Sunday, April 06, 2008

Irritatingly Insipid Introspection

I am developing an increasing love of alliteration can you tell?

Anyway, as the header says this is going to be a dull 'ME ME ME ME ME!' post, so feel free to skip it. I decided to write it after reading about Olivia's change in outlook after making a fairly major decision about moving back to the states.

I’m not sure how I'm going to start this, it may turn into a life story but hopefully I will catch myself and just keep the bits in about opinions and my behaviour. And it is all opinion and entirely based on the way that I've dealt with things in my own life and how I will continue to deal with them because that is what works for me.

So, let’s talk about ruts - we've all been in them, before I went to Uni I was in one for the best part of 6 years. Actually that's not true; it's more like 4 and a half. Point is, I was in a crappy job (with some part time jobs on top of that) living with my parents with little to no prospect of busting out of the rut I was in and no view of how I even COULD get out of it. That's the thing, it is easy to get into the psychological trap of believing you're in a situation that you have no control over and that you'll have to wait some time before you can make any changes.

It's that last part I always had a problem with, I can't make actual defined plans because they are always wildly unrealistic or require a certain amount of things to be in place first. This is why I generally fall over and go and do something else with most things. That is because most things fall into 3 categories in my world - Things That Don't Actually Matter, Things that Matter and Things I Can't Change. It's not really that simple but essentially that is the system. Most bad things in the 'Things that Don't Matter' box can be improved by changing something in the 'Things that Matter box' or by working around/ignoring or accepting something in the 'Things I Can't Change' box.

All categories gain airtime in my complaining, ranting and general joking though 'Things That Don't Matter' monopolise because that stuff is funnier.

OK, so now you've been blinded by my philosophy, let’s go back to the previous life where I was working a lot and making myself really very ill. I can't follow plans very well, I'm good at the beginning bit (sort of) when I am all enthusiastic and I am good at the very end bit but the middle bits are when I go make tacos or get distracted by The Thundercats or something. What I found worked for me was time limits - kind of the 'lets see how things go until X, if its still crap I am going to do this thing'. Where 'this thing' is a definitive action that will force me to go do other stuff. In our example the move was actually 2 things, enrol in a college course and to hand in my notice.

It was the time limit that changed my mood though; it was the knowledge that there was a finishing post to aim for. It allowed me to voice my concerns about my future and make it known that I wasn't happy with the way things were going. Because I don't follow through on a lot of things (see categories of 'Stuff' above) and my age at the time, it’s understandable everything I said was taken with a pinch of salt. When the time came, I handed my notice in and suddenly there was an overwhelming desire to offer me more money, better prospects and some kind of career progression but I showed no interest and went off to college.

The first time I went to college didn't work out because I was really quite ill at the time and unable to read or write for much of that year but I went back 18 months later. The year I went to college for the second time was the worst I've ever had for reasons I won't bore you with (because the rest of this is so thrilling!) but managed to complete and get to University.

Point is all of this was based on a decision and a time limit I set myself. There was no time limit on when I should be done by just when I should start by; I had a start point and an end point. The start point was 'leave this job', the end point was 'get qualified, get a career'.

That seems to have worked - not everything went perfectly along the way, indeed a lot went horribly wrong but that's the beauty of not having a plan.

I am now in the fortunate position of having a decent job that I am good at and that I am currently valued for. There have been ups and downs here that have made me question whether I want to continue doing what I am doing, so I used the whole timescale thing when that happens but things have always changed for the better before those points come up so I carry on doing what I am doing.

There is a bigger timescale I have in my head that puts everything else into perspective, so the job and the career I currently have have become much more something I can be flexible with because there is an end point if I need one when the time comes, I only have a vague idea of the changes I may make but the timescale is there so I don't really care that much at this point.

OK so it was quite life story-ee, but no one forced you to read it did they?!

Jerry's final thought - Most of the things you think you can't change, you can, and if you can't - why the hell are you worrying about them?!

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