Anyone who really knows me knows that I'm generally pessimistic, and if you didn't know that, be thankful that you didn't have to learn it on your own, in the real world. The famous Woody Allen quote, "I always see the glass half full. Of poison!" sums up my outlook on life pretty well. If something could go wrong, it will - that's the only constant in life. This may explain, therefore, my tendency to focus on the negative side of "growth" and "personal development." Where's the negative in growth and personal development, you ask? Oh, it's there my friends, it's there! It's been my experience that, in order to grow and develop, we must also give up; this is what I generally focus on - what I'm giving up to achieve the growth and development rather than the positive outcome that growth will (supposedly) create. I look at the can't, won't, and shouldn't instead of the can-be and will-be. The purpose of the growth/development is almost lost in the mourning for things I've let go ...
So ... hold on to your seats boys and girls ... you're about to see something never before witnessed! I'm focusing on the good! I'm looking at it as a "reinventing" of the story of pity and pessimism. If power comes from naming, than re-naming a difficult experience can be powerful too, right?!
As previously mentioned here and here, I am unemployed and have been for going on 3 months now. Perhaps needlessly said, the last 3 months have been a continual pity party: what am I doing with my life? What should I do next? Why won't my personalities stop fighting?! I've been looking at what I gave up when I left my job - you know, small things like rent money and a sense of purpose in this world. I haven't let myself really look at the positives - the reasons for leaving in the first place and the benefits that have come from that decision. Going against years of training, I will enumerate those positives now:
-Sanity: generally a good thing, especially for one inclined to insanity, such as myself. There are a lot of scary, creepy people out in the world, and I felt like I was dealing with all of them on a daily basis. Now I only have to deal with them when I choose to! Yay for me!
-Environmental friendliness: In a really good week I was driving 600 miles a week - that could easily be closer to 750 or more in a bad week. My not working is helping to save the environment! Yay for the earth!
-Perspective: I can watch movies, watch strangers, read books ... pretty much enjoy any and all forms of entertainment without assuming that every guy I see/encounter is a totally jackass who is beating his intimate partner! Yay for men!
-Time: I now have time to focus on the other areas of my life that were being neglected: writing, art, exercise and spirituality specifically. These have always been very important to me, but it was hard to focus on anything other than not falling apart in front of clients, and these things have been too long ignored. I also have time for the important people in my life ... you know ... like my husband! I also have time for (here it is - you'll all be the first to know!) training for the Pacific Crest Trail next summer!! Okay, okay - I'm actually only doing the Oregon leg of the trail, but still 430 miles in a month - pretty damn good! Yay for hiking!
Now, don't get me wrong - I loved my job! I really, really loved my job. I felt very fulfilled there, like I was being the person I always wanted to be - I just didn't realize that "the person I always wanted to be" was maybe not the healthiest option for me - that maybe I didn't have the personality or temperament to leave my work behind, to thrive while being surrounded by pain and suffering, to maintain a good quality of life and not let other people's problems become my own ... NOW I KNOW! Yay for me again! I know that I can still do work that's important to me and that helps other people, but that my skills, personality, experience is perhaps best focused on larger societal issues rather than one-on-one direct service work. This is a good thing to know about yourself.
Don't go expecting all my posts to be so happy-go-lucky from here on out - this is seriously about as smooshy as I get, but it's important to remind yourself about the good every once in awhile! I'm regaining perspective on my life. That perspective might not be telling me what the bloody hell I should be doing! but it is helping me get back into contact with what's important, and that seems like a good place to start.
How about you all. Are there experiences you want/need to re-name and reinvent? An experience that needs a little perspective? Please ... share with the world ... or the 12ish people who read this blog anyway! ;o)