Reflections

Reflections
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The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or place is unintentional.

“You seem much calmer lately; much more relaxed. What’s changed?” she asked.

I was a bit flippant in my response. “I’ve stopped worrying about everything. We’re all going to die someday; it’s just a question of when, so why worry about it” I replied. “The more I convinced myself I didn’t want to get old, the longer I seemed to live. Now I’m trying reverse psychology on Mother Nature. Maybe that will help me live a shorter life.

“I’m just kidding though. I’ve actually come to realize that tomorrow’s going to happen whether I worry about it or not, so I don’t. “

“Well it definitely suits you!” she exclaimed. “You’re even wearing your hair differently these days, and is that mascara you’re putting on?”

“It doesn’t hurt to at least try to look good,” I said in my defense, “after all, this is the best I’m ever going to look- it’s all downhill from here!” She grinned in response. Then she became serious.

“I also noticed you’ve even been treating me better and not talking down to me anymore. You used to be so rude and insulting sometimes.” I knew she was telling the truth; I had been terrible to her.

“I’ve decided to treat you the way I treat my friends, and I’m trying really hard to do that,” I admitted. “but we ARE friends, aren’t we? I think we should be.”

“You can be my friend or you can be my biggest critic” she said, “but I like it better when we’re friends. We all needs friends who motivate and encourage us. There’s going to be enough people criticizing us, we should be more supportive.”

We were silent for a few minutes. I finished putting on mascara and carefully applying my lipstick. This was going to be a good day. I looked in the mirror and smiled; my reflection smiled back. We had finally become friends.

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Overthinking Things

Overthinking Things
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An associate of mine (recent immigrant to Canada) told me that in his country, the work ethic was very different. Companies took responsibility for their employees, and looked after them. Part of Management’s compensation was based on their employee retention rate. The culture is very different in North America. When a company reorganizes, they eliminate the “skill sets” they no longer require and hire the skill sets they need. These “skill sets” are people. Gone are the days when you worked for the same company for most of your life and they invested in your development and progression. The average statistic for employee retention these days is 3 to 4 years.

For some people, this can cause anxiety and a tendency to overthink things. People plan their lives over a longer period of time than 3 to 4 years. The success of plans often depends on a level of security or at the very least not financial instability.

This recent article from Kaizen-Habits explains the very real effects from overthinking things:

View at Medium.com

“Many people overthink because they are scared of the future, and what could potentially go wrong. “Because we feel vulnerable about the future, we keep trying to solve problems in our head”

David Carbonell, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It.”

I used to have the same problem; for years I used to overthink everything. I became incapable of making a decision, because I was sure if I kept thinking, I’d come up with a better decision. When I found myself on my own again, I was constantly worried and was overthinking everything. The world became overwhelming and I resorted to using podcasts and meditations to distract my thoughts and quiet my brain so I could sleep at night.

I’m proud to say I’m much better now. I’m working hard at distracting myself, just like the article describes, and I now have a different perspective on life, and on myself. I’m learning to worry less and that any decision is better than no decision.

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Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying
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I was driving down the road the other day and I saw a tiny house fly hanging onto the outside of my driver side window. His little wings were flapping furiously as he struggled to cling onto the window. I wondered why it was so important for him to hang on – he had wings, he could fly away anytime he wanted. Was there something sweet on my window that he wanted? Had I simply taken him by surprise when I started to move?

I glanced to the other side to change lanes, and when I looked back the fly was no longer there. I didn’t know if he’d left on his own or if the air current had swept him away. For a brief moment I wondered if he would be okay – if he’d survived, and then I gave my head a shake. Of course he would be okay – he had wings and he could fly.

Then I realized this was a good analogy for life as well. Sometimes we cling onto things far longer than we should. We hang onto marriages, friendships, jobs, and even houses, when sometimes it’s better to let go. We hang on out of fear, out of a sense of obligation, out of pride, for financial reasons, and for a plethora of other, personal reasons.

We worry about what will happen if we let go; will we survive? Change is scary! People use the expression “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, or “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, but that usually doesn’t justify not taking a chance. We recite those types of quotes to make ourselves feel better about not making life changing (and often scary) decisions. I now know that sometimes it’s better to have no devil at all, and that sometimes even one bird can crap all over you.

“Action may not bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

We’ve all had those moments when we knew we needed to do something but seemed frozen – like a deer in the headlights. We all want to make the right choices, the right changes, and we’re terrified of making the wrong decision, but even doing nothing is a decision – and it’s the worst possible decision you can make.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

When I look back through the years, I realize that most changes were thrust upon me – broken relationships, lost jobs, relocations, and many more. There were changes I needed to make but didn’t. I stayed in jobs when a change would have been better for my career. I stayed in relationships long past their best before dates. Hindsight really is 20/20 though isn’t it? I’ve learned that it’s important sometimes to reflect on our lives and decisions and to use that insight to learn and grow.

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in”. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Sometimes that means making a decision to let go. To feel the fear and do it anyway. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Maybe we’ll find out that like that tiny fly – we too have wings and we too can fly.

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Gaming the System

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Are you on Instagram or Twitter? Do you sometimes get connection requests from completely random strangers? Why would anyone randomly want to follow you? We all want to believe that we’re fascinating people, but sadly that has nothing to do with it. They’re gaming the system. Let me tell you how that works. Continue reading