By: Mary Fran Bontempo

sorrynotsorryOkay, I’ll admit it—as a resident of life’s middle ground, I’m not exactly up on current slang or expressions used by the “young folk.”

New language introduced into the vernacular was hard enough to manage before the advent of texting, but now that everything’s been reduced to a bizarre combination of letters, numbers and symbols (YOLO—You Only Live Once, RB@Ya–Right Back at You, TTYL8R—Talk To You Later), I’m clueless.

However, recently, I’ve picked up on a colloquialism increasingly used by the younger set (my twenty-something kids introduced it to me) that’s surprisingly useful. And it’s even in actual English.

The phrase? “Sorry—Not Sorry.”

The meaning is obvious, if a little snarky. But frankly, after fifty-three years and counting of navigating life’s challenging waters, I think I’m entitled to a little snarky. In fact, I embrace it.

So I decided to work on mastery of my new found slang by detailing some things about my life to which I could apply the expression. Here goes….

After clocking over a half-century (God, that stings), I’ve come to realize that there are some people and things which have been part of my life for a very long time and, well, I just don’t like them. The people or the things. I won’t offer details, but suffice it to say that there’s not too much I can do about any of it at this point aside from limiting contact and conducting any conversations with or about said people or things between only myself and my bathroom mirror.

There was a time when I thought the “right” thing to do was obsess over everything and beat myself up trying to please everyone while striving to make all right with the world. And then I realized that all I was doing was giving myself a giant migraine that’s lasted for the better part of my adult life.

So…I kind of don’t care anymore. I don’t care what people think about me and I’m pretty sure most people don’t care what I think about them. It’s either a stalemate or a form of détente, but it’s brought me a measure of peace. Either way, I don’t care. And as for the fact that I don’t care? Sorry—Not Sorry.

To continue along those lines, I don’t always “fit in” with what’s expected as far as my neighbors and social acquaintances go. Specifically, my political and religious views, were they painted on a sign planted on my lawn, would likely have the locals surrounding my house with pitchforks and torches.

I generally refrain from sharing my opinions, primarily because I try and avoid inciting riots in social situations. Plus, on those rare occasions when I’ve dared speak up, I end up feeling like a punching bag in a training gym. It’s not fun.

I’ll likely continue to stay silent at parties and dinners; watching people foam at the mouth during a meal is rather unappetizing. But know this: I do have an opinion and it’s quite possible, likely, in fact, that it doesn’t jive with yours. If you need complete conformity to allow me into your circle of trust, well, I guess I’ll be dining alone. Sorry—Not Sorry.

And finally, it’s time to admit it: I’ve turned into a bit of a slacker. Time was when a messy bathroom, dishes in the sink and the clothes mountain in the laundry room would send me over the edge. I’d tear through the house, spraying bleach on anything standing still, kids included, all the while barking at my family and wreaking havoc along the way.

A perfect house meant a perfect me. And it wasn’t only about cleaning. If circumstances dictated that I couldn’t make dinner or someone had to fend for themselves, I manufactured copious amounts of guilt. God forbid someone had to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner; clearly that meant I was the worst mother in the world.

Well, the occasional bowl of cereal never killed anyone. Neither did a messy bathroom or dishes in the sink. So, I’ve given up my quest for perfection and in the process, lowered my blood pressure. Plus, my husband and kids don’t automatically flee anymore when they see me coming. Should you come to my house, prepare yourself for a little dirt and the possibility of Cheerios. Sorry—Not Sorry.

The bottom line is that after fifty-three years, I’ve decided to accept myself for who I am, warts and all. I’m not perfect, but I’m not Medusa, either. (Well, my mirror would occasionally say otherwise, but that’s another story.) I am who I am, take it or leave it. And if you don’t like it, well, I’m sorry.

But I’m really not.

How would you apply the “Sorry–Not Sorry” mantra? Click “comments” below and share!