For one thing, it’s important to find the balance between remembering that your time has value and shouldn’t be wasted and remembering that the same applies to every other person you come in contact with. Unless you’re living alone on your own private island somewhere, (and I’m guessing you’re not) then you can’t live in a happy little bubble of selfish self-gratification. Nor should you. People are social beings. We get enjoyment (and yes, often frustration) from our dealings with family, friends, and even strangers. And I think it’s important to give some of that back.
For me, giving my life value is not just about doing lots of fun and interesting things with my time, although that is definitely part of it (I refuse to succumb to the statistic that the average North American watches four hours of TV per day.) It’s also about making my life a thing of value to others. I want people to get something positive from their dealings with me and I want to leave the world a better place than it was when I got here.
Another challenge is laziness. It is always easier to do nothing than to do something. (I know, deep right?) I, personally, have a very strong tilt toward the do nothing camp. I can happily spend an entire weekend in bed reading novels, only occasionally coming out for food and washroom breaks. This is a nice thing to do, very rarely, when it’s raining outside. But part of me would like to do it every weekend. And I have to fight that part. There will be plenty of time for that when I’m old, for one thing. And for another, it’s not as if I’m creating treasured memories here. It’s just time, gone, that I’m never going to get back.
The challenge I’ve been struggling the most with lately however, is dealing with negativity. Because that shit can (does) eat you up from the inside. Not good. Obviously, the clever thing is to try to fix what is wrong and if that doesn’t work, to lance it (or at the very least limit its presence) from your life. Then you can get on with being a positive and productive member of society.
But I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to dealing with negative stuff in my own life, I’m pretty much emotionally disabled. I don’t do confrontation, so my method is generally to bury my resentment/hurt/annoyance/whatever in the hope that it will go away. Now if the problem is small enough, and a once-off occurrence, this can work. And I’m a big fan of picking your battles. But if it’s something that you deal with regularly, in my case anyway, it just gets worse. And in my current particular situation, I’ve been stockpiling grievances for several months now. If nothing else, this is extremely hard on the stomach.
Now my husband, who is much wiser and more grown-up than me in situations like this, says that it’s not fair to be angry at someone if they don’t even know you’re mad and haven’t been given the chance to make things better. If they know and don’t do anything, then you have the right to be angry. Well damn. You put it like that, and it kind of becomes my own fault. So, being the slow-to-action thinker that I am, I gave this a lot of thought and came to the clear conclusion that I would have to have a difficult conversation with someone. So naturally, I put it off for months.
But I’m so proud of myself. Yesterday I forced myself to have that conversation. And I feel better. It was hard. But not as hard as I had built it up to be. Not all of my issues have been fixed, and I’m not sure I got my desired outcomes from the conversation. Time will tell on that, I suppose. But it’s out there now, somewhere other than sitting in the pit of my stomach, and I feel lighter for it. It turns out no one was aware that I had a problem. Apparently I have an excellent poker face, for all the good that’s doing me.
So now I am free to enjoy this beautiful (well, not raining yet, anyway) Saturday without stewing. It’s going to be a great day.