What are 12 things your life doesn't need in 2012? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these things change your life?
I want to mix fun with serious in this post. Some of these things can not be done away with entirely. Yet let us explore my list. (This was not as easy as I thought it would be. I guess I don't have as big a list of things I'd like to do without as I thought. Perhaps I am not a total downer after all?)
In no intentional order, I could do without the following in 2012:
Just being cold I can handle, even if I don't like it. I can bundle up. Stay inside. The times when I do have to be out, cold is doable. Yet I have had it with snow and ice. And I have had it with people that are so in love with the shit they beg and pray for more of it, even though power lines are going down, cities are coming to a standstill, and people are suffering through lost work, health issues, and who knows what else. It's easy for people who live in an isolated area and don't have anywhere to go to love foot upon in foot of snow. The rest of us have lives that require, at minimum, electricity, and the ability to transport ourselves. So we don't need all that. Some of my best friends love snow, and that is the least lovable thing about them.
I used to be okay with snow, but I survived Snowmageddon. After that, I would be happy if it dusted snow here and there at Christmas time, and never snowed again for the rest of the year. Sorry, Bing, I don't need a White Christmas that much. I can't drive in it. I have never been good at driving in it. Scares me, and screws everything up, and I could do without it. I can't take steps to eliminate it in 2012, but I will take steps to stay out of it as much as possible. I check weather reports constantly before going anywhere in winter.
2) The Presidential Campaign
Not the election. We need the election, this being a republic and all. But I could do without the campaign. At least as they are defined these days. It will be a very important election, but it will take a year of some of the ugliest politics ever to get there. I vote, and keep track of current events, but campaigns in the United States have become endless, corporate sponsored, bloated, mean spirited shallow messes with which I tire quickly. I am sure I will pay attention to some of it, because that is who I am, but I could honestly do without it as we know it. I wish it were like it is in the UK: limited money and limited time. You get those weeks, and that money and that's it.
Again, I cannot eliminate the campaign of course. But I can keep my political TV show viewing to a minimal and I certainly will do so.
3) Tyler Perry Movies
Seriously, we have had what, about 13 "Medea" centered movies so far?
I have several problems with these movies:
-The idea that he has to play the old fat woman himself. Were there no women who could do it? It isn't funny.
-The idea that less informed people of other races, or those unfamiliar with this country will think the popularity of the series means they are an accurate depiction of how black Americans behave. I have never once met an African-American who acted anywhere near they way Perry's characters do.
-The ego of having "Tyler Perry's..." in front of everything he does. Even Spielberg doesn't do that...
-They pull down the culture curve for the entire nation.
I can't do anything about it but refuse to watch them, which is what I have always done.
4) Positive Thinking Gurus/ Gen-Y Ninjas
Don't get me wrong. I think being positive is useful and healthy. And I think there are plenty of Gen-Y experts and consultants that have something meaningful to offer the world. But I spent nearly two years online almost exclusively in their company, and man did I get tired of the "If there is anything wrong, think it away" and "I have nobody at all to thank for my success but me", crowd. Yes, yes, I am sure that a person needs to take risks, have some optimism, and believe in themselves in order to go forward. Yet the extent to which some people take it is as grating as it is fruitless. Luck exists, bad days or months are legitimate, and thought patterns are not the root of all good and evil. Period.
I plan to eliminate that "negative positive" by doing what I have already done; unsubscribe, unfollow, unfriend those that espouse too much of that. And I will also make an effort to not comment upon it much anymore. Many of my posts, tweets and writings of all kinds were burned on refuting the unfairness of that approach before now. I don't want to continue such a use of my time and words.
There is always going to be some of it between people. Timing, appropriateness of the thought and such things will on occasion dictate a non-committal answer. Yet I could do without most personal ambiguity.
"Are you attracted to me or not? Is this any good or isn't it? Are you keeping a secret from me for a good reason, or do you just not want to tell me? No, what do you want to do today?"
These are the sort of questions, along with many others, to which I spend I great deal of time guessing the answers. Or otherwise I am pretending I do not see the various elephants in the room, and don't broach subjects. I am hoping to eliminate at least some of that this year, by being more direct. Not blunt, and not without tact, but if I don't want to be somewhere, I am going to say I want to leave. If I find that somebody is doing something I find objectionable, I am not going to equivocate when they ask for my thoughts on it. And I will tell someone when I think they are attractive. (Okay, maybe I will remain ambiguous about that one sometimes.) But to get less ambiguity, I suppose I have to project less of it myself.
I'll be honest, I am not sure if my levels of anxiety about things fall within the normal range at times. I worry about the safety of others, and of myself quite a bit. To the point where if I am not fully engaged in a complex activity, I can't always shut it off. I could do without that kind of at times encumbering worry. (I use that term because thus far it has not been paralyzing.)
How to eliminate it? The sad truth of the matter is that I may not be able to determine if it is excessive, or how to eliminate it if it is, without the professional advice of a trained counselor. I am not happy about this option, despite the fact there is supposed to be no stigma attached to it. I attach no stigma to other people who seek this sort of assistance. And yet when it comes to me, I hesitate.
Yet it probably needs to be done, if for no other reason than to determine there is nothing wrong that requires a remedy.
