Cycles

The Value Of Time

When I begin this it was 11:47 PM Friday night and a hot cup of coffee sat in front of me.  I made the mistake of leaning back and dozed away close to ninety minutes.  Later, despite my best efforts, about halfway through writing this (I’ve update this intro,) I closed my eyes again and woke up to four AM.  It is now Tuesday…  As you can see the juggling act of my recent routine has been challenging.  My social life is picking up, many exciting plans have been made, and a number of friends from the past are resurfacing in my life.  On top of that, when I *do* get time at home to work on my (recently resurfaced) photography, play some video games, clean, or write… a log overdue blog post, my body immediately decides to instead use that time to shut down the moment I relax (as it did once again the last few nights…)

Generally speaking this is not a complaint.  The things that are occupying my time are all blessings, and very few professional situations in my recent past have been as respectful of my time as the one I have now.  However, this instantly falling asleep business is troublesome.  I have to watch my willpower, especially on days I run or work out (I’ve returned to consistency there as well) or reclining for a moment will lead to waking up several hours later with nothing to be done beyond returning to bed.  This and my extremely heavy calendar have had me thinking a lot about time.

quote-time-does-not-exist-we-invented-it-albert-einstein-85-7-0763

That took me three paragraphs to explain….

You’re fortunate, actually, that I ended up passing out, because what I had originally written here was a bunch of sleepy, semi-scientific and philosophical muttering about how time doesn’t actually exist and blah blah blah…  Instead I’m going to focus on the point:  No matter who you are, or where you come from, time is one of the most important concepts in your life.  Young or old, rich or poor, there is nothing we take for granted more than the ever-fleeting instrument we use to measure change, and we often forget that sometimes change doesn’t follow the routine, and your time might be up at any… time.

With that in mind, and as an Executive / Personal Assistant, the importance of prioritizing and managing my professional and personal time is absolutely key.  Professionally, I can compartmentalize and prioritize the large chunk of that time over my personal time. That’s the easy part.  But it’s not that simple either, because if I do that consistently as I have in the past, I will lose the balance that is kept in check by my social life and pursuing my own interests.  If said balance is lost, discontentment and eventual misery follow.  Fortunately in my my current position, my Executive is pretty respectful of my time and the stress level is relatively low.  This allows me the freedom to maintain that balance and pursue my interests… even if it’s a little slow and I have to fight to stay awake.  Admittedly my current (grown-up) priority of sleep probably isn’t helping, but I like to think I’m healthier and happier overall as a result.

Enough about my slow-progressing interests though, that’s only one important aspect of where my important time is spent and for the majority of my readers it probably doesn’t apply.  What should, and does apply for all of us though is in regards to our social time.  As I fight to maintain the balance I’ve elaborated above, I find that literally minutes of my time can be the difference between accomplishing something I wanted today, or not.  The easiest way to be most efficient with that would be to lock myself up in my cave of an apartment and just spend days or weeks (when not working) getting shit done.  Writing, processing photos, cleaning house, gym / running, and taking breaks to get into my sorely neglected MMO would all fall directly into place.  I have done that, and I like doing that, but no man is an island (as they say) and I admit that I get a greater sense of personal satisfaction from my interactions with friends, new and old.

Friendship-Sayings

The Philosopher

Friendship and social life are complicated though.  For one, they can (certainly not always) get financially expensive.  But more importantly different levels of friendship require different levels of time investment.  Key here is that we all have to remember that this is a two-way street.  You know how invaluable your time is to you, so you have to assume it is just as invaluable to whomever is with you.  And they are choosing to spend that time with you.  That’s the core of what that phrase means; to spend time, because that time cannot be repaid.  Ideally, time spent should be an investment from which both parties receive something greater than the time invested. But sometimes (often) we suck at that because we don’t think about the value of everyone’s time.  It takes a level of awareness to think “Hey, this super busy person who could be doing any number of things right now is choosing to engage me instead.”

