November 4, 2014 was a life changing day for me. It was election day 2014 and I had a bunch of things going on professionally. One of which was trying to position myself to get a job with one of our candidates in his district office. I debated whether or not to go to his district victory party. In the end I thought it would earn me some brownie points, I went! Being the efficient person that I am, I decided to arrange a few extra things while making the trip through Napa and Sonoma.
I had been communicating with a new guy from match.com for a while and thought it would be a good way to meet him for the first time. I had a timeframe to work with so I knew I had an escape if things didn’t go well. Things went well. In 6 short weeks I went from planning my next career move and looking for new piece of property to planning a family and a move to a another country. It’s crazy how quickly it has been happening but I have no hesitation!
Life is what happens when you sit around making plans. And it’s awesome!
I can’t say I watch much life changing television. I peruse a fair mix of trash TV (hoarders), educational programs, and a decent array of the things that everyone else is watching (Dr. Phil, Orange is the New Black, etc…). Of the later category I always watch weight loss shows, namely The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss for a little added inspiration to stay in shape. I’m pretty knowledgeable, for the layman, when it comes to fitness and losing weight. I’ve studied it a bit and have been my own guinea pig. I found myself profoundly inspired by a comment that Chris Powell made during the last show that I watched. He told the contestant during an insane workout that “the average person only lives up to 50% of their potential.”
This struck me for a number of reasons. One, and this is my own hang-up, it’s a totally arbitrary statement. You can never know what your full potential is. Even if you have achieved great success in any particular way – whose to say that isn’t actually only 50% of what you’re capable of? Two, once I got over myself, I realized that this is the beauty of it. It means that the sky’s the limit, right? Barring actual physical and/or mental handicaps (and I imagine even some of those can be overcome) there is really no end to what you can achieve.
I quickly tried to come up with ways to maximize my potential; I choose to believe I have plenty of it. Setting out to conquer my world is a large task so I started thinking about how I can take the first step. The first thing I did was turn of the damn TV. It was a step, albeit a baby one. It may seem silly that I would turn off my source of inspiration. I’m certainly not going to claim that I’ll never have a lazy night on the couch again. But, in all honesty, I have been “relaxing” a bit too often these days – not sure who I think I am.
Then, I took a page from my professional life. I created a to-do list for the next couple of days. Everything from workout times, chores, personal development, household projects, etc…the visual has helped me actually keep on track. I even cross things off as I finish them. It’s amazing how many more hours in a day there seems to be. My current to do list has been written through Sunday, I’m curious to see how I feel after this 4 day experiment. So far so good!
I hesitate to use the word deserve. The word is used in ways, at times, that makes me think entitlement. Because of that small bias of mine, I’m going to use the word earn, instead.
I’ve tried, over recent years, to focus my energy on becoming a person that I can be proud of. The type of person that when met or engaged, others can’t do anything but respect and treat with integrity. I’ve worked, I’ve dedicated, I’ve learned, I’ve explored and I’ve taken risks. I will continue to do so. I’m happy with me. I’m happy with who I am currently and the person I know I’m developing into. I think I’ve earned a few things that I haven’t yet received. I suppose I’ve been waiting for someone to hand me the treasurers (whatever they may be) that I’ve declared that I’ve “earned.” I’m an idiot.
The work to get the things you want should never stop. I should have figured by now that things will not be handed to me. I’ve been enlightened and it’s time to act. I’m ready to take on a bigger part of my world…
A friend of mine (retired at 30) told me the other day when asked “what are you up to these days” he answered, “just floating through life.” The answer baffled me. I told him “Never float – start kicking.” He laughed. I thought about it for a while, and I discovered that I’ve been floating too. I’m gliding through my life taking advantage of the opportunities that I’ve been given, never quite taking hold of my own destiny. I’ve always waited for the next thing instead of creating it for my self. I need to start practicing what I preach, so to speak. I need to start kicking my ass off.
I, like most people my age, went through various periods of my life where my priorities were askew and my morals questionable. I’m not talking criminal or institution worthy, but simply loose with the boundaries that I now consider a little less flexible. it’s those periods in my life that undoubtedly contributed to the person I’m now so proud to be. Perspective is everything!
“Fixers” are the true gluttons of misery. it goes back to the idea in the previous post that some of us search in vain for the neat and tidy reasons why people behave the way they do. If you can identify a problem, you can figure out how to solve it. It’s one of the things we’ve been taught throughout our lives. It’s a good lesson, the practice of which, more often than not, results in at least a sliver of progress. That said, it can be mighty harmful, most often to those with the best intentions. Fixers.
I create this post with a specific “fixer” in mind. My oldest sister, despite her seemingly above par self-standards, too often gives herself away to those unworthy. As we’ve gotten older and now, each in full-fledged adulthood, can consider ourselves contemporaries, I’ve come to recognize this sad truth. While she is a hard-working, single mother of two amazing daughters, my sister can not find her worth without being desperately needed by a man. The instinct of being homemaker has completely defeated what should be the strongest instinct of all, self-preservation. The level of self-sacrifice she is willing to endure (all without recognizing that she’s enduring it) is a level of literal selflessness that I could not even imagine. While this trait at times can be admirable, at others, is oh-so-very destructive.
Trying to fix that which cannot be fixed can drive you to many extremes. In my sister’s case, she is bewildered why the rest of us won’t join her mission to rehabilitate the aforementioned unworthy (anyone that knows the history, understands why I call this an extreme). It seems the more desperate the circumstance or outrageous the behavior, the more committed she is to seeing “the fix” through. This goes far beyond any sort of “blind faith” in another human being. It’s far more dangerous. She has absolute proof of the wrong they are capable of, yet still finds a reason to believe. It’s awe inspiring.
I wish there was a way to help. I wish there was a way convince. I understand too much the nature of my sister to try to persuade her to choose a different path. I recognize that it’s going to take something outside of any of my, or the rest of the family’s powers to make her see the critical situation that she is in. All we can do is hope for the best (which means hope that we’re wrong) and/or be there for when it all falls apart…as things often do.
I have this friend….who has made me realize that compared to some, I am really wise. (We all need at least one friend like that, don’t we?). I said something to him tonight in the heat of a conversation that inspired me to create this blog. He’s a guy that wants answers and explanations, rules and regulations, his life to be in black and white. “You need to Learn the Gray, my friend” is what I said to him. And it hit me…and here I am.
There are so many things in our lives that we need and rely on to be black and white. There’s a comfort in knowing that there will be no surprise when we turn a certain corner. That there will be an expected outcome to a common situation.
We as humans commonly make the mistake of trying to find that comfort in the wrong place. We refuse to believe, at our own detriment, that there is not a black and white answer. We look for the many boxes we have available to check or the many labels we’ve allowed ourselves to create to justify our behaviors and decisions and commonly look to those same boxes and labels for explanations for others’ behaviors and decisions.
I’m 34 years old. Ancient to some, a baby to others. Nonetheless, I’ve learned in the 34 years of my life that there is a lot of gray in this world. It’s a gray that comes from the fact (some would call it merely a notion) that there are limits to the things in this world that an individual can control. The difficulty lies in an individual’s idea of what those limits are. Hint: When you’re dealing with other people, good luck!
You bring to the table your life’s portfolio of circumstances and experiences. It’s what makes our lives unique. This blog will be a reflection of one person’s portfolio of circumstances and experiences, mostly derived from the circumstance and experience shared with others. You might laugh, you might cry, you might think I’m full of shit. Either way, read up…and tell your friends about it!