Thursday, September 7, 2017

Getting Older Unconventionally

For me, aging is one of the strangest parts of being human. I think for most people, they feel like the same person that they were in early adulthood, but their body keeps changing. Most of the time aging is gradual and we don't notice it much. Over time we just start to realize that what was once easy is now harder or more painful.

I want to be a person who ages gracefully, but at the same time it is hard for me to accept getting older. I think it would be exhausting to try to fight it with all kinds of expensive treatments, or serums, or creams. But at the same time I haven't experienced many of the outward effects of aging yet. It seems like a cruel thing to slowly take away a person's beauty, senses, mobility, and independence. I suppose it is just one of those things in life that you just have to accept and make the best of.

Since I do have to get older, I don't want to be one of those grannies who wears a shawl and sits around and knits or bakes cookies all the time. Sure I will change in some ways, but I never want to loose my sense of adventure and excitement for life. I don't want to feel restricted to only do things that "old people" do. I want to feel as free as I am today to experience and try new things, to wear what I want, and to be who I want to be.

I'm afraid of the stigma that is placed on older people, and I hope I can help to change that by being an unconventional older person. Youth is a privilege, but we would all do well to remember that that privilege doesn't last forever. As for me, I intend to act however young I feel, and I hope I can keep my outward appearance from getting in the way of that.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Adults Are People Too

It seems to be a common belief for many people that when you have children of your own, that your life no longer matters as much as the child's. People will say things like, "It's not about you anymore." or "The baby comes first now." or "Children are our most important resource." I agree to an extent that children are important and should be cared for carefully. I think children do need to grow up well in a loving and supportive environment, and that they deserve time to just be kids and not be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of adulthood.

What I don't agree with is that the wants and desires of children should always come before the wants and desires of adults. What are adults but people who used to be children themselves? Just because they grew up are their feelings and desires less important? Are they less deserving of having a happy life? Teaching children and helping them grow is important. But what does it teach them if we discard them as soon as the next generation comes along?

It is my feeling that all people are important regardless of their age, and all people should have a lifetime of growth and development. Children may need more nurturing, but that doesn't mean they are above all others. We are all continually learning and changing. If we teach people that children are the only important ones, we will be faced with a future full of jaded adults who thought that they were important once.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shaky Ground

I have always tried to be a good person in my life, but I know there are times I fall very short of the ideal, and I also know there are people who just plain don't like me. It's not that I expect everyone to like me. It's just that it's hard to keep your self-esteem up when you know there are people who wish nothing good for you. Do you know the feeling? I'm not talking about any random stranger. I'm talking about people who you were once close to, but for one reason or another you had a falling-out. These are the people who once had your back, but who would now do nothing for you. I don't know. Maybe not everyone has people like this in their lives. Maybe some people have learned to always part on good terms. I am not one of those people.

I have found that one of the hardest things in life has been to keep a positive self-image when I know others are trying to put me down. There are times when I had every reason to be happy, but I am unhappy because I feel like I don't deserve happiness when others are either wishing me unhappiness or are ambivalent to my feelings. It's a difficult feeling to describe. It's like if you had a best friend and you had a falling out with that friend. Then you do something great like graduate from college, and even though a lot of people are happy for you, you are upset because your former friend doesn't care. That person may have been there for you so many other times that accomplishments almost seem meaningless when you don't have their support.

I think the best thing to do when you loose a friend is to try to focus on all the people who still care about you and support you. It's really hard sometimes, but it's always best not to dwell on the negative. You can't do everything perfect, and if a friend doesn't understand that then it's not worth having their opinion of you. Just remember, you need to know you are a good person on your own, without anyone else's input. If you can't do that, you are already on shaky ground. Move your foundation rather than look for more support.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Me and Everything in the Universe

I have recently been realizing more and more how certain stories or scenarios play out over and over again in human history. There are countless examples of this, but some of them are -

-the rebellious teenager
-the leader who lets power go to his head
-the scientist who makes a discovery that changes everything
-the parents who work hard to support a family
-the traveler who feels strange in a foreign land
-the jilted lover
-the discovery of peace in nature
-the person who wants to become a doctor because doctors have helped him
-the loss of faith after the loss of a loved one
-the drug addict who never thought he would end up a drug addict

This list could go on forever, but you get the point. The same story happens over and over to different people, and yet when one of these things happens to us, we often feel entirely alone and unique. Should we not look at these similarities and gain strength from them rather than focus on our perceived isolation and differences?

What does it mean that these kinds of things happen again and again in history? Is it just a pattern? Does it mean anything? I'm not sure what the answers are. The logical side of me says that since humans are one species, then of course they will have similar behaviors and thus similar stories. Yet the emotional side of me says that maybe we can derive a deeper meaning or connection from our similar experiences. Maybe the rebellious teenager in the 1980s has a connection with the rebellious teen of today. Maybe the same can be said for rebellious teens on opposite sides of the planet. Are we meant to learn from these shared commonalities, or is is just a coincidence?

