Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lines Blur

It's been a very strange past couple of weeks, where unexpected things have come into my life and made me reflect more than usual, if that's even possible.  In addition to this, I found myself in such a whirlwind of anger, indignation and fury last night that I have no choice but to purge my lingering thoughts  by….. you guessed it.  That's why I'm here.

Fact: I sometimes don't realize how disconnected I am from pop culture and the world at large until it's thrown right into my face.  Until very recently, I had no idea what YOLO meant.  I mean, it looks really stupid, so while I'm sure I've seen/heard it, it just didn't register.   Once it was explained to me, I was perturbed.  Basically, Carpe Diem wouldn't suffice, so it had to be re-packaged in idiot form.  Great.  I weep for the future and am incredibly glad that I wasn't born later than I was.  But I digress.

I'm not keen on anything that resembles inspirational memes.  They make me feel ill and I only usually share memes that are just offensive or snarky, cause that's just what I do.  This one, however,  is just too true.  While I embraced this idea some time ago, I didn't fully want to examine how much something (and I'm not sure what) was holding me back from keeping this in the forefront of my mind when making decisions about what path I should take once realizing that you ALWAYS have a choice.   Perhaps it's been the mindset that I'm a mother and everything I desire should take a back seat to what I must do for my children, in addition to everyone else I feel a responsibility to.  Maybe it was fear of the unknown.  I'm really good at analyzing myself (make no mistake, I analyze you, too), so I have multiple theories, but none of them made sense enough to dismiss the fact that I was doing myself a great disservice.   If I were to drop dead of a blood clot or shot in the eye tomorrow, I probably would be very disappointed about the things I didn't do.  I already carry around too many regrets.  It would be incredibly foolish to continue to knowingly add to the pile of them.  

If only it were that simple.  People like to pretend that it is, but that's just not the case.  There are grey areas and no one has all the answers.  I am fiercely loyal to my people.  Am I the only one that finds that the lines between chosen loyalty, reluctant obligation and stupid self imposed martyrdom blur to ridiculous levels?  If I am, then I've no problem admitting it.  But I'd wager that I'm not alone in this.  I'm betting that there are lots of folks that are in the same boat, whether they want to admit it or not.  I know it's not popular amongst many of my circles to proclaim anything other than total understanding of everything, but that's delusional and I refuse to play along with that.  (For those of you that didn't realize, no one of reasonable intelligence believes you anyway. So there's that.)

When you are an 'all or nothing' sort of person (my face should be plastered under the definition),  trying to draw reasonable, healthy and balanced lines in the sand can get tricky.  I am intense and extreme.  I either love or hate.  I do or I don't.  I embrace you or you don't exist.  It's tiresome to be me on occasion, but I wouldn't trade places with anyone because while I can frustrate myself, I accept myself fully.  Acceptance, however, is not to be confused with stupidity.  Because I accept my nature, it's my responsibility to make sure that my extremes don't produce snap decisions that could land me and mine in ugly waters.  Been there,  I'm too old to swim with the proverbial sharks born of rash and impulsive moves.   

The result can be a holding pattern, circling while trying to sort out life's messy details by carefully considering all options and choosing the path best for yourself.  As necessary as I now see this phase, I truly recognize that it can be deathly to stay in it longer than intended…. it's not meant to be permanent.  It causes more harm than good and can become a crutch for fear of change or indecision.   So allow yourself time to think, but don't get stuck.  That's what I keep repeating to myself.  Judgement is rampant from all ends.   I don't care if those looking in from the outside don't understand me, it only makes me hold on tighter to those that effortlessly get it.  

Life is so short.  I don't know anyone that isn't looking to be happy.  Sometimes we go about it in questionable ways and hurt others.  Sometimes we sacrifice what we truly want and hurt only ourselves.  Neither is ideal, but no one said living was easy and at the end of the day, someone is always going to end up with the sort end of the stick… I'm now sure that I don't care for it to be me any longer.  I hate that this statement is so easily and oftentimes construed as ugly.  It doesn't always have to be about screwing someone else over or letting them down, it can just be about choosing what is right for yourself.  Selfishness is seen as such a bad thing, but a complete lack of it is inauthentic.  Self interest is necessary for survival in this world.  A fact doesn't have to be comfortable for it to be true… but it seems like the world at large needs a bad guy, and I'm done concerning myself with if I'm unfairly cast in the role.  

I'm just doing the best that I can, and for today, that's enough for me.  No matter what happens, I am certain that by this time next year I'll be smarter than I am today.  Being happier than today would be a good plus, too.   For someone that can be construed as too pragmatic and sometimes callous, as of yet I have not lost the ability to hope for a blissfully happy ending and imagine all of my dreams coming true.  That's something.  It's probably everything.  


  1. You know, even though we don't talk nearly as much as we probably should, I still feel so oddly connected to you. Many of your thoughts resonate with me, not merely in the sense that we think alike, but that we seem to have similar experiences and reactions to life at similar times.

    I think that, for those like us who have myriad interests and an intense capacity for pursuing those interests with passion and vigor, perhaps it takes longer to hone in on a particular "end game" strategy. For me, I'm just now legitimately learning what makes me truly happy, and what course I ultimately want to take in life. As I've bounced around from pursuit to pursuit, I've encountered varying reactions from others, ranging from skepticism to frustration. People have difficulty relating to a tendency to obsess over something one moment, then abandon it entirely the next. To me, such behavior is a form of rolling with change, and each passionate hour of study or activity was a stepping-stone that has formed my life's path. We learn through experience, and some of us demand more experience from the world than others.

    Your sense of where you are now -- the confidence I read in your writing, the wisdom that comes from genuine experience and the recognition of your life's passion -- seems to be coalescing into something truly magnificent. I'm just now starting to understand where you are at, as I begin to experience those things for myself.
    Thanks for sharing your insights, they are always rewarding to read!

    1. You're right, we don't talk as much as we should, but make no mistake… we are still very connected and I dare way we'll always be. At the risk of sounding rather silly, I've always considered you a true kindred spirit. A younger, male, more intelligent and more focused version of me. Some would consider that a real slap in the face, but I think you know how I mean it.

      You nailed it with the stepping stone comment. Yes, an 'end game' strategy surely must be considered, but making it too much of a focus takes everything enjoyable out of the ride, doesn't it? While I've veered on the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm careful to keep in mind that the other extreme is no better. Relax, throw your hands up…. it's the experiences that take us through life that matter, not the exact state we're in when we kick the bucket.

      People's frustration with me has often stemmed from my insatiable restlessness and a burning desire for MORE. We're all trying to beat a clock. Some of us just think it's more important than others. At the end of the day, people like you and I want it all and plan on getting as much as we can. There is nothing wrong with that.

      I'm always happy to read your insights. Miss you much.

  2. Re: "Am I the only one that finds that the lines between chosen loyalty, reluctant obligation and stupid self imposed martyrdom blur to ridiculous levels?"

    I don't know if this will make any sense to you, but for what it's worth: I can think of situations in my life where these weren't so much three different categories as they were part of a cycle. I've had friendships, a relationships, and even past religions for example where there'd be a point of loyalty, but things would change. Eventually I found myself sticking whatever or whoever it was out of guilty feelings of obligation. And the self-imposed martyrdom showed up at some point in the story too, I'm sure.

    1. Thank you, Bill. It makes all the sense and I've had the exact same cycle. When I actually think about it, I don't think I'm wired to be able to feel obligation or sacrifice for someone unless I first felt inclined to give my loyalty. It just has seemed to morph into something different due to change in circumstance or dynamics in a relationship.

      Spot on.