This year has been by far one of the most active years of my life. As I’ve mentioned before, one of my goals this year was to travel a lot and I was so incredibly blessed to be able to accomplish that. Doing five weekend trip in six weekends and then going on several other trip that included an overseas trip to Spain and France was a wonderful experience. I’m on my last trip of the year right now and I’m happy for the chance to end the year and start the year with trips. As a result, I once again didn’t buy furniture this year. And I’m ok with that. I’ve learned the importance of rolling with the punches. Life doesn’t always turn out how we expect it to and we are sometimes forced to make readjustments. I’ve had to become more independent and to make more decisions that affected my life in a huge way. The great thing is that it forced me to be more deliberate in my choices and mindful of long term consequences. I had some “I love my life” moments along with “I hate my life” moments. I remember someone telling me that when we add up our highs and our lows they end up balancing out. This was the case this year. It’s funny how we don’t really recognize ourselves changing on a daily basis but we see it when we look back over a period of time. I’ve had some good moments this year and I’m looking forward to 2015.
Five things I’ve learned this year
1. Sometimes determination is more important than talent. There are many talented people who are lazy and miss out while determined people are out working them.
2. Some people have good intentions, many do not. We are all driven in some way by our own agenda and it’s rare to find someone who is genuinely unselfish.
3. Relationships are important. No one has even gotten what they wanted out of life without forming strategic relationships.
4. Sometimes you have to do what makes you happy. At the end of the day you have to live with your decisions and consequences. You can’t please everyone and you’ll burn out trying.
5. There are some people in your life you just have to distance yourself from. They won’t understand and you’ll waste your breath trying to explain to them. Life goes on and you should too.
Musiq’s songs have some of the best lyrics and this one is no exception. It’s pretty self explanatory but I will say that this song is so idealistic in nature. Musiq is singing the words that many women would love to hear. Like I’ve always said, the idea of security and commitment in a relationship is comforting. I had the change to attend one of his concerts and this was one of the songs I really enjoyed hearing him perform live.
I feel like giving a warning that this blog post will be somewhat off the wall. It’s the Christmas season and one of the things society seems to do is acknowledge and provide services for people they’ve ignored all year. We buy presents and volunteer our time to help the needy. Part of my job is working with kids who have come from abusive situations with different challenges and providing a variety of social work related services to them. In addition to the work done by staff, there are community members and volunteers who have stepped up to do great things for the kids. They’ve sacrificed their time and their resources to do something extra special for kids who may not have ever had someone care about them. And while some of these contributions come during the holiday season, others come throughout the year. Yesterday I had the chance to witness a community contribution to the kids. There was a group of local businessmen who wanted to do something special and buy gifts for all the kiddos. I’m going to take a quick break from the story to share an observation/insight. I don’t know if it’s the media or society in general, but we are really conditioned to associate masculinity with ginormous American-built trucks. A man who drives a Ford F-250 with an extended bed and a lift kit is miles ahead of the man saving the environment in a Toyota Prius. At least in certain regions of the country. Needless to say, the trucks they drove were of the aforementioned category. It would be unfair to the integrity of the story not to mention the fact that these businessmen appeared to be in their late 20’s early 30’s and were also very very extremely attractive (you get the point). But I digress. The trucks were filled with presents for the kids and every single kid got one. Many times in these situations the toys come as a result of a toy drive and aren’t necessarily specific to what the kid wanted. There’s also usually a price limit that while reasonable doesn’t always meet the wants of the kids. However these kids had all submitted a wish list and these guys had gone out and bought what the kids asked for. They were not cheap gifts. Jordan’s, huge toy sets, electronics, and $100 gift cards were among the gifts given to the kids. It was wonderful to see the kids faces light up with joy as they got what they had asked for. It was just as fun for the guys giving out the gifts. I’m reminded of the reasons why philanthropy is so important. Giving of yourself is great, but you can also have a significant impact when you have the monetary means to help as well. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could give to a particular cause or wish that I’ve had more to give to a particular cause. That being said, I want to have the means to not only set up my kids to be in a great financial position but also to make a sustainable difference in the lives of others. Getting a building named after you is good, but we can’t forget the importance of investing in people. That wasn’t off the wall at all.
Recently I had the chance to observe a group in a festive social setting. I’m a people watcher by nature and I enjoy observing the interactions around me. I’ve often said that if I wasn’t so emotionally infested I would center my dissertation around the study of those interactions. The first thing I do after going into a room is to do a quick scan to see who is there. After this I usually immediately locate the top four most attractive people in the room. It’s not that I have any bad motives. It’s just a habit I have as I’ve noticed that attractive people seem to carry themselves differently. Maybe it’s because they have more confidence and see the world from a different perspective. I’m not a huge fan of new social environments but it’s interesting to see how social norms and cues inform behaviors.
