Unsplash/ John Schnobrich1. You got your hopes up. This almost lover of yours seemed like a dreamboat at one point — they were kind, thoughtful, adorable, and funny. You couldn’t help but hope they’d stick around and stay in your life for a long time. Inevitable devastation set in when your hopes were smashed. 2.…
Each and every one of these 14 things is accurate. As a therapist, I frequently process the breakups of romantic relationships with my clients and we discuss some of the feelings that come along with a dissolution of a relationship–or an almost relationship. The culture that we live in seems to be nonchalant and you aren’t ever supposed to act like you’re hurt or show vulnerability so that you don’t appear “needy” to the other person. The end of an almost relationship can hurt as much as a real one because you’re also mourning the loss of possibilities. It can be a really uncomfortable time. As someone who has had this experience countless times, I can say that it doesn’t get easier but time helps in moving past it and achieving some closure.
As I do every year, I’m preparing to do a purge of my contacts and delete the hundreds of random messages I don’t have any use for. My strategy is that if a number isn’t saved the message is deleted. Not too long ago I had an interesting exchange with a young man who happened to have one of the numbers in my phone that were never saved. He indicated that he wanted to meet me in person and said he was interested in me. Mind you, he popped up every few weeks or so and texted me regular small talk stuff. Nothing substancial or notable enough for me to save his number because it was obvious he only texted me when I got bored. Then he asked for a picture. Side note, what is it with guys always asking for a picture? You haven’t done anything to deserve a favorable answer to your inquiry and I don’t acquiesce to random demands from strangers. Needless to say, the answer is almost always no. But I digress. I ended up telling him what needed to happen in order for me to take him seriously and I may have also mentioned that I didn’t know his name and that his number had never been saved because he never earned that right. My point is that sometimes you have to clear your life of people who are just taking up space. They don’t have a vested interest in your success and don’t care about who you are as a person. Clearing can also involve deleting messages and contacts because you don’t have the time to entertain nonsense. It’s a necessary part of moving forward because you’re making room for something better.
When I was a little kid, the time of day that I absolutely hated was nap time. It was between the hours of 11 and 12noon. I quickly realized that nap time was more for my mother’s benefit than anything else because she was trying to get us all on a schedule and she was the primary caregiver for 4 kids under the age of 6 with the youngest being a newborn. I remember complaining bitterly about why I should be allowed to stay up to no avail. I was admonished time after time that one day I would wish I could take a nap but wouldn’t be able to. I adamantly insisted that would never be my story. Naps were for people who didn’t have a good book to read or were tired all the time and I had no use for them. Fast forward a few years later to the rigors of high school–the homeschooled version. I quickly discovered the power of a quick nap due to being a night owl. Also, it was a break from the self paced work which was mind numbingly boring most of the time. The practice of afternoon naps continued through college where I took ten minute power naps in between classes. This was especially helpful to my sanity the year I took 19 credit hours, worked two jobs, and went to bed at 2am or later 5 nights per week. Fast forward to last year where I was working in a job from hell. Well, not LITERALLY hell but pretty close to what I would imagine it to be with traditional work hours. While it was meaningful and in my field I missed having flexibility. A typical job where you worked 8 hours straight without a lunch break was not my cup of tea. I didn’t have the luxury of afternoon naps and I missed it. I’ve come to have a very healthy appreciation for naps due to my newfound inability to sleep more than five hours at a time. There’s nothing like the mental clarity that occurs after you’ve gotten a quick moment to sleep and recharge. I admit I think that people would be a lot happier if they were allowed to take a quick nap during the workday. We already know that most people don’t get nearly the amount of sleep that’s typically recommended. How nice would it be to have a mandatory nap time built into the work day? I for one would be all for it.
