Making choices about the people I want to surround myself with has become much easier as I have gotten older. I am no longer preoccupied with having to be part of “the crowd” or feel the need to keep the company of people who are negative or have nothing nice to say about others. It is actually quite liberating not to really care what others may think of you, to feel confident enough in who you are and to be honest about who you are and embrace it. Over the years I have learned not to stand idly by if someone has “pushed my buttons”- sometimes making the choice just to walk away, other times not remaining silent but speaking my mind.
After listening to a fellow teacher’s constant complaints over the last month, and her never ending concern about what others were doing that she deemed “unfair”, I finally reached my limit this past week. I would have remained silent had she not questioned me about one of my appointed duties at work and whether or not I was doing it. I then had the opportunity to tell her what I tell my first graders: Be your best self, stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and just concentrate on yourself. I also mentioned that her behavior struck me as very “high school” and I would no longer subject myself to it, bowing out from our shared lunch time, happier to eat alone than continue to subject myself to this behavior. Talking behind people’s backs, smiling to their face and then the minute they walk away having something to say about them is not an environment I choose to place myself in at this stage of my life. I spent too many years growing up following the crowd because I wanted to “belong” even if the choice of friends was not always the best choice. I am glad to have reached a stage of life where I can make the choice to surround myself with people who are positive and true friends, and walk far away from those who only want to bring negativity into their daily existence.