7) Career Uncertainty
I know. I can hear specific people already telling me that this cannot be eliminated totally. Perhaps not. But I could do without the notion of having no clue how I am doing, and where I am going next. To an extent that is the lot of a freelancer, but I intend to draw up a bigger, tighter, more custom fit plan moving forward than I have had before. Trying to follow how others do it did not work, and led me to wonder all the more what would become of my career. If I lay out my own plan, tailored to me, and researched to the ompteenth degree, I may have a better shot at knowing at least what I can expect from my talents. It will be long, scary, draining, grueling work, but it should at least begin to answer the question, "What is next for my career?"
8) Mid-Day Fatigue
This has actually improved somewhat in the last few months. Nonetheless, my freelance schedule, combined with a perpetual night owl status and a shortage of restorative sleep have combined over the years to make me feel as though I am dragging between 1PM to about dinner time. Sometimes after. I get tired of being tired, as it were.
Some may just be the nature of who I am, and my sleep cycles. There may be a limit to what can be done. Yet I plan to take some steps. I already have started taking a multi-vitamin each day. I hope to add an hour of sleep to my normal duration, if I can. I am investigating more natural sources of energy in foods that are healthy. Perhaps a decrease in anxiety will result in a decrease in mid-day fatigue as well. In which case, solving one problem will contribute to solving another.
It's on television, in newspapers, on signs, in the middle of certain streets. Even in my Facebook feed. (Without liberal use of the unsubscribe button at least.)
Spending energy, time, and money in an effort to beat into the heads of your fellow man that you are deep and important enough to be totally aware of the intentions of the Almighty, and to further indicate that if your word is not taken for it, other parties will suffer infinite suffering in the afterlife? Yeah, I could do without that in 2012. And 2013, 2014, 2015, and every year for the rest of my life, and the afterlife. I hate it.
Like I said, I unsubscribe from feeds on Facebook that do too much of that, if not outright unfriend the people. I also make the effort to avoid the topic of religion when in mixed company. I will at times feel the need to post an anti-organized religion thing on my Facebook, but by and large I try to keep a lid on that indignation and just let the topic remain private as it should be.
10) Whole Family Gatherings
Most combinations of people within my family, at least among my siblings, do not get along. (Which is why I wonder about getting together for Christmas this year for a gift exchange.) Some of it is because there are some asses in my family. People whose individualism and sense of personal morality always trump cohesive family togetherness. Direct fights are uncommon, though they happen. Yet the number of people when we all get together that say nothing to one another in order to keep that peace certainly add to the absurdity of everything. I could do without more family drama this year.
Despite the pull, I may opt out of some of the all-in events that happen next year. I need my space from a good portion of the family that has never understood me, nor never attempted to do so. I tried to understand them, as one of the youngest, for a long time. They didn't want it, and their apathy towards my position in life hurt at first, and now has caused a scar of numbness. I don't care what they think anymore, and would sometimes rather just not see them. Let them go visit the members of the family with whom they do want to get along. I will do the same.
11) Friends that are "too busy".
People have kids. Jobs. Lives. I get it. I hear it all the time. I respect it. Usually. Yet I think all of the above are used as an excuse as often as an honest explanation as to why messages go unreplied to, invitations go unaccepted, and people tend to vanish. You are not too busy, especially when I see that you are spending a great deal of leisure time with other people. You just don't want to invest in our relationship, whatever it is.
And you know what? That's fine. Hurtful sometimes, but if you don't want it, you don't want it. Yet if you do want it, put some effort into things once in a while. Friendships take work, and I could do without people who don't seem inclined to contact me or respond to being contacted.
So I will carry over a few things that I started this year. Such as the Rule of Three. If I send three messages to someone that go unanswered, or no effort is made by them to contact me over the course of three solid months, they are history. I will waste no more time on people who can't do any better than that. I am another piece in their collection, not another friend in their heart.
Professionals hate when I say this, but fuck them I am saying it anyway...friends make time. Period. That's how it goes. You set aside time for your friends. We all have shit to do, but a real person sets some of it aside to let a friend know they matter. (Like, for instance, returning a message at least once a summer.)
12) Being far from friends.
As I mentioned in a previous post, most of my dearest friends are not accessible due to distance. I can't drive to their place when I need to vent, or call in the morning to ask if they want to see a movie that evening. I can't hug them, sit in their homes, hear their voices on a regular basis. Some of the most important people in my life I have not seen in ten years. I could do without such absences.
So, my hope is to maybe call a bit more often at first. And then, if all goes well, set aside some of the increased income I hope to be earning this year to go visit some of these people across the country. (It will take more because I don't fly. I do only trains and buses.) But I have never visited any of my dearest cross country friends at their homes. True, none but one of them has ever visited me in mine either, and don't think I overlook that truth. Yet my schedule is generally more flexible than others. So I hope I can see at least one of them in 2012. Maybe even two.
The second part of the prompt is How will getting rid of these things change your life?
Of the things I can get rid of, each one will change my life in a different way to a certain degree. Yet if there were a universal among them, I would say by ridding myself of each of them, my life will improve by allowing me to sense more of what is creative, artistic, positive, and productive in my life. (Not something I am good at without help.) Moving these things aside, or at least diminishing their influence will begin to blow away some of the fog, and reveal what is behind it. The solid things. The powerful things. Things that, like a giant bridge or a building you know are there but catch mere glimpses of through the fog, will become a constant part of the new landscape.
As a result, in theory, more positive sensory input will fill my spirit, and direct things in a more gratifying direction. Leaving a store of ammo within my heart for when the fog does descend for a few days at a time again.