And another thing: I'm not going to be saying "I'm sorry" with the same frequency as before.
One of the beautiful (and irritating) things about life in Italy, is what happens to women when they hit, oh, seventy. They have the most unbelievable sense of authority. If the bakery is crowded, makes no difference. They push to the front. If they have to cross the street, they stop traffic. If there's advice to be handed out, they do it without waiting for permission. In other words, they're not big on being overly concerned about what other people think. They are looking out for Numero Uno.
That said, if they trip you with their canes, sending your pomodorini flying, they're quick to say "I'm sorry." These women aren't impolite, they've just arrived at a certain point in life. And that's the point of being very, very sure of who they are, what they're about, and what they think. I'm taking notes.
The world is full of people who are rude, pushy, and immorally egotistical. We're suffering the effects of that now, globally. But there are people like me, who have tried for too long to make up for it in not-quite-the-right way. Quick to apologize, quick to assume that I'm the one who's likely in the wrong, I've been saying "I'm sorry" when it probably wasn't necessary—even when, and here's the clinker—I didn't feel sorry. What was I doing?
I'm going to stop. I'm going to start blocking the traffic if necessary. (Excuse me, but the crosswalk should be a safe place to cross the street, no?) I'm going to defend my opinions. I'm going to respect my own course of action, and not second guess it because it's inconvenient to someone else—my children, my husband, the other mother in the park, the account guy at work, etc.
I'm going to say "I'm sorry" when it's warranted, and I will mean it. But when it really isn't appropriate, I will politely decline. Someone else can be sorry.