for staying so long), knew I was starting my life over, etc. I asked about her life and what was new. Then she asked about mine and what I’d been doing since she last saw me. We chatted but her focus was on how much weight I’d lost, which I had not even mentioned, and that was the way she marked any success or growth in my life. I cut the chat short. Of all the things I’d accomplished since I’d seen her and was excited about, only the weight loss was important—and she made a huge effort to validate me for it. Gee, thanks.
Then again, maybe it was because when we were friends, she spent so much time criticizing my weight.
My younger daughter ran into her recently on a shop- ping trip on her dad’s time and told me the woman had asked about me. The woman always spent a lot of time informing me of all her spiritual gifts and work projects, especially when my life was crap.
Aislinn didn’t get the opportunity to tell her that I’m really doing well on my own; that since I last saw the woman, I have written another half-dozen books, published another half-dozen, and completed my share of a 7-book series I co-created for a major publishing house; that I discovered I was an empath and my intuitive gift has gotten really strong; that I’m working on transitioning into a new career; that I’m studying hypnotherapy; that we’ve taken two wonderful family trips in less than a year; that I’m a guest speaker at several conferences this year; that I’ve gotten really good at both Tarot and astrology in the past year; that my health is really good and I’m happy with my regimen; that…well, these were high manifestations of all the things this woman used to lecture me that I needed in my life.
But without hearing a single thing that I deem a success, the woman had only two questions in regard to me:
1. How’s your mom?
2. Is she seeing anybody?
Yep. That’s it. Not even if I’m seeing anybody special. Not what’s up with your mom or what’s she been doing or what new circles of spirituality she’s casting, but down to the basic question that was important to her—who I’m sleeping with, likely so she could give her two cents worth.
I guess Aislinn saw I was perturbed. I’d just spent a
recent dinner talking about how irritating I find it for all these people to try to define my life under their own terms.
Then she gave me a peck on the check and leaned into my ear to whisper something totally catty that made me smile in a most devious way I’m terribly ashamed of.
“By the way, Mommy,” she said of the woman,
“you’re a lot thinner now than she is.”