You know you’re getting older when you begin to place your values before your wants, emotions, and finances.

I’ve grown a lot in the past few years. I can’t say if I’ve grown more than the average twenty six year-old, as I don’t know what that looks like. Yet, I feel as if the short time I’ve lived has yielded a great amount of fruit and wisdom through life lessons and experience.

While at dinner with a friend, I was shocked – while somewhat affirmed in my own self-diagnosis – that my reaction towards religion, and religious people, had reached a spike point, which many (including myself) consider to be counterproductive.

If my reactions for/against my religious experience are nothing more than mirror images of each other; each resembling the opposite of the other, than my impact on the outside world – and loved ones – is really of no difference than the life I have shed.

I’ve also realized that my animosity – and I am correct in using this harsh word – towards religion, has been a major turn-off for a variety of people I’ve come in contact with, who see only a surface level emotion of mine, rather than my inner character. In a great many ways, I had to go through this knee-jerk reaction in order to fully process the life cycle of the religious experience.

Now that I’ve come full circle in this process, it’s time to ask myself whether or not I want to continue through life full of bitterness and resentment, or if I am willing to try and shed this reactional emotional cyclone and and step into a lifestyle of love, acceptance, and free from judgement of others.

I’ve made a conscious effort to choose the latter – and do my very best to meet and greet others for who and what they are, where they are at, without trying to figure out or make a judgement call on their lives.

My life is full of surprises one might not see if they didn’t look past the surface layer. To be honest, there are a deep number of surprises not many people – though they know me well – are aware of.

To impose judgement on another, after only receiving a surface-level glimpse of who they are and how they live, is shallow and irrational. My judgement calls on others tend to be consistently wrong. And it’s time to lay down the arms and embrace acceptance and genuine interest in the experience life has to offer, through others and whatever else it decides to bring my way.

When I was in college, I had a relationship that was perfect in its own right. (RAD) And, in light of my attempts to understand, demonize, process, reject, or forget about that relationship, I am now able to look back at it and realize it was exactly right for what it was – and has had a very dramatic impact on who I am as a person.

Just as I’ve now learned to accept the past and find inner peace (though it has not always been so) I am doing my absolute best to apply those same principles to life in the present moment; being where I am at, with who I am with, and acknowledging that love is more powerful than hate, acceptance a greater gift than rejection, and an open heart, mind, and perspective towards the unknown is much more of an asset than it is a liability.

Ambient music playing on an ultra-chic speaker system, relaxing to the cool breeze of a Dyson Air Multiplier™ fan, with the ceilings high above me at a place I have worked hard to enjoy and earn…

This experience, which I didn’t anticipate I’d be having this year, was made possible because I changed my perspective and lowered my ego, pride, and selfishness.

As I look forward to another Christmas season with the Plaat/Hoffman family, I am excited because I know the deep value of relationships that have yet to be discovered, through respect and appreciation, far surpasses the worth my silly modern living experience may bring me.

However…it’s pretty cool.


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