When I was in high school, a girlfriend told me I had an “old soul”. This was super exciting for me because she was also the one who thought my aura “might be pink”.
Close…but everybody knows if I’ve got an aura, mine’s green. Hellloo.
It will come as no surprise to you that I spent girl time back then the same way you did, getting together with friends trying to make sense of life in general and boys in specific. Occasionally our families threw us a curve ball and we went straight to our peers for the answers.
This was actual face time, people. Not Facebook.
We earned our friendships the hard way.
I was the friend who dispensed answers. The rock in the middle of the emotional storms. The listener-to-delimmas and leaned-upon-of-shoulders. I discoursed on everything from religion to school politics. I passed around advice like Little Miss Know-It-All.
It’s no surprise to me that as years passed, my knowledge shrank.
After all, as life progresses, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
Often what passed for knowledge turned out to be opinions wielded with almighty conviction and surprisingly, it’s harder to tell the difference than one might think.
But if my soul was already elderly and wise, what happened since?
Many years and a handful of kids later, I am handing out the exact same advice to my teenagers.
Only this time around, they are staring at me like I’m from Mars.
I had a frantic, emotional daughter pleading her case before me and upon realizing that, sadly, my answer was still “no”, she announced in no uncertain terms: “Mom, you have no soul!”
Off she stormed to her room, the end of the world absolute.
I pondered the idea. What was actually ending was the remnants of her childhood, making way for the understanding of adulthood. I can relate. But I can’t recant my position on our argument.
And I suppose it’s only natural that my super old soul has, somewhere along in the trenches, died.
I gave it a good hard run for the money.
Certainly there are many opportunities for pity parties during child-rearing that you don’t have the luxury of indulging. At some point you pull up your big girl panties and put dinner on the table anyway. No advice needed.
You just keep swimming.
I remind my daughter of her statement once in a while and she smiles.
She says she hands out my lectures on occasion to friends who need to hear it.
They think she’s Socrates.
Meanwhile, I have discovered that going without a soul is very convenient.
Any time I have to say “no” to a whiny, demanding, entitled or irrational child, I look them straight in the eye and say, “My dear, I love you very much, but I have no soul, just ask your sister. Discussion closed.”