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I am in a philosophical pickle. I have caught myself in a Catch-22. This summer, I am trying desperately to not be judgmental–with people, with new ideas, with nearly everything. Although I don’t feel like I am overly judgmental, I have been trying and doing quite well I might add. But recently I have discovered my overwhelming judgment towards those who are overly-judgmental. I mean, it actually eats away at me. Let me explain a little more. Last week, a friend of mine mentioned her dislike toward another one of my friends due to an incident 15 years ago. We were barely 20. She can no longer recall why she dislikes my friend. But she retains her dislike. And I was annoyed and judged these thoughts, feelings, and even old actions.

But I didn’t speak up.

We all hold grudges, regardless of what anyone says. We might not linger with our anger or hurt, but we certainly keep it filed away in the back of our brains to remind us in the future when we are betrayed again, or just simply to keep tabs on our relationships. Grudges are hard to shake. Ones that have remained with me are old boyfriends who said stupid or rude things that I still hear occasionally when I feel down. Work issues where I felt marginalized or attacked by a parent or a coworker. Harsh words and dirty looks from that mean girl from middle school when we wore the same outfit one day. Stupid comments between overly-sensitive me and friends or family while drinking too much wine. I guess we don’t forget.

But we can move on, I think. Well, let me rephrase that. I can move on I think. Not from the grudges I have held in the past because really and truly, I don’t think I have any in my life right now. But from the droning on grudges, complaints, and immature insults hurled still at people from years and years ago. We make mistakes. We grow up, even at 35, and learn.

This is hilarious coming from someone who truly wears her heart on her sleeve. My former inner-judgmental-voice is trying to judge my non-judgmental judgment. I guess I am a walking paradox in this sense. So here I go. I am over the judgments other people have on people I know, even if I don’t know about it. I never get involved, but I keep it inside and I fester. It makes me feel like I am in an argument with my best friend.

When I feel unsettled, I listen to my music. Usually introspective, quieter music. I’m a sucker for 70’s acoustic songwriters. I have a special place in my heart for Jim Croce. Mostly this started when I was 3500 miles away from home. He and Carole King and Joni Mitchell sort of nurtured my soul during those two years on the East Coast. I always thought “Operator” was a sad love song, but I hear it differently tonight and I think it’s just what I needed. That’s just the way it goes.

“And there’s a rose in a fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove. And if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”. The Meters are getting the credit today, although I prefer the original. What I glean from this song right now: everything contradicts everything and I need to sift through what really matters, and move on. Take the judgments and the non-judgments. Be assertive and ask not to be included in the conversation. Be thankful I’m not the one being judged or the judge herself. And allow the residual knowledge of said judgments to disappear just as quickly as they arrived.

They are not my judgments. After all, “A world that loves its irony must hate a protest singer”. Interesting thought.

Lovable–Sam Cooke

Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)–Jim Croce

Love the One You’re With–The Meters

Sinkin’ Soon–Norah Jones

Holiday–Weezer

Helicopters–Barenaked Ladies

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