Not too long ago I had the experience of being flown in for an interview. I have to admit that it was an experience that I’ve never had before and I enjoyed the opportunity to travel without any personal expense. The position was for a job at my alma mater. It felt so surreal and full-circle to walk the same grounds that I walked as a teenager and be there in a different capacity. All my former professors seemed happy to see me back as a potential colleague. I met with the president and vice president. And all I felt was confined. It wasn’t that the position wasn’t nice or that I felt that it was totally out of my comfort zone. It was the expectations that came along with it. While I had a good college experience, it was also very sheltered. There were multiple rules that had to be followed in order to escape expulsion. While I had a genuine desire to give back, I realized that I didn’t want to teach or enforce rules that I didn’t have any intention of keeping. I appreciate people who are genuine and I knew that I wouldn’t be my best personal self if I felt conflicted between what was expected of me and my own thoughts and opinions. I’ve learned that sometimes the best professional decisions aren’t the best for me personally. I want to be fulfilled in a position but also feel that I can be genuine about my experiences and perspectives while learning from others. You have to learn how to say no to things that won’t benefit you in the long run. Now, to only learn that lesson about men…
Not too long ago I ran across an interesting article and immediately shared it with a friend who also agreed wholeheartedly with the author. You can read it here. As a therapist I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked to clients about accepting themselves and not basing their happiness on the presence of another person. But let’s admit it, we all want acceptance, companionship, and validation. The author brings out a good point when she talks about a strange sort of contentment in doing your own thing 100% of the time. You don’t have to consult with anyone or let someone know where you’re going when you leave the house. It’s like settling into a homeostasis of sorts. You aren’t obligated to constantly think about the welfare of another person. If only you could order a significant other as easily as one does an Uber or Lyft. You could specify various characteristics that you wanted and then request. As promised, a companion would suddenly appear on your doorstep, the epitome of all your hopes and dreams. No heartache or second guessing because you’ve just met your soulmate and you know that you’ll live happily ever after. Let’s be real, there’s a certain amount of selfish that is perfectly acceptable being a single person that just won’t fly in a relationship. You can’t get your way and never compromise and still expect to have a successful partnership. The author brings out a good point when she discusses the constant self-analysis and diagnosis that happens when you try to make sense of a phenomenon that is supposed to occur within a certain time frame. I have to say that I agree with her conclusion.
One thing that has been nice about the past two weekends is that I’ve had the chance to travel a bit. Weekend travel is fun but tends to be rushed because you don’t have a lot of time to recover from the work week before you have to be at work again on Monday morning. While there’s plenty to do on the central California coast, it’s always nice to have a change of scenery. I had my first plane ride ten years ago and I’ve been addicted ever since. There’s something intriguing and cool about takeoff and flying in the clouds where you have a totally different perspective. Next year I plan to travel more as the majority of my time this year was spent in a cubicle on the third floor of an office building in metro Atlanta. Maybe even get a job that involves frequent travel. It’s so important to see the world and while it would be nice to have a significant other as a traveling partner, I’m fine with exploring alone. Time to plan some trips.
I’ve never been much of a groupie but I must admit that it was cool to share an airport terminal train with Michaela Watkins, one of the stars in my favorite Hulu show, Casual. While it definitely contains some adult content, the show accurate depicts a lot of the confusion and anguish that can accompany relationships that merely casual. Michaela plays a therapist who is a recent divorcee and a single mother. She’s great at what she does but finds it hard to separate her personal from her own professional self. All the characters in the show experience their own personal crisis that make them more aware of who they are as people. The show is messy like real life often is. There’s so much ambivalence and the characters struggle with being honest with themselves and their partners. We often have to operate and make decisions based on limited information. Casual is a good show because it makes you think and do some honest analysis of the complicated relationships in your life.
Religion is one of those things that qualify as a touchy subject. It’s off limits if you’re talking to a group of strangers at a dinner party and not the best first-date conversation material. I remember hearing quotes about religion being the opiate of the people and how it’s a psychological crutch, etc. All the arguments, pros and cons aside, there’s always some inherent danger in allowing someone else to think for you. There are people out there that live and die by the words of their faith leader. There’s a dangerous dynamic that happens when an entire group of people trust one person to guide their lives. It almost sounds like the makings of a cult. While blind faith may be admirable to some, to others it’s an opportunity to take advantage of people in a vulnerable situation. Hope isn’t a hard thing to sell when it’s exactly what people need. Everyone wants to hear that they’ll rise to the next level and become healthier and happier. There’s value in genuinely believing that your life will turn around and that the next breakthrough is around the corner. But there’s also something to be said when these promises of a better life, financial stability, a spouse, and a nice car are tied to how much money you donate to the cause. When you’re inundated with promises of prosperity if you’ll give your last dime and demonstrate your loyalty, it’s time to consider the role religion is playing in your decisions.