I've had a thought that possibly part of being an adult means getting to a stage in life when you suddenly realise that everyone still feels like a child. We are all simply going around doing our best, acting like we know what is going on - but really all we want to do it just whizz down a giant slide and fall into a massive ball pit.
The difficult thing about feeling like children is that emotionally we can behave like children as well. Being an adult though means that we know how to apologise. I've recently started apologising and I've been surprised at how good it feels. Saying 'sorry' is a bit like Spring Cleaning - getting rid of all the clutter. The great thing about it is - it puts the ball firmly into the other person's court. They can now accept your apology or not, but at the end of the day you have now done your bit.
Now here's the adult part - apologising even if you don't think you were in the wrong, because, regardless of your point of view, at some point the other person has been upset - and that is what you are apologising for. If there was any point at which you unknowingly hurt that person's feelings, then you are sorry. And you mean it and it feels good doing it.
Of course here in England we apologise far too much for really little, measly things. For example, it is not uncommon to say sorry when we brush past someone in the street. To strangers we are all rather excessively polite - a bit like Hugh Grant in the film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. If you speak to any Scandinavian or German friends they will tell you that us English are a bit ridiculous for our multitude apologies.
In the end, the meaning of the word 'sorry' loses its' potency. It is a bit like telling everyone you meet that you love them. Rather instead, why not behave in a more stoic fashion, less subservient, hold our heads up and acknowledge we brushed past that stranger - of course check that they are OK then smile and walk on? Let's keep that sorry for the more important moments when we truly feel it.
Another sudden realisation of late is why there is such a mass love of looking around public gardens. I've always enjoyed nosing around stately homes, imagining living there and soaking in the interior décor ideas - the gardens however have been less of a pull for me. I'm a lover of nature, but always considered a wild forest to be more my sort of backdrop, somewhere untouched, so much so that I was unprepared for the enchantment of the Greys Court gardens.
The main house was shut so we were confined to looking around the gardens instead. Not much of a confinement I tell you - they are absolutely stunning. Even at this time of year before anything has come to bloom, the beauty of the garden's potential struck me. I found myself in the courtyard of the wisteria maze imagining how gorgeous it would be in the summer. Then onto the orchard amazed at how they had manipulated the boughs of the apple trees into straight lines so that they all looked uniform and grew beautifully along wires. The vegetable gardens and the paths leading down to the woodlands - I loved it all. Now, is this a form of maturity or am I not getting out enough?
It's as though someone has suddenly let me in on a secret - actually humans can add to the beauty of a landscape. In fact, the delicate balance of humans and nature working together creates a kind of magic - something so beautiful it literally has to be stared at in awe. It is as though I always used to disregard anything too man-involved, but now I understand, this is where the party is! Forget the raves in the wild forests - from now on I want to be breathing in rose garden scents and staring at the Bonsai trees.