I've changed a lot since I was a young adult. Right, I'm sure we all recognize this shift at some point in our lives. I started having flashes of understanding yesterday as I drove home from work. I realized that much of my life had been spent talking over people, being a vacuum of attention in crowded places or parties, and the reality of my behavior began to sink in. I'm all the best parts of who I use to be, and I've no idea how I managed to keep any real friends over the years, at the same time.
I KNEW I was funny back then. Today, I know I'm funny, and I hope I'm funny in the same breath. Giving context to that, I mean I use to assume everything I thought was appropriate and everybody wanted to hear it. That notion stemmed from loving everyone despite their warts. Since I loved everyone, everyone collectively loved me. Naive boy, I tell you. Today, my timing is still good, and also I know when to shut up and not consume the room with my thoughts. Not everyone wants to hear what I have to say, I've gathered over the years.
I will say, I stand in unison with those that believe being oneself is paramount to what society thinks of them. Though, I'm not so off the cuff I don't also stop to think of how I affect people with my words. I'm not gonna suction cups to my head and walk around bars talking about how awesome it is I can stick things to my forehead (which I can). I have more to say to the world. The notion of using your words right is similar in concept to minimizing your carbon footstep. If you follow some procedures and think about you affect on your environment, you stand to use it more properly, with less likelihood of damaging your surroundings and relationships.
I have been forgetful much of my life, and due to the insanely rapid train of thought I have when it comes to conversationalism, I developed a difficult behavior of being interruptive. I never meant my interruptions as a sign of disinterest in others. I love consuming conversation as much as I provide. My brain moves so quickly through scenarios, funny quips, pop culture references, irony, and sensationalism that I blurt out what I think is the most poignant or hilarious thing, often at the expense of another person's communication.
It has not always been my intent to step over someone with my words, though I have employed interruption in many other forms on purpose. I am human, after all. I've been angry and interruptive, too, or uncomfortable with a line of dialogue and smashed through someone else's train of thought to create distraction or outright defiance. That is the nature of spoken language. It is both a means of communication and one of many weapons we humans carry in our arsenals.
The changes in my life have come from focusing my thoughts on what I believe to be best for a conversation and then waiting my turn. It sucks, training the brain. Now, I have the issue of completely checking out of a convo because I'm fighting to maintain the dialogue in my head by repeating it until the other person finishes their line of conversation. If it's not one thing, it's another. I can't figure which is more disrespectful: interrupting someone, or outright forgetting I'm in a conversation.
I'm constantly battling my self-awareness and have since childhood. I suppose the credit for maintaining relationships all these years go in great part to being self-aware. It has always helped me at least assume I'm to blame. Even in the moments I knew I was talking too much, I knew I was talking too much and offered an apology to the room.
Maybe that has something to do with why my greatest friends have tolerated my eccentric behavior? I don't know. But, I'm happy to have the people I do, and the new people who I grow closer to today.