I want to think there is a reason for all this repetition in a chaotic world, and so that is what I will believe. I will continue to try to derive meaning from it until there is a very good reason to stop. Because why not try to find a connection with space, and time, and other humans, and everything in the universe?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What We Sweep Under The Rug

I know quite a few people who seem to be perfectionists. They brag about how much they clean their house or about how much work they get done. When they post pictures of themselves or their kids on the internet, everything seems to be perfect. There is not a hair out of place or a wrinkle in the clothes. But when I see these people, my thought is - "We all only have 24 hours in a day and there are always things you can't get done. So what kinds of things do these people neglect?"

For some reason I am always fascinated by the things people keep secret, or the things they just don't talk about often. So what are the not-so-perfect parts about a perfectionist's life that they don't want to talk about? Is their shower disgustingly dirty? Do they forget to pay a bill on time? Do they have moldy food in the fridge? Do they have poor relationships because they spend all their time on less-important things like cleaning? I wouldn't judge anyone for any of these things, especially because I have done one or two of them myself. So why do they hide it? Are they afraid they will be judged by others? Are they ashamed they can't do it all?

In addition to being interested by the secrets people keep, I am also interested by the way people prioritize their time. How do they decide what is important to get done in a day, and what they can let slide? This may seem like an obvious question to a lot of people. But for someone like me who has anxiety, even the smallest decisions can become crippling. So I wonder, if a person only has time to vacuum or mop, which do they choose? If you have to choose between cleaning the bathroom or spending time with your family, what do you do? I think most people would choose family time. But then what if there is always something more important than cleaning the bathroom? Do you just give up on cleaning it?

I have kind of come to the conclusion over my lifetime that there is never a perfect choice. It may not matter if you choose mopping over vacuuming, or it may make all the difference in the world. You won't know until you make the choice. I have learned to just try to go with the flow and base my decisions off of what feels right and what has worked for me in the past. Others can give advice, but ultimately my choices are my own, so it doesn't really matter what other people say. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't, but it will never be perfect. Life never is.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Two Perspectives

I would like you to picture, for a moment, two cars that are traveling down the same road at the same time of day. The people inside are seeing and feeling the same area at the same time, so they must be having the same experience, right? Not so fast. I didn't tell you that the two cars are very different. One is a beautiful luxury car with leather seats and air conditioning. It has a very good sound system and the ride is very smooth. As the car passes, people notice it and comment on it's beauty or wave at the driver.

The second car is a little worse for wear. It is old and beat-up, and barely runs. There is no air conditioning, and the stereo only plays two garbled radio stations. The ride is very bumpy, and as the car passes, people either don't notice or look at it in disgust. Now do you still think the drivers are having the same experience?

I wanted to use this metaphor to show how easy it is to mistake a common road with a common experience. People often seem to think that they know how others feel if they have been in the same situation. There are similarities, of course, when people go through the same things. Yet people tend to forget how vastly different human bodies (a.k.a. the cars) can be. Each person sees and perceives the world differently based on their background, personality, and looks.

I'm not recommending that we highlight our differences. On the contrary, we should look for our commonalities and build understanding from those things we share. But we should not assume that someone feels the same way we did when we were in the same situation. That only leads to hurt and misunderstanding. The person in the old car might feel very bad if he were judged for having a stressful ride just because the driver of the luxury car had a pleasant ride on the same road. The two drivers could share in their common experience without assuming the other should have felt the same. That way, the drivers can share their similar experiences without feeling judged for their different perceptions.

I want to take one moment to also say that if you leave a comment on my blog, please write something to indicate that you have actually read and understood it. Otherwise, I will probably delete your comment because it seems you are just trying to advertise your website in the comments.




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Complications

I have been realizing more and more lately how relationships and communication seem to get harder and harder as I get older. My fist inclination towards this subject is that communication should get EASIER as I get older. After all, you live you learn, right? And I have learned plenty about relationships and how to deal with different people in my life. But I think the complexities come from age, not inexperience. What I mean is, as you get older, you have more baggage and more unhealthy patterns that you revert to during stressful times. It's not that you suck at communicating. It's that it takes more and more work to wade through the growing complications and make any sort of progress.

I am an eternal optimist at heart, even when the things I hope for are almost completely impossible. So I don't look at past baggage and growing issues as a reason to give up on communication. For the most part, I am always trying to do better and understand others better. But it does get discouraging at times when it seems like there is no way through the maze of misunderstandings and past damage done to a relationship. I have found that a lot of people find it difficult, if not impossible, to move on from things other people have done to them. This, obviously, puts up a barrier between open communication.

Wrongs of the past are not the only obstacles to good communication, either. The longer a person lives, the more they develop coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult things, and some of these can be detrimental to communication with other people. For example, if a person is an alcoholic, other people may not want to talk to that person because they are rude or angry all the time. Also, with alcohol constantly impairing him or her, the person may not have the mental capacity to even carry out a meaningful conversation. That's a simple example, but take into account that one person can have multiple problems hindering their communication and it is no wonder so many people find it so difficult.

I don't claim to be any sort of expert on relationships or communication. I am far from it. I am only drawing on my own experience and difficulties with communicating with people in my life. Sometimes I wish that if I had a super power it could be to make a person feel how I feel, and I could feel how they feel. If that happened, I think there would be a lot less misunderstandings. But since that is not likely to ever happen, I will just have to keep guessing at other people's feelings, and hopefully I will get good enough at it to someday have great relationships with all who I interact with.