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.
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.
I sometimes conceptualize relationships as a living breathing organism that needs attention and care. In the beginning of a relationship, you have to start somewhat carefully and nurture it. You have to spend time with the other person and while some relationships may be easy, a strong one requires you to be deliberate. It doesn’t happen overnight. You solve misunderstandings and constantly assess what’s needed in order to make it stronger. You invest copious amounts of time and energy in the hope that it will be reciprocated and that you will get the results you desire. Sometimes this involves fighting for the relationship and defending it. Prioritizing it when it’s not always convenient and making amends when there is a conflict. This means that a relationship can be like an actual project. Recently I’ve been evaluating my friendships and relationships with others. I’ve realized that there are times that you have to literally step away from a friendship or relationship for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the reason is that after you’ve put in time, invested energy and resources and nurtured it, you have to see if it can survive on its own. This sometimes happens with distance. But it can also be a deliberate choice to test the strength of the relationship to see if it can last without being nurtured all the time. The truth is that sometimes the only way to know if you’ve done good work is to step away and see if it can stand alone without assistance. Many times this process isn’t easy but in the end it’s worth it because you know where you stand and you can decide if the relationship is actually worth your continued time and energy.
This week I’ve taken a break from two of the most popular social media sites. It’s not been super easy but good in the long run to gather my thoughts together. I’ve never fully understood the point of posting about every single mundane detail that happens in your life. But I admit that it’s interesting to browse and see what’s going on. The thing about social media is that it can have you convinced that you are close to someone when you’re not. Liking their activity or commenting does not mean they are obligated to let you in their real life lives. Social media allows you to be whoever you want to be. You can create an image or a perception of a person that is the complete opposite of your personality. There’s also sometimes even a false perception on anonymity,so in contrast, other individuals might be more honest on social media than they ever are in person. The fact that is ignored by millions is the fact that time spent on social media sites you don’t get back. There are people who make money but the vast majority isn’t paid to do anything on social media. It’s like a black hole of time that you’ll never get back–or even compensated for. I’m not debating the rightness or wrongness excessive social media time but the truth is that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
I really hate lectures. Being homeschooled forced me to cultivate a very active imagination. As a result, I find it extremely easy to zone out when I’m bored. Daydreaming comes very easily to me and can be a welcome distraction from a monotone voice droning on about things I don’t care about or already know. I really dislike when a short attention span is blamed on the current generation or the fact that we are used to instant gratification. The fact of a matter is that if you’re a boring speaker, it doesn’t matter if I’m 80 or 8. I’m still going to be bored. In the world that we live in, there really no excuse for having a dry and boring lecture with the purpose of communicating some important information. We have been blessed with the privilege of visual aids that can help us get our point across without boring people to death. The problem with lectures is that you often feel as if you are being talked down to. While this is something that is somewhat expected in an educational setting, I can’t stand it in peer to peer settings. While I am someone who doesn’t believe in flaunting my education and my accomplishments, I also feel that I didn’t spend $100,000 for some letters behind my name to listen to someone who is talking down to me and is also boring at the same time. It’s pointless. Along with this category are people who have been put in a position of power who didn’t earn it and then now feel that they are entitled to share their opinion as if it were fact and that their age, class, socioeconomic position, or gender makes it (their opinion) valid. Dry lectures have to be one of the biggest wastes of time and energy ever. That being said, the ability to convey information and communicate clearly is a gift. A gift that I appreciate. Especially after being stuck in a dry, boring, and lifeless lecture.
So today I started a new job. Not a hustle or on a “as needed” basis, but a real job. It’s something that I’ve (halfway) actively pursuing since early last year. While I’m excited about new opportunities, I’m also hesitant. I love flexibility but it’s time to have something resembling security with health insurance and a 401K. I’ve met so many people who settle for a “regular” job, they put in their hours, go home, raise a family, take a vacation once a year, retire, and die. Not a bad plan, but definitely not for me. This job is not where I want to be for the rest of my life. It’s a means to an end. And if I have to sacrifice by waking up early EVERY morning in order to get stuff done and to meet my goals, so be it. I’m not a morning person but I’ll be one because what I want to be as a professional is bigger than pushing the snooze button on my alarm clock. There’s a saying that says one has to be willing to do what others won’t do in order to get what others won’t get. In my case, getting a regular job is doing what others are doing. However, my special twist is that I’m also pairing it with three additional jobs and an increasingly challenging doctoral program. With the end goal of being in a very very good professional place by the time I’m 25. The biggest challenge will definitely be balance and making sure that I don’t get in my own way. I’ve made some hard choices and there are plenty more to come. But, as I tell my clients, settling feels good for the moment but you never get any lasting results. Being deliberate and planning takes time, effort, and sacrifice but it sure beats waking up one morning and realizing that you’ve wasted your life. At least in my opinion.