With all that said, it’s exhausting to even think about being aware of every waking moment of your life.  It is also not reasonable or even healthy to do so.  Relaxation is also time well spent, and if your brain is completely engaged at all times, you are not going to be able to relax.  As with all things there has to be a balance and I think with a few guidelines you can find that balance:

1. Recognize and appreciate time spent on/with you.  Don’t question whether or not you are “worth it” to them, that is their decision.  As long as you want it, accept it and appreciate it.  I think people can subconsciously tell when they are appreciated and you’ll find that your interactions are generally more positive as a result.

c1

In that moment, she realized the time had been wasted…

2. Only spend personal time on people when you want to.  Ideally the people you spend time with should help, relax, or somehow enrich your life while you do the same for them.  This isn’t just about romantic situations either, I’ve had a couple cups of coffee with old friends recently that were extremely worthwhile.  If you walk away from the interaction with a good memory, a revelation, feeling rejuvenated, or wearing a smile, I say that’s time well spent.

The flip-side of that is spending time with people because they tried to make you feel guilty, or you feel some level of obligation to them… and that should be avoided.  Perhaps if they have done you important favors in the past, you owe it to them to show up and repay the favor, but consolidate that to whatever is needed to appropriately repay them and then get out.  Beyond repayment of a personal debt, don’t let the issues of others cause you to spend time you don’t have or don’t want to give on them.  Doing so will only make you resent them and damage your existing relationship.  Just as people can sense when they are appreciated, often they can sense when they are not wanted.  Do yourself and them a favor, and be strong enough to say no when you don’t want to spend your valuable time.    

3. Minimize your professional time spent on someplace that tears you down or makes you feel “stuck”.  I realize (and have first-hand experience) that sometimes we have to do whatever we can to get by.  But that needs to be as temporary as possible.  My recent stint as an Uber driver was actually really fun at times, but on a deeper level it was having a profound effect on my general state of mind, my confidence, and my attitude.  The only thing that kept me hopeful was the search and development of new opportunities.  So, if you’re doing what you have to do, don’t quit the search for something better, even if takes months or years.

As far as the people go, work is obviously a little different, you’re investing time for money and sometimes people come with it, but you can minimize the time spent with them to whatever is absolutely necessary.

2016-02-07 18.20.58 HDR-1

Some of my “Me Time”

4. When planning your time, be certain to allow “me time”.  I said above that no person is an island.  Well the opposite is true too.  Even the most extroverted person needs time to themselves.  Hopefully you have people with whom you can pursue your mutual interests, but even if that’s the case, you will want time to yourself to think about how it benefits you in the long-term.  Your plan, your goals, your dreams.  Take time to put everything you are doing and want to do in perspective and make them happen.  Even those who are married or in a serious long-term relationship need time to themselves to process and figure everything out as individuals.  Once that’s in perspective, it’s much easier to share those things with our friends and family.

The point of all this is, nothing in this world is more valuable than the moments we are given.  It is up to us to make the most of those moments… actually it’s up to us to simply make those moments.  But it doesn’t need to be a constant labor, it’s more a matter of reminding yourself periodically to appreciate the time that others spend on you, and in turn make sure the people you’re spending your time on are worth it (including, of course, yourself!)  By doing this you can moderate/filter your busy life and make the most your moments.

 

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Forward Motion

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today, I have a ton of ideas in my head but none of them are totally fleshed-out yet (that’s mostly “no pun intended”…)  I do have a concept in mind of explain how I tend to bond with people sexually (I know, y’all need a sex post soon…) but I want to think about that a bit more before I broadcast.  So instead I think I’ll give you a couple of “small” things that may or may not get bigger.  The lack of cohesion might not appeal to you all, but it’s my blog, so you get to deal. 🙂

Dream Girl:

The real one is out there... somewhere.

The real one is out there… somewhere.

