July 23rd, 2012

Ctrl+Alt+Del - Scott & Ted

Defining what it means to have a life

In a rather round-about way I have discovered that I don't have a life.

For the longest time work was my life. It took up enough of my time and energy and provided a few people to socialize with that I didn't think too much about it. But it wasn't fulfilling and it wasn't going anywhere, and eventually I realized it was impeding my energy and drive to do things beyond it. So for the second time in my life I quit a job. This was 9 months ago, and a lot of major factors have changed since. Relationships have ended and began and ended and continued. Moved across the country. Freelance work has come and gone. Yet the basics remain that I don't have a life.

So to answer that question, to discover why I feel I don't have a life and what I need to do about it, I must define what it means to have a life. At the most basic level to have a life means wanting to be alive, beyond simply desiring not being dead. This in turn means wanting something: passion, interest, desire, drive, connection. All of those things result in wanting or having something in which you must want to be alive for. But what are those things? They are a set of priorities or goals and are unique to each person. Some people want a partner, a family, to create music, to check off some life-long achievement just to say they've done it, etc.

What do I want, and what can I do?
  • On some levels I want to be needed. Someone who confides in me, or appreciates what I do, whether at home or work or wherever. It's a selfish desire, but I think we're allowed some of those as long as they don't get out of hand or consume us.
  • I want to create something that would be useful or entertaining. A program or game, such as a development tool, a multiplayer game, or something that has the potential to make life easier.
  • To have activities that hold my interest and new things to learn (a definition that uses itself to define itself, yes). These things should teach me more, or otherwise fulfill a purpose beyond the mere doing of them.
  • I want more disposable income so I don't need to worry how much a 20$ purchase adds up every time I go out or enable at least one regular activity (see above). I also want to be able to do something semi-big every other month or so, like a multi-day trip out of town to see friends or go to a conference.

There is probably more, but that's all I've got for now.
  • Current Music
    "Electric Daisy Violin" by "Lindsey Stirling" (Pandora)
Ctrl+Alt+Del - Scott & Ted

Sometimes it's not about intent, it's about perception & understanding

Recently, upon trying to convey how I feel, I've had different people tell me that they didn't think they were X, which in itself belays the problem.

Quite often, and this is something I've run into a lot myself, it's not about how you perceive yourself or your actions, but how the other person perceives you. While we shouldn't let what other people might think stop us from doing something, that doesn't mean we should be oblivious to our impact on others. We can only continue to relate to a person if we understand how they feel. If we're not willing to accept that this is how they felt, and potentially do something about it, then we've come to an impasse on interacting with this person. Rather than try to understand how they reached they conclusion, and why, we've essentially said their feelings are invalid and irrelevant, which in turn very likely says they are irrelevant.

Even something as simple as "I may not agree with you, but I understand how you reached that conclusion" would go a long way toward bridging differences, but additionally "in the future I'll be [xyz (e.g. more explicit, more attentive, etc)]" may be the difference between parting ways, or a luke-warm acquaintance, instead of close ties and better understanding.

If you were to ask any of my previous co-workers or managers you would find this is something I've struggled with quite a bit myself, so I understand what it means to be in that place, and have learned to accept that regardless of how I may think I'm being, the end result may be far from it (especially when it comes to text-only communications).
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    pensive pensive