Let’s do the Time Warp (but actually LEARN something this time)

I spent hours and days making my Plan of Attack to clean and throw crap away that I don’t need. Now that dad’s home, that’s slowed to a trickle because I want him to get his rest. But my office–I think I’ll have to re-read Dante’s Inferno to figure out what level of Hell it belongs in.

Nah, man, hang out & watch the pit. I’m just gonna get some water, I promise…

I think Virgil would’ve tripped him and gone running back up to Earth, blubbering incoherently.

My office is a time capsule that threw up and requires a grenade and a backhoe to clean up–or lots of totes and recycle bins, if we decide to go all practical. Most everything I saved “just in case” is in here, and has taken over so completely I don’t even know where to start.

But I did find some good things while rummaging around, things I should’ve paid more attention to about 10 years ago.

Back then, I’d been invited into the National Society of leadership and Success (and paid the fee to get in for the hell of it). I learned a lot during that time, but got more into the particulars of membership and became a volunteering junkie. I couldn’t believe how active I was in school events and organizing and whatnot.

As far as personal enrichment and self-reflection go, I let them slip by the wayside very quickly. I think that’s what I should’ve focused on the most.

I bring it up because I had binders full of things in one of my cabinets that I hadn’t thumbed through in the longest time. One of them had the lectures and lessons I’d sat through and wrote tons of notes about (I always write tons of notes–you never know what you can get out of them).

In the interest of saving space, what I want to keep and doesn’t need to be portable is going into my file cabinet…once THAT gets cleaned out, too. I found a lot of those notes and started to read them while waiting for my computer to finish checking itself.

I learned how much I didn’t learn in the past 10 years. I see what needs to happen, but it doesn’t get absorbed. It’s information that kinda goes right through my head and out into the Ether, out to haunt me like a credit card bill with interest.

It’s more than a little dispiriting to see what I thought then compared to now, how far I figured I would come. But I got stuck–focused on external things so that I wouldn’t depress myself on the internal. I thought if I actively worked to make things better for other people, worked in groups to make things happen, that other things would fall into place.

Don’t get me wrong, those experiences let me be social and learn what it’s like to be around others (and how much I could handle, which was plenty if we were actively working together on a goal, but even then, I did many things alone). Sometimes, though, I didn’t know my limits and would burn out on being helpful, but others were there to help. I just wish I’d learned how to volunteer and be a cooperative worker so much sooner.

Even so, I can see how much of it was a distraction. If I kept busy enough and put on a smile and helped people–even if that’s what I wanted to do–it served to keep me distracted from myself. We had our own goals we were supposed to accomplish, our own health, struggles, strengths and weaknesses were to be examined and worked on.

I was successful for a couple semesters, but somehow didn’t keep up with it. I just kept distracting myself with work, filling the time and thinking that was all I needed.

Ah, the great philosopher Scott Adams has spoken.

The pages I filled out nearly 10 years ago are staring me in the face, and it’s scary how much hasn’t quite changed. I will admit some things have, though they took longer than I thought.

In our training orientation at NSLS, before we broke up into groups, we had to figure out what we really thought about ourselves and what we believed. I haven’t seen these words in so long, but there’s an interesting quote that someone found for the program, talking about beliefs:

“Your beliefs are never neutral. They either move you forward or hold you back. And YOU get to choose what you believe.”–Marcia Wieder

I think that makes a lot of sense. I’m gonna have to write that one down on a post-it note and do some reflection.

Anyhoo, We were thinking about what we believe vs. what we want to believe. Many of these things I still need to work on:

My Self-Confidence:

  1. When it comes to my self-confidence, I believe my limited real world practicality hurts and I’m afraid to take risks or try because I don’t know what I’m doing or I’ll fail.
  2. I want to believe that I can get out more into the real world and not be afraid of messing up or meeting new people and babbling nervously all the time.

Like I said–still working on that after all this time.

My Future:

  1. When it comes to my future, I believe I have many ideas and goals, but have no clue how to attain them.
  2. I want to believe that I can do new and extraordinary things and allow myself to live my own life and keep an open mind.