I didn’t dream last night that I can remember, I got just under six hours of sleep which (I fairly recently learned) is consistently dreamless as far as I can tell.  I would imagine it has to do with when I wake up in regards to my sleep cycles, but regardless I tend to remember my dreams a lot more consistently at the seven and a half to eight hour mark.  Monday night I did indeed dream, but it was a sleep-deprived dream at only four and a half hours.  Normally when I dream, it’s lucid.  I’m aware I’m dreaming and reacting with that knowledge.  But this was one of the very rare ones; ultra detailed, specific and realistic.  I didn’t know I was dreaming.  Obviously the typical “dream fog” about how I had gotten there was in effect as I didn’t question it, but it got me regardless.  In this dream I was having a conversation with a girl I don’t really know (as in I know of her, and we’ve talked online and what-not, but have never met her in person…)  and we talking about “us” and confirming that we should be together.  It was a touching and kind of adorable situation that I’m not 100% comfortable describing because it was a but mushy.

What’s important about this though is that I had absolutely no reservations about this girl.  “It” was there and I was very, very ready to dedicate myself to her.  It reminded me of what it can feel like, what it should feel like.  It’s been a good fourteen years now since it felt like that, exactly right, and my subconscious still remembers it enough to recreate it.  Maybe that’s what fooled me, how easily we can be manipulated by the heart.  I woke up confused, disoriented and trying to figure out how I got to my bedroom after I had been spending time with her (sorry, no sex, this was a gushy dream, not a sexy one…)  For the first time in a long time, after a few seconds when I finally realized it was a dream, I was actually a little sad.  I thought about sending the girl a note telling her about this, but I don’t know her, at best I just know my idea of her based on limited discussion and social media.  Unfortunately, telling her something like this would likely just creep her out, and I couldn’t blame her for that.  She made an excellent dream girl regardless.

Unpause:

No.

No.

Every so often routine sets in and things just sort of freeze for a while.  While I understand it as a natural necessity of life and try to use it to my advantage, the truth is I find it very, very boring.  Me bored is bad.  Even though I have tons of things (like this…) to fill my days with, if I don’t feel like my life is in motion and things aren’t developing and growing around me, I tend to get very resigned and more likely to start reaching at things I probably shouldn’t.  Relaxing is a GREAT thing, and routine is beneficial when populated with good habits, but boredom with the state of your life is poison and needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

I’ve been in said routine for a while now.  Much of it was intentional as I had a bit to reconcile from the previous cycle to this one (probably not quite done with that… but more stable anyway.)  However, things are in motion again.  Spring is almost (literally) here and the world around me is beginning to shuffle and put things in motion that it’s been whispering about for some time.  In short, even if my life won’t dramatically change anytime soon, the state of my life and several factors around me have already begin to and will continue to.  All these prospects are the opposite of boring, and anticipating the shake-up is admittedly exciting for me.  It’s not that I crave chaos per-say, but I like renewal.  Change often sucks when you lose things, but the upside to that is that eventually new things begin to take shape and the potential they represent is exciting.

Fitting DMB Lyric. :)

Fitting DMB Lyric. 🙂

Is that vague / cryptic enough for you?  Well for instance, I have things to look forward to.  A week from now, I will once again be in Seattle for a week or so.  While I don’t have the exciting plans I had last time, after the show ends on Saturday, I will again see family, again eat far too many of my father’s hot wings and very likely find a few ways to entertain myself (though in all honesty I’ll also just be happy to relax and take in the Northwest again.)  Following that, show season is in full effect for Cybis until May, when “Dave Season” (Dave Matthews Band) begins with a concert in Atlanta on the thirtieth with some really great people.

So, in the absence of dream love, there may still be a few good reasons to peek outside of my cave.  I’ve been a little recluse on purpose, but the universe will only allow that for so long.  It is not my way to be idle and there are things to be done.

The Roar Of Silence

“You’re reaching.” she wrote.  A gentle reminder that I was once again allowing my desperation to influence my actions.  Eventually I cut myself off from her because I didn’t trust myself to not repeat that behavior.  I didn’t want to burden her and embarrass myself further.  She was actually much more irritated about it than I had expected and I may very well have damaged that connection permanently.  Such is price I pay for indulging what I know is foolish behavior, when I allow the emotions I keep so well in check to bubble through the cracks and control me.  That wouldn’t be the last time they would cause such damage.