One thing that I’m working on this year is becoming more organized. I function in a state of organized chaos. I say chaos because looking in from the outside, one would never guess that the mess is organized. As someone who enjoys being busy, I am often involved in numerous small projects at once. Being in school adds another additional level of responsibilities as my classes are getting harder and it takes more time to actually complete assignments. While I’m perfectly content “B”-ing my way through the program, I want to start to apply myself more. BUT lately I’ve been doing better at managing time. It’s always nice to know that I’m being somewhat productive and working my way towards some goals that I have. There’s a lot that needs to happen this year according to my five year plan. One of the things that I like when I’m working with clients is when they have a plan as to what they want to do. I also like hanging out with people who know what they want out of life. Someone once said that we are the average of the top five people we spend the most time with. One of the things that I’m studying is how we are influenced by other people. All that being said, it’s good to hang out with organized and ambitious people because characteristics like that tend to rub off. Definitely the plan for this year. Carpe diem!
I saw this picture posted on Instagram and I thought that it was an excellent concept. It’s so easy to keep track of the mistakes of other people instead of working to address your own. This is especially true if you’re surrounded by incompetent and inattentive people. I try to remember that most people are doing the best that they can and don’t know any better. In my experience, it helps to stay busy because the more productive I am, the less time I use thinking about what someone else is doing because my focus is no longer on them. I think that if you start doing what needs to be done to improve your life, you also won’t spend as much time comparing yourself with other people in order to feel better. We’ve all done that in some way. Focus on what needs to be done in your life and you’ll have less time to focus on what other people need to do.
One of the things that I’m realizing about myself more lately is the fact that one of my pet peeves are people that waste my time. This is done by either a lack of communication or a general disregard to the fact that I have other responsibilities and things to do. I absolutely hate wasting time because it is something that I can never get back. Every individual has the same 24 hours in a day and our success largely depends on how we spend our time. For me personally, I like the equation of time=money because I think that on some levels it does. And maybe I think that way because I’m in a profession where I charge people for my time. I’m not time management expert but I do believe in maximizing opportunities and staying productive. Refusing to respect my time is an indication that my time isn’t valuable enough to command the common decency of actually sticking to the previously outlined time guidelines. Perhaps this is why I get so annoyed and perturbed over lack of respect for my time. Firm boundaries are definitely essential.
All of us at some point in time have either experienced personally or heard stories of unrequited love. There are dozens of movies where the main characters never actually get together and we are all somewhat let down by this turn in the script. It’s easy to feel that if you love someone they’ll love you back. However, reality often paints a totally different picture. I remember hearing someone tell me that if two people meet and they click, the relationship is automatically dysfunctional because all humans are naturally attracted to dysfunction. I tend to disagree to some extent with that perspective because I think that healthy, well-adjusted, and emotionally intelligent people can have really successful relationships without some of the usual dysfunction. No one wants to be in love alone. It sucks. However, one characteristic of emotional maturity in my opinion is that you can recognize when something is a lost cause. Not because you’re admitting failure, but because you’re accepting the reality of the situation. When you’ve done all you can to show interest in a person and let them know that there is an interest, there’s no need to beat yourself up if they don’t return that interest in you. We can’t make people like us or even make them love us. Continuing to push your love and affection on someone who doesn’t want it is a COMPLETE waste of time. If they wanted you or were in a place emotionally where they could accept and return affection, they would. But to do the same thing over and over again, hoping that the other individual will change and miraculously like you back is pretty much the definition of insanity. Time is money and it is a waste of emotional energy to continue emotionally giving while hoping for a different result than you’ve got.