Many of you know that I have my bachelor’s degree in psychology. My original life plan was to get my master’s degree and become a therapist but obviously, that didn’t happen. I went into administrative work, started writing, built a house, and now here I am.
I’m still glad I got my undergraduate degree in psychology because frankly, that education is something I can apply to every area of my life. At some time or another, it’s helped me in every area of life and it continues to. But I don’t regret foregoing the higher education and the original life plan because frankly, I think I’d be ill suited to be a therapist. I thought it would be a great way to
help people, but if there’s one thing that the 16 years since college graduation taught me, it’s that people won’t change unless they are internally motivated to do so. That usually comes from one of two things: the threat of losing something they don’t want to live without, or a court order (and those are violated often (and frequently enough that I’m thinking about taking that off the list). Usually, when people break down and seek guidance for things, they either want a pill to fix them nice and quick, or an excuse to stay exactly the way they are and demand that the world accommodate them. As if that’s going to happen.
I know this sounds cynical, but people thought I was an idealist when I was younger. They should be happy to hear such an admission out of me. Few people would have the guts to go on an open forum like the Internet and say yep, you were right on
that one. The idealism isn’t 100% gone, though, because there are still some things that, to this day, blow up my brain. I just don’t get it, and no amount of talking is helping me to understand the logic behind some things such as:
1.People that “let it fly,” then complain about being lonely. I’m not saying to sugar coat everything because that’s fake and ridiculous, but every word that flies through your brain doesn’t need to fly out of your mouth either. The problem is; people don’t give a crap about what you think 99% of the time, and the other percent it’s only to get your agreement, money, support, or vote. Truth is fine but you have to deliver it with discernment. If you just say what you think, unedited, then people are going to avoid you because you come across as rude, and everybody responds better to respect than to criticism. Building and maintaining relationships means you have to at least act like you care, even if you don't care anymore about them and their problems than the extra 40 minutes in a Martian day.
2. Envy and jealousy. Folks, I’ve known people that have married, moved, bought high ticket items and ruined their finances because they simply couldn’t stand the fact that someone had something that they didn’t (or had something newer, bigger, or better than they had). Then they got depressed and angry when it didn’t work out for them. Usually, that failure came from not being willing or able to do the work that goes with having the prize. Then again, I remember hearing Joyce Meyer say once that if you put yourself in a place that the Lord doesn’t mean for you to be, then it’s up to you to keep yourself there. That’s tough, but there’s another reason I don’t understand this: if you have time to fixate on what other people have, then you aren’t investing enough into making your own life the best it can be. Sure, you should care about and support other people, but your primary focus should be on taking care of and growing the talents the Lord provided to you, not on what He gave to other people. Work with
what you’ve got and if He means for you to have it, He’ll bring it to you in the best timing – and give you what you need to keep you there.
3.People that are sure they’re better than everybody else. I like what C.S. Lewis said about “a good man knows he isn’t good because he can see his badness. A bad man thinks he’s great guy because he can’t see his badness.” Before you say “it’s not personal, it’s just business,” I’ll be bold enough to tell you that’s absolute crap. I’ve worked at different places and I can tell you from recent experience that people are not like that everywhere. There are good, honest people working hard to do what’s right and succeeding at it. I’ll go further and say that I’m fortunate enough to work with an entire group of them. Acting like you’re king or queen of the world isn’t commanding respect, it’s arrogant and makes you look like an insecure fool. Please, get over yourself before you sprain something sticking up your nose at people. There will always be people in authority over you. You gain more by working hard and being dependable than having attitude and playing games. Because folks, nobody wins all the time and if you play games, you'll eventually lose.
4.Know it alls. You know the type I mean. There’s always somebody around that has seen it all, heard it all, and done it all – and probably bigger, better and more recently than you did. I have to admit that these types are a paradox to me. The pompous attitude is infuriating, but they also amuse me greatly because through all that big talk I know that a jack of all trades is a master at none. I’d rather know a few things well then know nothing well at all, but I guess some people don’t feel the same way. Anyway, the Bible says that King Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived, so give it up. You aren’t him and nobody knows everything under the sun. It seems to me that people respect humility over knowledge any day. And nobody likes a know it all.
5.People that use the telephone as a surrogate brain. This was the #1 reason why we (and many others, I hear) gave up our land line. The amount of time wasted by dealing with unnecessary phone calls is ridiculous. There are people that feel like they need to make a telephone call every time they have a thought. There are other people that feel like they need to make a telephone call every time a question pops in their head. There are some that do both. And this is what makes the telephone the #1 most abused thing in human history. I hope that Alexander Graham Bell isn’t still in purgatory answering for why he created something that has incrementally decreased human intelligence over the years because I know he didn’t mean for it to come to this. But I take heart in knowing that the abuse of this tool is offset by the greatest things that have been invented since the telephone: Ignore buttons and “do not disturb” mode. If only every telephone were required to be equipped with these!