Well okay, not *totally* alone. :)

Well okay, not *totally* alone. 🙂

So what happens?  How does the one who some say seems so strong and often emotionless crack and screw up like that?  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s because after so much time, desperation temporarily sets in and I start to really feel alone.  I say often that I am good at being alone, that I like being alone.  Everyone who knows me knows that I like my space, there are very few people I care to spend more than a day or two with, and much much fewer whom I can tolerate for more than a month.  But even though I actually do have people I could call, they are not really my people, at least not yet.

Allow me to try and make some sense of this.  I’ve spoken before of cycles and I know where I’m at in mine.  Before I was isolated following a major change and the same has happened again.  Those I was close to the during the previous cycle are essentially ghosts now (there are notable exceptions, but none are in the foreground due to circumstance) and though some who were previously in the background might be moving to the foreground, right now is a transition… a very, very quiet transition.  I have no room to complain, my life is good, my job is good and I have some really great people in my life.  But make no mistake that I am quite alone and sometimes, late at night or early in the morning when I’m starting or ending my day and there is nothing to distract me, I notice how very silent it is, and that silence is very, very loud.

So what did I do when this solitude began to set in and I wanted to reach out to everyone I could?  Well, obviously I became intentionally introverted.  For years I was one of those people at the center of the parties.  I would arrange massive gatherings, bring people from all walks of life together and usually serve them ridiculous amounts of alcohol until crazy shit happened.  It was great for a time, especially when many of those were my people.  But eventually the novelty faded and I began to question the point.  Most recently at the turn of the year I examined a similar event and realized that for what I put out, I wasn’t really getting much back any more.  Unless I actively pursued these people, I wouldn’t see them, hear from them and if I reached out and they responded, they were doing me a favor. In fairness some probably don’t even realize that dynamic exists, but then, that’s the point.  They don’t really consider it, they don’t really consider me.  So, I basically said “Fuck that.” and withdrew.  I made it a general rule that I would happily address those who addressed/invited me.  If they did not, then we all have our priorities, and I simply wasn’t one.  It sounds a little bitter, but it’s more a resignation that (especially for me) things change and nothing is permanent.

Not THAT silence... I need a marker...

Not THAT silence… I need a marker…

Understanding the way of things doesn’t always make it easy though.  My inner-voice tells me to simply be “patient” (wisdom springs from experience and patience after all…) but sometimes lately I like that word a little less every time it is whispered to me.  It is restlessness that sets in after a very long time of enduring something.  It will ebb and flow and fade, but sometimes it does get difficult, and that’s when I begin to reach.  That’s when I get myself into trouble.  But until the universe throws me another inevitable curve ball (it loves doing that…) I will remain withdrawn and selectively accept the company of those who seek it from me.  I don’t owe the world anything more than I am willing to give and the universe will put me where it needs me anyway.

It’s a fight though… to not try and shatter the silence with something, anything.  The last cycle I was put into a position in which I didn’t have a choice but accept somebody that I knew I probably shouldn’t have… and at the same time another far more important person was beginning to be alienated, eventually seemingly permanently (thus far anyway…)  So I will try not to reach and I will focus on not repeating my mistakes in whatever form they present themselves in this time.  I will wait and be patient until I can remember how to wake up and find my way out of the silence the right way.  I will be stronger, I will endure and I will try not to lose all of the person I was when I was happier.  Things change and nearly everything is temporary in this, so I will endeavor to control the one thing in this world that I can: me.

Cycles: The circles within the circles within a circle of life…

They say that history repeats.  Well, it does.  In fact life repeats.  Over and over again.  In the creative industry there’s a joke (it’s not really a joke) that a good design is something you saw somewhere and changed just enough (I think the agree percentage is approximately 20% but don’t quote me on that) to call it your original work.  It’s fitting though because your life is currently doing the exact same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, obviously on the surface things change.  I’m not saying that whatever god you do or do not believe in is a lazy artist.  We grow, places change, faces change, everything changes.  It’s a depressing constant knowing that basically anything you love or grow attached to will inevitably end.  However, while that’s true on the surface, the truth is you’ve been doing a large number of the same things over and over again throughout these changes.  Thus is your cycles and you will repeat these cycles over and over again until you stop doing the same things, until you learn from that cycle and then break it using your newfound knowledge.  Then a new cycle with a new lesson begins and so on and so on.

