A bumper sticker caught my eye as I was driving to a client today. It read: No one actually gives a shit what you think!
This got me thinking (again) about what Richard Rohr has to say about the two stages of life, narcism, ego development and whether we think we are the centre of the world. For a toddler, they have to be the centre of the world. It’s a prerequisite for ego and identity development. It’s the incessant “Look at me, look at me!” of toddlers at play. Daniel, at nearly two, is all about that. His daily word count is made up primarily of “Look Daddy!”, repeated ad nauseum. He jumps. Look Daddy. He sits. Look Daddy. He goes to sleep. Look Daddy.
And this is somehow all fine. It’s kinda cute, and we know it is essential to growing up.
Then however, as Rohr points out, if a 50-year old walks into a room and says, ”Look at me and listen to my story” it is not okay.It is not okay for someone in the second half of life to want to be the centre of attention. Rather, our job then is to dish out the attention, not attract it. It’s the mark of a “great” grandparent … they dole out the attention, not expecting it in return.
As I’m now occupying the cusp between the 1st and 2nd stages of life I’m wondering how one transitions from wanting to be the centre of the world (which I wouldn’t mind) and becoming less attached the the prescripts of my ego.
And so sadly, at the end of all this, you probably don’t give a shit what I think anyway. I’m now in the second half of life, and I’m okay with that.