6.Basketball. I sent out tweets and posts on Facebook in the fall asking people “do you like basketball?” I don’t, but I was just wondering because the last people I heard admit to liking it were of my grandparents generation. The request was largely ignored, but the few responses I got were a resounding “no!” So why is it all about March Madness now? Hello? I thought people didn’t like basketball?
Hmm. Maybe I should have been a therapist because I could charge these people by the hour to explain themselves to me. As it is, all I can do is avoid them when I can and take notes to put them in my next novel when I can’t. But who knows? I have several books published and if I keep writing then this will all work out okay anyway.
As for the basketball thing, I don’t know. Maybe that’s something else to add to the list of crazy that I am. But at least I know it’s a strange thing about me. That’s the one thing about having a psychology degree. Other people think you’re always analyzing them, but the truth is that you spend more time analyzing yourself. And there’s no hiding from what you know is out of whack there!
I hope you enjoyed this silly musing on reality. Happy Friday to you. Take care and have a great weekend.
I think what I really need is to cut my life back to basics and take stock of what I have and how to best nurture the things most important to me.
Fall is naturally the busiest time of year for me, and coiencidentally it's when people want to "get together" the most too. Football season is usually the excuse for this - "let's get together to watch the game!" And I've been a social butterfly these past couple of months and participated in all sorts of gatherings, visits and get togethers.
But folks, this butterfly needs to retreat to her cocoon. No offence, but the Carolina's bye week didn't come soon enough for me this year. I need to sit out a few. The season is going on, but my "to do" list and my schedule don't get it. There are things I need to tend to around the house and with the technology committee at church. I know I said I was going to take a hiatus from my in-progress writing projects, but I really do want to get back to them with as few distractions as possible, and that means I need to put my nose to the grindstone and get things done now. And if you want me at my best during the busy holiday season, well, I need a break.
I mean no offence, of course. I just need some time to myself every now and then to catch up, rest up, take stock, and move on. I need to recharge my batteries and right now I'm running low. I've come to the conclusion that I must be an anomoly, because this seems to be a need that not many other people have. Other than my family, only Rick and one other person has admitted to needing time to themselves. It seems others actually clamor to fill those empty spaces in their lives to the point where there's no quiet, no hiatus, no opportunities to simply "be" and exist in communion with the Lord and the world. Doing, doing, doing. Well, I admire their energy and their tireless dedication to their social schedule, but I'm not afraid I can't operate like that. My life is very full right now and all the "blessings" keep me quite busy. It can be a challenge to find those moments and days with an empty spot on the calender. And they aren't usually give, so it looks like I'm going to have to take them.
I'm burned out. I need to clear off my plate to I can be true to my priorities and focus on what really matters - not on what the world says should matter.
So I'm starting today. I'm sitting out the USC-Florida game. I know, it's a big one and how could I. It's simple, really. The need for quiet in my soul outweighs "the big game." As I said, I need some time to catch up on some stuff around the house and with church so I'll be free to resume work on Move next month when I end my writing hiatus, and what better time than by focusing on that while the rest of the world (around here) is tuned into the big game. Plus, I still have Feathered Frenzy to finish, and I already have an idea for my next writing project which is a novella I hope to start in 2013. And promotion work on my already published works never ends. So there's lots to do there and I really need to get focused and get back to work on my writing soon, and taking care of the other things on my plate will really help with that.
I know life won't always be like this. I'm quitting volunteer activities in 2013, so I won't have to make decisions based on things like this soon. That was another decision I made this week. I need fewer meetings in my life and the truth is that I need to focus my time away from work on home, family and writing and that doesn't leave time for much else. I wanted to be more involved at church, and I will certainly continue to be a greeter and help with activities as I can, but I can't be bound to a committee anymore. It just doesn't work in my busy life.
As for the rest - well, eventually I'll retire from work, so that won't always be eating up most of my weekdays, but that's far away as I'm not even at the halfway point of my career. Frankly, I do have concerns about being bored if I didn't work, but those aren't concerns I need to ponder now or any time soon. Until then, it's the immovable object in my life and I have to work around it. Those aggrivations and annoyances aren't going to stop and I have to march on and do what must be done because it's my responsibilty and financial support, now and in the future. That's a reality for most people and it's something that should be easy to understand and respect.
Yes, life is busy, and sometimes it won't give you what you need so you have to take it. That's what I'm going to to today. Because if I don't take care of myself and my needs, then I'm not much good to anybody else, now am I?
That's all today. I hope you have a great weekend.
Rick told me today that he misses going to football games sometimes. We used to go to the University of South Carolina football games "back in the day," but quit years ago. It got too cost prohibitive, the tickets were too hard to get (and too expensive when you could get them) and frankly, we don't care for crowds any more. We decided years ago that it was much more pleasant to watch the games on TV from the comfort of our home, where we can sit in comfort and simply turn off the TV when the game is over without battling crowds and traffic getting out of there. But still, that twinge of missing it hits from time to time.