I ran across this article recently and the title of it caught my attention. The main assertion is that you deserve to be poor if you have reached the age of 35 still being poor. In a world where there are so many inequalities and everyone does not have the same opportunities, I think that such proclamations have to be taken with a grain of salt. However, the fact remains that we all have the opportunity of time. The 24 hours a day that we spend doing our daily habits is no different than the 24 hours that a billionaire is afforded. It’s all in how you spend it. My favorite sentence of the article: “You’re poor because you have no ambition.” This doesn’t necessarily always mean education in the traditional sense. We judge people who drop out of school without recognizing that school isn’t something that’s necessary to succeed. The fact of the matter is that by age 35 a lot of people have become set in their own ways. Their childhood dreams have given way to the harsh reality of adulthood and they are in the middle of making payments on their car, their house, and their student loans. A lot are married and/or raising children and just trying to survive. This makes it hard to think about retirement and all the places they’ve always resolved to travel but haven’t yet. I heard someone say that it’s a sin to die poor and while I don’t agree, I think that dying poor is something that many people would never choose to do. We have to remember the bigger picture while living day to day. It’s essential. Don’t let your dreams collect dust.
This past week has been interesting as I laid to rest a 6 year dream of mine. As someone who often plans years in advance, it was a disappointment that the hundreds of choices I made that were in line with this dream were all for naught. I knew it was coming and I knew that it would be uncomfortable but I misjudged the level of non comfort I would feel. Dreams can be one of the things in our lives that inspire us to hope. It’s interesting how I was so convinced at one point that I would have my dream fulfilled but as time passed, I saw it escaping my grasp until it was gone completely. And there was nothing I could do about it. I think that we’ve all been in places where things have happened out of our control that we can’t fix. The crushing of a dream requires an evaluation of one’s life and goals. You think in a different way because your thoughts are no longer filtered through the lens of your dream. The finality of that fact might be both a blessing and a curse because it requires an adjustment of thought. However, we have to acknowledge the change in our lives and in some situations fill the gap of the dead dream with another dream that we can pursue. We can take the “L” and move on with the knowledge that we learned something worthwhile from the experience despite the discomfort at the end.
One thing that I really like about therapy is that you have the opportunity to hold the hope in the room. What I mean by that is that I have the opportunity to be a source of hope for a couple or family that has lost theirs. Hopes and dreams are very related to each in that both are intangible. They both deal with the future and looking away from the current situation. Being a dream or hope holder means that you can be optimistic for the person in a hard situation. I’ve noticed both with myself and with other colleagues that sometimes it’s easier holding someone else’s hope as opposed to getting or keeping your own. How many of us kill our hopes and dreams for a myriad of reasons? Instead of not tending to them and letting then die on their own accord, we aggressively mentally hack our hopes and dreams to pieces. It’s almost as if we don’t want to give ourselves the option of succeeding. Yet there’s something in us that wants to hope against hope. However we ignore this and continue to sabotage our hopes and dreams. The problem with doing is that sometimes there is a reason we have certain hopes and dreams. Killing them uses up energy that could be put to better use. Humans are adaptable and resilient and deep down inside most people want to know that they matter in some way and that their dreams are reachable. Maybe making the decision to not sabotage your hopes and dreams because of outside factors is the beginning of something big.
It’s interesting how the start of a new year can have you re-evaluating your life. As I’ve seen the hundreds of posts people have done about doing something different, I’m struck with the realization that planning and implementing are two different things. One thing that I’ve had a chance to do this week is touch base with some of my homies. These are all people who have ambition and plans for the future. Whenever I talk to them we always end up trading ideas and discussing life goals. Conversations like this are motivating to me. I’m realizing that while I need consistency, I also need to have access to people I can brainstorm with. But I also have to make some decisions regarding who I spend my time with and what I do with my time. I heard a story this week about a man who created a watch with a countdown to when you will be expected to die. The whole premise is that people will be more motivated if they know their time is limited. I know that in order to be successful I have to make hard decisions and prioritize. I’m not chasing happiness because I know that it’s fleeting. But I do want to make a difference and be useful. I’ve been blessed to have opportunities that others have never had and I feel that it’s my responsibility to make the best of them. No, success doesn’t come easy but then again, most things that are worthwhile don’t. And my goal this year is to simply be consistent and grow my professional career. Because I just wanna be, I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful…