It’s been a while. Nearly three months since my last post. I used to be very strict about missing my posting deadlines. There’s been a sense of freedom in not caring about that much anymore. And a sense of regret. Reading over my last post from May I sadly find myself in much the same situation. I feel as though I’ve been drifting and I don’t know where I’m going nor do I have much control over my direction. Though that’s probably not as true as it seems.
I’m finding myself letting go, or trying to, of things I’ve been holding on to for a long time. Ideas about myself, ideas about how I should be, ideas about the way the world should be. See, it’s really difficult to live in a situation that refuses to conform to the ideas you have about it. I think that’s at least part of where my feeling of lack of control comes from. Trying to change things that are not things able to be changed. One of the best ways to drive yourself crazy is to hold onto an untrue idea of the world and try to enforce that idea. Pushing on a mountain in order to move it is a fruitless task. But it’s something one could do every day of their life and feel like they were doing “something” while constantly being frustrated that they weren’t actually accomplishing anything. “Reject the basic assumptions of civilization” as Tyler Durden says. Though in this case it’s rejecting the basic assumptions of my own goals, values, and ideas. Reexamining what it is I want or think I want. Letting go of hang-ups that exist for no other reason than at one time they existed. Like a precariously balanced piece of stone supported by a razor thin remnant of its base, the remainder having been worn away by eons of erosion. So too are some of my own ideas.
Trying to assert what you want is difficult. Step one is actually figuring out what that is. In a lot of cases I’m still very unsure of that. Others I’ve got a much better idea. Step two is communicating that idea in an effective manner. Whether it’s actually telling someone what you want or acting in a way that is in accord with that desire. I’m not great at that. I’m not great at either actually. But when I do know what I want or want to say, I’m not good at telling those who need to hear it. And it’s cost me. I’ve got a lot of regrets about things I didn’t say, chances I didn’t take. Very few regrets about things I did say. Mostly it’s fear. Fear of rejection, being told no, or maybe even being told yes. Sometimes there are few things more frightening than actually getting what you want.
I’ve had a hard time finding people to emulate. We all compare ourselves to others in terms of success, wealth, notoriety, relationships, etc. But I think it’s important to be able to find people we identify with and respect to emulate in a healthy way. I feel like a bit of an outcast in that I don’t have anyone whose goals, ideas, and ideals align with mine in a way that it makes sense to look up to them for a sense of guidance. I’ve had conversations with friends in which they are trying to give me advice only to find out that they have no concept of what I’m thinking or my motivations because they see things entirely differently than I do. It’s like two people looking at a page of color samples trying to describe what they see when they’re each wearing different colored glasses. I need to find ideals and people who hold them that match my colored glasses. The problems is that the people who I would identify with who are successful on their own terms are not going to be famous. They aren’t going to be people that most people have ever heard of. Which is one of the ways in which the internet is helpful, although even there it’s a matter of sorting through a lot of dead ends. But finding people who have been able to make a living doing what they love doing and doing it in the best way they know how (not necessarily the most profitable or attention-grabbing manner) is what I am after.
Fear. I could write an entire post about that subject. And maybe I will one day. Fear has been the biggest thing holding me back lately. I’ve run away from good things lately because of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of hurting others, fear of hurting myself. As the biggest problem it’s also been the one I’ve had the least insight into dealing with. I don’t know how to overcome this one other than just doing the thing I’m afraid of in spite of the fear. But that brings up sub-fears of its own. Fear is a survival tool. One that evolved probably a hundred thousand years ago and is not particularly well suited to the world we find ourselves in today. But fear is still a valid warning, it’s just overdeveloped. It’s like the idea of the overly sensitive design of the smoke detector. Better to design it to be overly sensitive with the possibility of giving false alarms than making it not sensitive enough and not warn in the case of an actual fire. But this makes us overly fearful and stunts what we might otherwise be able to do. What I might otherwise be able to do without that fear. Ignore the warning and push forward at the risk of damage or heed it and stay huddled? Not an easy choice. But I’d like to try to push forward in more often.
Reexamine the basic assumptions
Assert needs and goals
Find and emulate like minds
Disregard fear and push forward
I feel like I should cross stitch these and hang them on the wall.