Such is the nature of life, I suppose. I once read that you can have it all, but you can't have it all at the same time. I believe this is true. Things come and go out of life everyday. Change is the name of the game, and while it usually leads to progress you sometimes lose things dear to you. And sometimes, you don't realize how much you appreciate those things until they're gone.
One good example in my life is the job transfer I went through a couple of years ago. Things are much better, and I'll be the first to say that I (and my programs) are better off where we're at. This was definitely progress, and my learning and growth through that process was so exponential that it was unbelievable. Not only has my job grown and progressed, but I took what I learned to my writing and it helped me get established and moving in the area of getting published as well. It was a lot of hard work, but I can't even begin to count the blessings that came out of that move. My commute is shorter, I'm happier, and I've met a lot of great people and made new friends. But still, there are days when I miss things from the old job. Conversations with old friends, and the walks on the grounds during lunch breaks. The subs in the canteen on Tuesdays and Fridays that I still haven't been able to find anything close to. How easy it was to run by Zesto (a favorite chicken and burger place) on the way home from work on Fridays. A bigger cubical (or having my own office, if I care to go WAY back to the building we were in before that one!). It seems it's the little things that get to me. Oh, it's been 2 years and it doesn't happen as often as it used to, but that wistfulness for those little things still happen from time to time.
I could go on about dozens of other things that have gone by: Family members and friends that have passed on or moved on, stores and resturants that have closed, exciting times and seasons that came and went, the great schedule I had my senior year in college, working part-time, hobbies and activities I used to enjoy that are no longer available or that I gave up due to life constraints. I think the point is that the changing nature of life means that nothing last forever. It's natural for things to pass out of our lives and to miss them from time to time. Letting go is one of those hard life lessons that we all must face.
And I'm not sure why, but it seems that the change from summer to fall is when missing those little things gets to me. I guess it's that approach of the final months of the year that makes you notice the passage of time and take stock of what was, what is, and what might come.
Yes, I understand what Rick means when he says he misses going to football games. It happens to us all. I have those days when I say "wow, I'm so happy with life, but it's a shame that this person or that place isn't still around." It's ok to miss those things, as long as we give thanks that they were here for a season to enrich our lives and remember to be greatful for the blessings we have right now.
That's all today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Ok folks, the holidays are over and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off an outstanding win over Nebraska yesterday. Today was back to reality. Hmm. Can we skip the rest of winter now and go straight to spring?
Didn't think so. Crap.
This is when winter starts to hurt. The excitement of the holidays are over and it's time to get back in our routine that has us out at sunrise and coming back at sunset as we muddle through the cold days of winter. Everything seems bare, dead, and cold. Yes, it's depressing. The trees and decorations are down. No goodies lie around the office to munch on anymore. No more presents will be given or received. And there were no Christmas lights to welcome me home.
Truth is, though, it's not all dead - it's merely resting to put forth that burst of energy that brings vibrancy and life during the other three seasons of the year. The trees and grass are dormant, not dead. Just as I needed the past 11 days off work to keep from getting burned out, so too does nature need to rest in order to bring us life and bounty through the rest of the year.
Truth be told, the season isn't without merit. I usually do my most (and best) writing in the winter. In fact, I wrote the rough drafts of Blurry and Anywhere But Here in January and February, and did major work on Splinter during that same time frame last year. My productivity with my writing seems to be at it's highest during the winter. I guess that makes sense. If everything is dull routine, then that means fewer distractions to pull me away from my computer. A resting world gives my muse time and energy to come alive. And I hope that pattern resumes this winter - considering that I haven't written anything new since November and am itching to create more new work in the new year! (All of the work on my writing has been in the area of publicity and promotion - good, but I miss creating new work too!)
Winter is a good time to catch up on indoor activities that seem to move to the back burner during the busy summer and holiday seasons. It's a great time to read, for example, or take up an art or craft. I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I used to stitch a good bit in the winter when I wasn't working on novels. Cold days are also good fo DVD marathons of your favorite movie series or TV shows or playing games. I noticed yesterday when I went out that most stores are having some of their best sales of the season, so there are deals to be had on winter clothes. Treadmills and gyms make it possible to exercise indoors to keep you active. And, of course, the Internet is an endless source of information and entertainment to keep you occupied, from joining online groups that focus on an interest or hobby, finding new recipes to try cooking this weekend, or looking up entertainment in books, music, etc from independent artists.
Hmm. Suddenly winter doesn't seem so glum. In fact, it sounds like I could find plenty to do that will make the next two months pass painlessly.
Here's hoping your new year is off to a great start. Take care and I'll see you next time.