The Man with the Cane

The line at the post office was long; people were shipping packages hoping to get them there in time for the holidays. A stooped old man with a cane was at the counter, a couple of spots ahead of me. It took an awfully long time for his transaction at the counter. I wasn’t paying attention as to why, as I was busy with the important business of scrolling Facebook on my phone.

When he walked back, out of the line, he stopped to look at a display of mailing envelopes. He pulled one out, and the stack fell over and scattered to the ground. Instinctively, I squatted down and had them almost picked up before he could bend all the way down to get the last one.

“I never do anything right,” he muttered under his breath, slowly placing the envelope back in the display.

My heart hurt for the man. I wondered if someone implanted that sentiment when he was little? Has “I never do anything right” been with him always? Or did it come with the process of aging, and losing the ability to do things as he used to?

Plenty of self-flagellation goes on in my mind. Less than in the past, but still that “voice” is there, telling me how much I “don’t do right.” What I should have done. What I didn’t do. How embarrassed I should be for this or that. How I didn’t handle x,y, and/or z in the perfect manner. I would never talk to my loved ones like this, but I talk to myself that way often enough.

I am 48(I think. It’s possible I am 49, but HT keeps track of these things). Do I want this to be continuing into my 50’s, 60’s, 70’s? My 80’s and 90’s if I should be so lucky to live that long? Do I want to be stooped over with a cane, still internally beating myself up for every little thing?

I don’t. It’s so tiring.

I feel like that little old man was a messenger, telling me to “watch the way you talk to yourself.”

Make mistakes.

It’s okay.

You’re human.

Be kind.