I frequently post songs that I enjoy listening to and this one is not an exception. To be honest, I heard this song for the first time at the end of 2010 after my first semester of my senior year of college. I had a college classmate who was sick and in the hospital. People started saying that if anyone wanted to see them they needed to go ASAP to the hospital. This person was someone I knew rather casually but often spoke to on occasion since we had several classes together. Needless to say I visited them at the hospital and while I was thankful for the experience, it was also sobering on how short life really is. Nobody teaches you what to say to someone on their deathbed. This year I’ve talked to a decent amount of people on their deathbed and I’ve still been stuck on appropriate words to say in that situation. I say all this to say that this song is one of hope. It’s a reminder to press forward and to keep pushing despite obstacles that come. Great melody and I like the optimism in the message.
Lately, I’ve been dealing with some marked moments of ambivalence. I am the type of person who likes systematic and also logical conclusions to challenges that arise. As much as I thrive in an “on the fly” environment, I’d much rather use my energy and time preparing and already having a plan that will immediately go into effect when a crisis arises. Not too long ago, I posted an article that discussed the rise in ambivalent relationships. I’m learning that I struggle with having meaningful and close relationships with people who are always ambivalent. It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s just that my time is wasted as they go back and forth about making a small decision. I personally like having plenty of time to make decisions. I like to sleep on it and to analyze the decision from all sides before I come to a conclusion. However, when the need arises, I can also make split second decisions and be ok with that. Ambivalence is all around us and I see it on a regular basis in my job as a therapist. While someone may say that they want to change, they still refuse to make the necessary changes in their life. This can be frustrating on the part of both the client and the therapist. It’s hard to help someone who can’t even define what they want. It’s even harder to help someone who refuses to change unless all conditions are just right. I’ve learned that many times people in places of ambivalence don’t want your help. They want to be noticed. This presents a challenge that can be frustrating due to the fact that you can’t make anyone’s decisions for them. They have to be personally invested in the process 100% before any true and lasting work can be done.
Many of us had a subject in school in which the relationship between it and use could be characterized by the word “complicated.” For me, that subject was math. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that anyone is born hating math. I once read an article that asserted that hating math is a result of how we are raised and taught to do it. I remember learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables through memorization and songs. However, for some reason, my dislike for math seemed to deepen. It wasn’t until 11th grade that I realized I had a knack for creating a spreadsheet of a budget and calculating profit margins. This was a bright moment in my dark relationship with math. My experience with math was further complicated by the fact that while I was homeschooled, math was not a strong point with either of my parents. I did my high school education through a correspondence course. That meant that I got a math book and a workbook and I had to teach myself the concepts. This was an extremely hard thing to do as I got into advanced algebra and geometry. Even with the help of tutors it was not easy going. I managed to pass both classes with grades that probably should never be reported. It was a good thing that I managed to escape trigonometry, calculus and other higher level maths that most people have to take. It’s funny how certain things decrease in significance as we get older. I was genuinely stressed out by my algebra homework. Yet, after passing the class (thankfully), other than critical thinking skills, algebra is a thing of the past. I’m not tested on my ability to solve for x or any other operation that requires a lot of steps to solve. That’s why I think it’s so important to not make mountains out of molehills. You acknowledge it, you confront it, and you move on. Chances are the things you worried about ten years ago aren’t even relevant now and you wasted valuable energy that could have become something productive.
What an interesting take on something that many of us (including myself) try our hardest to avoid. I really appreciate the author’s perspective that we grow as people as a result of loving someone who doesn’t love us back. You have the opportunity to learn a lifelong lesson about yourself when you make the decision to love without it being reciprocated. Granted, the whole experience can be immensely emotionally stressful but the author is completely right. After a few weeks, month, or maybe even years, you get over it and you learn to move on. Probably one of the harder lessons that you can personally experience but also one of the really important ones.
I’m not into numerology by any means but for some reason I like dates that consist of numbers that are chronological. I read somewhere today that this date (12/13/14) was the last time in a while that we will have dates that are sequential. Days like this remind me of the Y2K crisis. It’s hard to believe that the year 2000 was over a decade ago. People were stockpiling anything they could get their hands on. It was predicted that everything would shut down and there was a sense of panic in many hearts because so many systems were computerized. We had never before seen the start of a new millennium so nobody was quite sure what to expect. This was also still in the days of dial up internet. It’s funny how time comes and goes whether or not you’re doing something. So many times we plan out the future but don’t put the timeline on our goals. I personally know people who admit to have wasted decades of their lives working a job they didn’t like. I’ve also met people who have been planning to leave their city and travel for years but life keeps happening and they don’t get a chance to because they never made it a high priority. We can’t be so busy living that we forget to make a life for ourselves. That’s why it’s so important to not get so caught up in the mundane. Time is passing whether we do something with our lives or not and chances are that we’ll be happier if we decide not to be ordinary.