If I can take a jackhammer to these cement shoes of mine, and stop comparing myself to other people my age that seem to have it so much better, I’ll have a chance to finally discover what makes me who I am and why I’m okay.

My Family:

  1. When it comes to my family, I believe that I have no clue what they expect of me and what I can or will do when I’m on my own.
  2. I want to believe that they will be supportive of decisions I make when they come.

Since I still don’t live on my own–dammit–and it doesn’t look like I will be in the foreseeable future, that’ll take some time. I realize what I wrote is vague, but even now, I can’t think of what they really want for me or expect out of me. I think they’re just glad I’m boring and never tried to give them heart attacks.

My Finances:

  1. When it comes to my finances, I believe my ambitions far outstrip my income and it makes planning and real world exposure difficult.
  2. I want to believe that I will have steady paychecks and make smart decisions with my budget.

Can I say “epic fail” on that one? When I realized the goal I was working toward wouldn’t materialize and I lost patience, I also lost my edge. And when I finally got my steady paycheck I ended up in worse debt because I spent more thinking I could catch up quicker. Now I’m super-restrictive, but I’m pissed it took me nearly a decade to get to this “buckled-down” point and after scraping the concrete through the barrel, I’m now in serious mode.

My Life’s Purpose:

  1. When it comes to my life’s purpose, it’s in transition.
  2. I want to believe that I will make a difference in a good way and also be entertaining if it’s okay to–make ’em laugh and learn.

I suppose I can count this one as one of my “in transition” smaller successes. I just don’t know if I’m being genuine when I’m in public or playing the clown because of my social nervousness. Sometimes when it’s a long day and I’m making customers chuckle, I feel like a sitcom character waiting for the canned laughter to show the joke’s over.

I’d still rather make people laugh, but maybe that’s just because I’ve been doing it so long that if I’m serious, people wonder if something’s wrong, like I’m sick or somebody died. I irritate them if I’m too hyper and clownish, but I worry them when I’m quiet–I just can’t figure out a middle ground because I annoy myself every time I get there.

And then there’s the list of “hurting habits.” I’d forgotten about these, the little check boxes I marked off eons ago:

  • Poor communication skills (in person, definitely still true. Online…getting better)
  • Disorganization (still relevant)
  • Not following up and following through on things you start (I’m an impulse buyer and impulse hobbyist–I’ll try just about anything and after spending a ton, I still don’t finish most of it. Very tiresome, distracting, guilt-inducing, and space-taking)
  • Talking instead of listening (see “poor communication skills” for more)
  • Forgetting someone’s name 60 seconds (or less) after being introduced (guilty–I get so nervous trying not to screw up and babble that I don’t listen hard enough)
  • Not exercising on a regular basis (guilty)
  • Not taking enough time off for fun and relaxation (guilty)
  • Answering the phone when you’re too busy to talk (oh yeah, or an IM, any of that–I get awkward and can’t figure out how to end the conversation)
  • Procrastinating on almost everything (My to-do list hell. Writing it down to-do is NOT the same as actually getting it done. I keep forgetting that, my #1 stall tactic that’s taken over my life)

I read a post about anxiety yesterday that reminds me of my split fears–my fear of never doing anything and doing anything all at the same time. I’m in that mode, shuffling between wanting to be sociable and being terrified at the same time. It has really hurt me badly all around.

It’s like a desperate attempt at keeping a status quo that I don’t exactly like in the first place. It sucks because it’s all I know, but I’ve hated it all along.

And almost 10 years ago, I wrote it all out. How could I do that and NOT take it to heart.

There is more, but this post is long enough. I’m keeping this stack of stuff and putting it in my files so I can reflect on it (no more hiding in a dusty binder in a never-used cabinet anymore).

And besides, if I keep writing, I’m PROCRASTINATING cleaning up all this other stuff.

I guess I’m working on it after all. Time to take lessons to heart and get a chisel to chip away at those cement shoes.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I don’t know who said that, but in some respects it’s terribly true…even though I find myself trying to discern the real truth of it far too long.

Ugh, procrastinating again. I’m writing these old hurts and fears down to reflect on before I go to work today. It’s raining and a perfect reflection day, now that I think about it. Post-it notes to the rescue…and support groups.

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