Nothing circular here... carry on...

Nothing circular here… carry on…

Cycles are not just personal though, they come in all shapes in sizes.  The state of our planet, even our universe and those beyond are in the mists of cycles that most people can’t even begin to wrap their head around.  The evidence is everywhere, nearly every major function of a system from life itself to the state of energy is in essence circular (if you were to chart it.)  So from massive cosmic cycles that take thousands or millions of years to complete all the way down to your own daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or decades long cycles, the world is repeating and everything you do feeds into it on some level.

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to bring about real change in the world?  Well, think about how hard it is to change one little habit about yourself, and then multiply that by over seven billion, and then factor in that you’d have to get a pretty large percentage of those seven billion on board with said change at the same time.  It’s starting to sound like rocket science, but it’s not.  But it is hard (I mean look at congress for god’s sake… and that’s only 535 people!!)  I don’t want to say it’s impossible, but I honestly can’t fathom anything short of global catastrophe (or enlightenment?) affecting a change that large.  And so many of the world’s woes that might easily be solved with our abundance of resources and technology… are not.

What I decided in my infinite selfishness is that the best thing I can do is try not to be part of the problem.  That means being actively self-aware, and trying to manage and break my own cycles in order to keep growing.  I’ve failed miserably at romance for nearly a decade, so obviously I haven’t figured that one out yet (despite having a much more solid sex life than many…) but I’ve made good progress in other areas like career development and not being an ignorant drone (always a plus.)  So in order to break your cycles and learn your lessons (hopefully gracefully) the first step is figuring out how to recognize them.

A bit like this.

A bit like this.

In every cycle you will find key similarities.  The trick is to ignore the surface and look for the situational similarities.  For instance, for each round of a specific cycle of my life, there is always one girl that we’ve all but agreed to hook up at some point, but due to circumstances, it never actually happens.  It’s not casual, it’s blatant, like “Well that should’ve happened right then but didn’t because… random occurrence.”   There is always that specific role that is played.  So as soon as I recognize that person, I can try to figure out what that’s trying to teach me, and carry on differently than I did before (or, if I don’t care to break that aspect of the cycle, not.)  Also, there’s always a “Jessica”, and they always play a key non-primary role in my major cycle.  This is complicated because obviously there’s all kinds of Jessicas running around in the world, but once they find their way into my world I can usually tell who it is specifically that will play that role.  Then based on that I can figure out where I am in that cycle by looking at previous events and comparing them to how things are shaping up now.

I realize that all of this sounds obscure, and a little silly, but I invite you to take a look around and recognize the similarities between what you have done and what you are doing.  Humans are creatures of habit, and it’s not simply a matter of small things like biting your nails or showering at night. When the world throws the same situations at you over and over again, and they don’t really end great, it’s really powerful to be able to realize it and choose to make a change.  That sort of awareness is what allows you to break the cycle and grow.  When you get good at recognizing them, you can choose to keep some intact and break others.  Every time you break a cycle, you create a new one and you can evaluate whether it’s good for you or not and what to do about it.

I believe this is the actual secret to success in this world.  The law of attraction feeds into this as well, since your thoughts (positive and negative) are what affect these cycles.  Those who have an abundance of money, love, power or what have you, have developed the cycles that keep bringing these things to them.  Whether they are aware of it or not, they are maintaining certain cycles while disciplining themselves to break those that go agains them.  However, sometimes not recognizing their cycles has cause these people to lose things as quickly as they gained them.  A bad decision can just as easily break a good cycle as the right one can break a bad cycle.  So think about your life, recognize your cycles and go to work figuring out what you need to do to keep the good ones and break the bad ones.  Temporarily, change can be uncomfortable and even painful, but if you understand why it’s necessary, and the good things to come, it’s a lot easier to accept.