I’ll take a weathered person any day. Someone who’s been through the muck, who’s been waterboarded in the sea of tribulation. Resilient, bold-face, humble. Not the type who goes looking for a fight, but the one who can hold their own when the fight is thrust upon them.
The kind that laughs in the face of adversity. Not because they know what is to come, but because they don’t fear it. Because they bring their best defense - themselves. Tried and true. Battle-tested.
Someone who has gone through deep hardship and has emerged better, not bitter.
Most people put a premium on innocence. A newborn baby, a fresh blanket of snow, a new company hire. The allure of innocence is that it is uncorrupted. The newborn is unstained by the world, the snow is undisturbed by footprints, the new hire is untainted by workplace culture. There is a beauty to purity that takes our breath away.
That being said, I’ll take the experienced person any day. The toddler who scrapes his knee on the playground and comes back the next day for more. The snow that has been commingled with human hands to form a snowman. The practiced manager who can adeptly navigate workplace politics to get the job done.
I like my people seasoned. People who have delved deeply into life, who have taken risks, and lived full out. People who have failed over and over again and keep trying. People who stay in the arena. They are seasoned. Seasoned by experience. Seasoned by choice. Why have a steak with just salt when you can have one marinated overnight with all sorts of interesting spices? It tastes better that way.
While innocent people take our breath away, weathered people leave us thirsty for more.
I have an ’02 Jeep Wrangler. I call her Emma. We’ve been through a lot together. The first job I loved. The first man I loved. The first apartment that broke my bank account. The first man that broke my heart. Emma is a weathered vehicle. She makes a wurring sound every time I start her, her back bumper is sprinkled with rust stains, and she growls every time I switch gears. Emma bears the marks of the road and the marks of my life. She’s beautiful. Over the Thanksgiving holiday last year, she broke down. The dealership gave me a loaner car while they worked on repairs. It was a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee. It had all the bells and whistles: seat warmers, GPS, bluetooth speakers, quiet engine, and only 5,000 miles. Bright-eyed and innocent. It was fun driving the loaner for the first day or two, but after a while I started missing my Wrangler. Emma’s loud and noisy and rough around the edges, but she’s mine. She’s traveled the road with me. She bears the scars of my life. She’s a daily reminder that despite hardship, life keeps moving on. The road continues, and so do I. No innocence can compare.
See here’s the thing: innocence doesn’t last. The world is cruel. Suffering eventually arrives on every person’s doorstep. It’s what we do in that moment that defines us.
Adversity reveals what we are truly made of. Imagine a glass full of a mysterious liquid. You don’t know what is inside, because the glass is opaque. How do you find out? You shake the table. The liquid comes pouring over the side and you see - ahhh it’s milk, revealing an important truth: We spill what we are full of. It is only when our life is shaken with the most violent of storms that we see our true character. When things get hard do we run? Hide? Lash out at those we love? Vow to never take a risk again? That’s the real us.
What is your type?
Anyone who has dated has been asked the above question.
I’ll tell you - my type is a person of character, who adores me, and has born adversity as well. The last part isn’t so sexy, but gosh it’s important. I don’t want someone who runs away at the first sign of turbulence. I don’t want someone to disappear when things get hard. Commitment is great. Compatibility is great. But without courage, the other two are sinking ships. Those looking for a life partner must look for someone who has born adversity well. Because hardships do arise, and we want someone who can weather the storm with us.
So, to make a long answer longer, my ‘type’ is weathered. The man who’s experienced rejection over and over again but still takes risks. The woman who’s been treated poorly and still chooses to stay sweet and gentle. The person who’s been through hell and back and still lives full out.
Because, the best book has the dustiest cover.
Because, the best shoes have the shabbiest sole.
Because we learn from weathered people. Their sojourns have brought them to far and distant lands. They are wise and knowledgeable, bearing the marks of hard-earned lessons. They are a walking library. Those with teachable spirits benefit from their tutelage. To be in their presence is to walk among the gods. The world does not deserve them.
It will be my joy to befriend you, weary traveler. You are interesting, seasoned, tested. Your impurities were scorched in the sweltering hot furnace, and you came forth as gold. Your scars are beautiful. They remind me of what you have overcome.
So hold court for us, weathered kings & queens.
We pull up a seat. We’re all ears.
--Dedicated to Malina & Kailyn, two of the most beautifully weathered people I know--
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