A Year in Review

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.

What I learned in 2014

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.

Dontchange

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.

The Philanthropic Choice

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.

Social observation

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.

Over the Hill is Home

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.

Rolling with Ambivalence

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.