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Profit vs Progress – A Personal Struggle

The path to progress and profit

Image taken from an article on Good.Is titled Progress vs Profit

I am at a cross roads in my life. My current job pays the bills with extra to stash away in the bank, it has good benefits, and I am basically completely independent and can prioritize my day in any way as long as it benefits the company and stuff gets done.

However, my job does not make me happy. I do not feel like I am accomplishing anything, that I am giving back in any way, or that I am being challenged at all. There is no growth here, those above me on the food chain I often think are idiots or spineless, and a lot of my comments or suggestions fall on deaf ears. I take attitude from my users, tell my boss, and am told to “bite the bullet”. I ask for a reasonable raise, and I’m told that my boss has consulted the vendors that work for me and that they say that doesn’t seem reasonable. I do not hate my coworkers, but I enjoy the company of very few and have even fewer that I have a anything in common with. There is no creativity here. There is no self expression. It is a dull and lifeless place full of squabbling hens and cocky roosters.

I have decided I want nothing more to do with this “easy” life path to Profit, I want a fulfilling one that challenges me. I still want to Profit so I can pay my bills and feel financially secure, but I also want to feel like I’m on the path to Progress and doing something with myself and the world around me.  Not only does the squiggly line look like the harder path but it looks like there are way more chances for adventure on it. And my life, thus far, has been seriously lacking in any real adventures.

Growing up I always thought that money = freedom and debt = prison. I needed a lot of money to live a fulfilling life and to have a real sense of self-worth. I believed that up until I started writing this entry.  Money is a prison for me. The more I make, the more I need, and the less secure I feel. I keep saying that once I am making a certain amount of money a year, or have a certian amount in the bank, I will feel less stressed and more secure, but the closer I get to that goal the more anxiety I feel. The more money I have in the bank the worse I feel about buying anything at all. The bigger my financial cushion the more terrified I become of falling, failing, and losing it.

I feel better being able to mull over this internally and look forward to hearing Amy’s (and anyone else’s) thoughts on it. I don’t really know how I am going to get over my unhealthy relationship with money, but I’m ready for something to derail me from the Profit Path and get me started down the line with a little more Progress in it.

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LeakyCon 2012: Welcome Home

LeakyCon is a Harry Potter convention. That is the generic answer to the often asked “What is?” question. This isn’t the whole truth. The whole truth is very hard to put into words for people who have never been passionate about something as simple as a book,  movie, or TV show. It’s hard to explain to people who fit in to the normal every day, who don’t know what it’s like to have a hard time finding other people who share in your love of fictional universes. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to just find people that accept your passion for fiction at all without ridicule.

LeakyCon is more than a Harry Potter convention. It’s a safe haven, a loving community, a bunch of people changing the world by being themselves and loving every minute of it. We make new friends, we sing silly songs, and we watch crazy productions put together by other fans. We raise money, we raise awareness, and we inspire people.

For me, someone who isn’t a huge Harry Potter fan, I only ever went because my sister wanted me to go with her. I was astounded to find a community of people who I fell in love with. A place where I felt more at home then I do in my own town and where I feel more comfortable being myself then I do with the people I hang out with on the weekends. A place where my social anxieties lessened and I feel comfortable letting my inner child run amok and telling strangers how awesome they were for doing the same.

LeakyCon, to me, has become way more than just a convention about Harry Potter. It’s the place I go to remind myself that it’s OK to be me, and that there are many, many other people out there who are struggling to be true to themselves in this world too. The sad fact of the matter is as the last day rolls around you hear people who are genuinely heart broken at the thought of leaving. Not because they will miss the parties and stalking celebrities, but because they will miss each other and that feeling of safety and acceptance. The days after the conference are followed by realizing again that it’s not socially acceptable to talk to strangers while waiting in line at the check out or to break out into song whenever you feel like it.  It’s not OK to wear a witches hat or be passionate about something other then politics or a major crisis. We are reminded that we should yell at each other instead of listening,  think of ourselves before others, and suppress what makes us individuals so we better function with the mass organism that is humanity.  Our convention is called stupid, a waste of time, and we are given funny looks and made to feel bad for taking a few days out of our lives to enjoy ourselves like we never could back in the “real world”.

