Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cavewoman Mentality

There was a time in the not-so-distant past, when I could tell you the ages of my children in months and weeks. Coincidentally, or maybe as a direct result of this new found mental capacity, I completely lost track of my own age. After age 29, my brain seems to have taken a little hiatus from me-think and that portion of the cerebrum was overtaken with them-think.

An adaption of sorts, probably developed as some type of survival/coping mechanism by cavewomen shortly after they squatted and bore their first little cave dweller. I imagine that the early cave mom had to keep track of her offspring's' development in much the same way we do today...About how many loin clothes does he wet per day?...Can he drag a carcass using alternating feet?...Does he scribble on the cave wall using a dominant hand?...Approximately how many grunts is he using?....

This, along with the daily routine of tidying up the cave, making sure her child doesn't wander off the edge of a cliff, and picking the nits from cave husbands' head after a long days' hunt would leave no time for vanity.

Besides, according to Piaget, we get over self-preoccupation during our childhood. He surmises that by age 7 we are over the Me Stage (the preoperational stage ) and are no longer as egocentric as we were from the ages of 2 through 7.

But then, just the other day I'm reading my friends' blog (Sugar Mama), and she's answering this chain email that asks all sorts of random questions. The purpose- to glean some insight into the kind of person you are-you know-likes, dislikes etc. I had answered the same email from a friend months earlier and was not surprised that many of our answers were similar. I like to think that I'm like her because she's funny, smart, successful and not in the least bit vain. OK, I'll admit that she has a leg up on me here. This is a woman who considers Chapstick makeup, whereas I apply only for medicinal purposes. Anyway, our answers to question #16 - What's the least favorite thing about yourself? totally caught me off guard.

I didn't even have to blink to answer this one. I put, Thinking I know what others are thinking about me. She had answered, Worrying what others think about me. I had been so proud of my statement because I had carefully side-stepped the stereotypical female responses dealing with issues of outward appearance-ie weight, hair and skin and breast size (the excessive, the bad and the lack of- in that order). I was a higher level thinker and my answer to question#16 would be proof to any doubter who came across my cyber-profile. How on God's Green Earth could our answers to this question be so aligned?

The answer is simple. In fact, it's held secure by a nondescript magnet on the surface of my mom's refrigerator. A plain white 4x6 index card, neatly fonted gives Piaget a run for his money. It states:

When we are 20 we worry about what others think of us.
At 40 we don't care about what others think of us.
At 60 we find they haven't been thinking of us at all. -Ann Landers.

Maybe my #16 answer was not as original as I had thought it to be. Maybe, it's just an age thing. A kind of adult psychological stage of development that we weren't exposed to in college. Or maybe Ann Landers is a descendant of Piaget (along with Heloise and Dear Abby) and she took it upon herself to extend his theory (modernizing it and making it more relevant to us in our post-collegiate years).

I can't wait till 60 when I have this epiphany that no one has been thinking about me. In the meantime, Ill just muddle through my 20's- er 30's trying to check the right box and making sure my cave children don't wander off a cliff.

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