I gave a lot of thought to the loss I experienced this week - the end of a relationship, perhaps the greatest love I have known in my 43 years (not counting a mother's love for her son, of course).
I told my friends that I am a better person for knowing and loving this man. I have more compassion for other people, and I am less judgmental.
At least, I thought I was.
My judgment of others was put to the test Friday night as I attended a fashion show at the trendy Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale.
To those of you who don't live in the area, the name of this establishment suggests a pay-by-the-hour enterprise, but be assured this hip urban boutique hotel is somewhat of a landmark in the Valley.
The fashion show was poolside, and as my friends and I awaited the start, we settled in to do some people-watching. I realize that people-watching is just another way to say "judge others," so you don't have to point that out.
The VIP area in front of us quickly caught my attention. A stunning 20-something blonde with shoulder-length straight hair in a tight-fitting aqua blue dress arrived on the arm of a squat middle-age man. Her entire right arm had a tattoo "sleeve," which is gonna look like shit when she's 50, but I'm getting off topic. Otherwise, she was drop-dead gorgeous.
The couple joined three other squat 50-something men and their 20-something dates.
As I watched the group, I kept asking myself, "Why do these people bother me?"
I thought about the ex-wives these men likely have collected, along with children who are likely the same ages as their dates. I thought how ridiculous the men looked in their tie-less suits, dyed hair and round bodies next to these svelt beautiful young women.
I judged the hell out of these dudes, and they probably didn't deserve it. Obviously they've done well for themselves, and they wear mid-life crises well (except for the tallest of the men ... he's had some bad plastic surgery.)
I watched the blond with the sleeve tattoo lean into her man and say something to him. I wondered what the two of them could possibly have in common to discuss. Maybe they were doing the same thing that I was doing - people-judging. We never seem to be too old to do that.
I chastised myself for spending so much thought-energy on people who were oblivious to my existence. And who were hurting no one by being together, as far as I could tell.
My judgment wasn't about them. It was about me feeling hurt, sad and angry that something I'd worked hard for - for nearly two years - and believe in 100 percent had failed.