This brief instance in time that seems to exist in a completely different universe is one of the most amazing things I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. You will find very few other places in the world  where love and acceptance are the main themes, where you can hug a stranger and feel good about it, and where you can make a new life long friend in a day.

It’s not about Harry Potter, or the actors, or the shows and panels. It’s about all the strangers who come together, accept and love each other the moment they set foot in the convention halls, and that desire to make the world feel more like home. That’s what makes this convention great and that’s what will carry it into the years to come. I can only hope that someday I can be a part of creating something that has such a profound and positive effect on people’s lives as LeakyCon does.

See you in Portland in 2013, LeakyCon. I’ll be there with my wand raised, hugs ready to be shared, and an open heart and mind.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Conventions, Social Anxiety, Travel

 

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I Should vs I Want

This last session was particularly rough. I left feeling very emotional with my stomach in knots. The changes that Amy had presented that I needed to make were the ones I had feared. I had now been told, by someone who had years of education and was certified on the matter, that I needed to start thinking more about myself than others.

I told Amy about the time I went to Canada to meet an online friend for the first time. I told her how before we had left for the airport on my final day there that he had asked me to stay, and I had said no, because of the job I was supposed to starting the following week. The one that everyone was so proud I had gotten. The one that everyone said was an amazing opportunity for someone just out of community college. The one that my previous employer had helped me get. So, I went home and started that job. Three years later I still regret not staying in Canada and wonder what would have happened if I had. I comfort myself by saying it would have probably been disastrous. I probably wouldn’t have found a job or been able to get a work visa, and thus would have had to come back to the states with nothing to show for it. It might have spelled the end to my long time friendship, the stress of the situation eventually making us hate each other. It could have ended horribly.

But would it have been better to take the chance then to wonder? Would I have always been sad I didn’t take this “amazing opportunity” to work at this job in an industry I didn’t even want to continue on in?

Who knows, really.

This is one of just many things I haven’t done due to my desire to please everyone around me. I can’t stand the thought of letting others down, and I knew if I didn’t come home to start that job a lot of people would have been very unhappy and disappointed in me.  I am quickly approaching 30, and it seems like every day I think of one or two things that I wish I had the courage to do. Those one or two things are always quickly strangled by the thoughts of taking care of other people that I love, how my choices would effect them and their lives, and how selfish a person I must be for even thinking about doing the things I want to do.

I feel absolutely and totally selfish just attempting to figure out what it is I actually want out of life. What I want to do.  The words I and want just seem like such a horrid combination. I feel sick uttering them in my head. They are quickly replaced by I should and I ought and I must, the three phrases that Amy has told me I need to keep out of my thought processes and replace with I want or I will if I feel like it. I must say, this was much easier for the little every day things. But replacing my shoulds with wants for the big, life changing stuff is quite the emotional ordeal. My stomach is in knots and I don’t  even want to try to  think about it. I am terrified of doing what I want to, lest I fail and know that I should have just listened to everyone else.

With the fear, I am also a little excited. How amazing would it be to just make a decision based on what I want and how I feel and not have to take everyone I’ve ever met and what they would think about it into consideration? How freeing would that be? How amazing would that feel? How much happier would I be? Would I be happy with the failure if it was my failure for once and no one else’s? Looking back on life, have I ever really failed so disastrously that it is anything really to be afraid of to begin with?

There are so many questions in my head. So many doubts. My mind doesn’t even know where to start in processing this concept. This blog entry has helped sort out the chaos slightly, but it’s still a muddled pool of confusion in my brain.  This is going to be the hardest part of my therapy, but it might be the key to getting past the other problems of anxiety, depression, and perfectionism in the end.

Time to practice my deep breathing again.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Mental Health

 

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