Monday, December 26, 2011
I will lounge around. I will chill out. I will make time for myself.
It's all about me. This time I won't forget. This year I will stop being a human shield...
Yes. That's right. A human shield.
A funny thing happens to me when I'm around other people, even people I don't know very well: I throw myself in front of bullets that were not intended for me.
I hear them say, "Ten thousand cookies by tomorrow and I have no idea how I'm going to do it!" or, "I'm planning a party for my husband's, step-neice's, uncle's dog and I just don't even know where to begin..." or, "I need flyers for a charity organization you've never heard of that places abandoned cows in foster families..."
And my hand goes up. Over and over again. I can't control it, it's like I'm swatting flies.
This has always been the state of things for me. And it's ten times worse when the needy party is someone I am dating. Suddenly I am personally invested in whether or not someone who is not related to me makes it to the dentist on time. Do they have enough clean clothes? Are they eating healthy? Can I help them? Please?
It doesn't make sense for grown adults to throw all of their needs onto someone else, and it extra doesn't make sense for me to volunteer to be the baggage camel. Especially when it seems that I'm always trying so hard not to get "involved" with anyone. "I'm not looking for a relationship," I say, "just someone to hang out with." Then, two months later, when I'm sitting on the couch in my pajamas with birds nesting in my hair and this person is passing me the remote, it hits me: I've been relationshiped.
How do you know if you've been relationshiped? The signs are not always obvious. You might find yourself driving someone everywhere, texting them before you decide if you are going out tonight, choosing between heading out in the cold to help them buy groceries or watching movies on your comfortable couch in your toasty warm house. Maybe you stop going to the gym, stop eating the foods you like because the other person doesn't like to try new things, stop laughing at things you used to find funny.
You've been shanghaied...maybe you were a little drunk at the time, but you've agreed to go along, so no one is really forcing you to do anything that you didn't sign up for.
You didn't make it clear that you weren't looking for this when you volunteered to help with all the things all the time. It wasn't apparent that you wanted your own space when you were constantly around checking to make sure everything was okay.
Before you know it, the people around you are hinting that you might get the privilege of carrying this person for the rest of your life...and possibly a smaller person as well. They smile and say, "well, accidents do happen..." in such a way that makes you wonder if they volunteer at the condom factory just so they can gleefully poke pinholes in the rubbers.
I want to stop this madness. I want to get to the root of the problem so this doesn't keep happening.
I'm fortunate to have a group of friends who are grown-up pants, self-sufficient people. They don't need my help most of the time, and if they do they ask for it, and I'm more than happy to oblige because I know that they are capable of helping me in return. This is the level of interaction that I should be expecting from everyone, everywhere, all the time.
With the exception of things that I consider charity (donations to good causes, helping 95-year-old ladies pick up heavy boxes), I really shouldn't be putting all my effort into things that have no return.
My solution is selfishness. My resolution for 2012 is to take a good hard look at what I'm saving before I jump in front of the gun.
So don't look at me. I'm not getting involved.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
If ever I am at a loss for something to do with my time, or I've forgotten what my goals are supposed to be, I refer to The Master List.
"What is 'The Master List?'" you ask, and I'm so glad you did. The Master List is not a list at all, but is in fact, a whiteboard. This whiteboard lives behind my office door and is a dry-erase paradise filled with my random thoughts, books I intend to read, places I want to go, my goals; and most importantly, who owes me money.
If you've ever felt bad because I appear to be more organized than you, take heart, I'm also INSANE.
Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post about my goals for 2011 and added a bunch of unintelligible scribble to The Master List (my handwriting is what happens when you put a pointy stick in your mouth and try to write on an uneven surface using sumi ink from a bottle...while riding a roller coaster).12 short months ago, I scrawled out the following goals:
- Run another half marathon
- Take a cross country road trip
- Complete an Olympic distance triathlon
- Pay off my car
- Run the Spokane Marathon in October
- Get published
- Read at least 10 books from the banned books list
- Dine out once a week or less
- Make a will
Did I do all these things? In a word: no.
But I did do some of these things. And I also did other things throughout the year that I felt fairly good about. See how vague I'm being? Pretty soon you'll have forgotten all about that list of failure up there.
I did run another half marathon (#1), and the full Spokane Marathon (#5). Making a will (#9) went by like a breeze once I actually sat down and did it. I forgot all about reading banned books (#7) until the end of November, but I finished that one this afternoon with only days remaining in the year.
I fully flunked numbers 2, 3, and 4. I did not get published (unless you count this blog, which I do not), and try as I might, I could not stay away from all the fine dining establishments Spokane has to offer.
4 out of 9 is a 44%. That is clearly failing. But what about extra credit? Can I get points for all the things I did end up doing in 2011?
- Went to Emerald City Comicon
- Learned to wakeboard
- Learned to shoot
- Went ziplining
- Ran a full marathon
- Threw some awesome parties
- Ran the Warrior Dash and the Dirty Dash
- Went to Silverwood for the first time
- Almost got washed out to sea in a kayak
- Spent a week in Myrtle Beach with my family
If you crunch the numbers on this, you'll note that there are 10 things on this list of accomplishment, and only 9 things on my previous goals list (aka 'failure list'). Also, subtracting the things I actually completed on my previous goals list takes that list down to 6...and 10 is more than 6. In fact, it's 4 more...so let's say it's 40% more...if you take that 40% from the new list and add it to the 44% achievement rate on the old list, you get 84%, which is a solid "B" grade.
See what I did there? That's called math.
That's not bad at all. 'B' isn't just okay, it's slightly above average. Good job 2011.
David Bowie New Year, January 2011
Liz learns to snowboard, January 2011
St. Patrick's Day, March 17th
Myrtle Beach, June 2011