If there is one thing that I can point to that has changed in the years since college, it is how I view the opinions and motivations of others. I once would attach labels to folks arbitrarily and rarely change my mind. Now, I see more clearly the change that people go through as life carries on. While it rarely changes the perpetual jerk into a saint or your best of friends into rivals and critics.
It becomes easy to see an outburst (or even a pattern) as something brought about by life's circumstances. A friend of mine would use the phrase "[he/she]'s good people" when speaking of somebody he didn't necessarily know, but of whom he had already formed a somewhat negative opinion. It was his more polite, less obvious "bless their heart."
Lately, all I seem to hear about is child rearing debates, coding holy wars, overreaching foreign policy debates and how much more crap we can shove in a smartphone and how wise or stupid one must be to buy it. I get frustrated -- sometimes just outright pissed -- as I read commentary that is quite lengthy but says and matters vey little. And it is not because I agree or disagree. It is because civility apparently became a lost art form that comes around less frequently than the McRib. The Internet is a glorious forum to express opinions while being safe from the beating one would receive if they uttered those words to actual people.
And it really does break my heart. People I think I know fairly well and hold in high regard climb upon the soapbox and feign persecution to protect themselves from cross-examination. And it again is not the opinion itself that saddens me, but the vigor and extremes human beings go to to avoid being seen as wrong or weak.
It is as if I don't know people anymore., or at least as well as I thought. But I'm assured they are at least "good people" at heart, even if their mouths and keyboards betray them.