A Time To Reflect

So as I have said in the past, I often find that I come to this blog in my moments of doubt and confusion in my life.  I believe it was in my last entry that I pointed out I didn’t want to be known as a pessimistic jerk so I was going to try to focus on the positive when I came here to write.  As you may also have noted, it’s been about a month since my last post, which should lead you to believe that things must have been going pretty well for the past month or I have something miserable to discuss tonight.  Thankfully, I suppose, it’s a little bit of both.  Let’s jump right in.

My attempts at being a more confident, happier person have been fairly successful recently.  I haven’t allowed myself to get angry over silly things and despite some frustration over some things at work, I have been pretty calm and tranquil.  I did get upset last weekend at one of the other managers at work, but after having worked with him since day-one seventeen years ago I have come to accept that he is simply an immature asshole and letting him get under my skin is just playing into his stupid games.  Without going into great detail I will simply say that over our time working together, I became an adult, and he remained a child.  Yes, I did get a little more worked up than I should have, but I calmed myself down, and aside from that, I have been chugging along just fine.  Then the car troubles began.

Historically, I have not had much luck with cars.  The primary reason for this usually was that I have always had to buy used cars and sometimes, as they say, you get what you pay for.  I have driven six cars in my life, and only the SUV I had a few years ago managed to avoid getting major service done to it.  In fact, of all those cars, that one was my favorite and I regret that I had to give it up, however I had it at a time when gas prices were ridiculously high and I had just moved much closer to my job.  It did not make sense for me to drive a gas guzzler when I was no longer doing a lot of highway driving, so I traded it in for another used car.  I had that car for only a short while and I just never liked it all that much, so I went out in December of 2010 and bought my first legitimate new car.  It had all of 21 miles on the odometer when I drove it off the lot.  It is incredibly small and not very powerful, but it serves its purpose and I like it.  Unfortunately, I ran into my first troubles with it a few weeks back.  The “check engine” light illuminated on the dashboard, and I knew from experience that wasn’t a good sign.  It’s usually not fatal, but it requires attention.  Sadly, I let my emotions get the better of me and I immediately assumed the worst.  Without even getting it to a mechanic, I was convinced it was going to cost a small fortune to fix and I would have to cancel my trip to Spain simply to cover the cost.  As ridiculous as it was, I almost gave up on something I have been working incredibly hard psychologically to accomplish.  Well, as luck would have it, the problem was relatively minor and it was covered under the warranty, which of course thrilled me to no end.  I took a deep breath and realized not every problem we stumble across daily is the end all be all worst case scenario we can face.

Things had been going on wonderfully since then until this afternoon, while out with a friend, and the damn light came on again.  This time I was much farther from home and felt like just getting back to my apartment was going to be an adventure.  A costly adventure.  As I sit here and write this, I should note that I am home in my apartment and the car is parked outside.  It hasn’t been to  mechanic yet and the problem didn’t go away, but I managed to remain calm, tell myself not to get worked up over things, and I got myself home without too much difficulty.  Sure, I had to stay off the highway, but I am home and as of right now, the trip to Spain is still on.  I know from someone else’s perspective, I shouldn’t be too worried, but I still have that nagging sensation that things aren’t quite right, and I will feel that way until Monday when I have an appointment to have the car looked at.  I am hoping once again it is something minor that is covered under the warranty, and I shouldn’t even allow myself to think about the alternative possibilities.  Sure, I guess good advice is to always plan for the worst and hope for the best, but laying awake playing out the various disaster scenarios in my head isn’t going to solve anything.

Before my “awakening” or whatever you want to call it, I would often toss and turn, even as a small boy, laying awake all night long thinking over the possible outcomes of whatever was troubling me at the time.  My mother used to say I was going to give myself an ulcer and she was probably right.  Now when I head to bed, unless I am overly caffeinated, I try not to play out any scenes in my head.  I do my best to let the things I can’t control at the moment be brushed aside from my thoughts and I focus on remaining calm and happy, or at least not all grumpy and aggravated.  Today was my day off and it would have been very easy for me to use my car issue as a reason to be down all day, but instead, I parked the car at my friends house for the afternoon and we continued on with our plans using his car instead of mine.  Obviously everyday is a challenge.  We all face troubles big and small day after day.  I mean, if I think about it, even on the best of days, I am sure I can find something that set me back a bit, and even on those days when I have been down in the dumps, there was certainly some positive ray of light somewhere along the way.  One of the things I have been focusing on for myself is truly believing that emotions are a choice and aside from gut reactions we have to things, we can all choose how we are going to feel.  I know that may be a bit broad, as certainly we can all think of scenarios where we are going to feel like crap no matter how hard we try to stay positive, but we can still try to find those little rays of goodness through any situation.

About a week ago, I had dinner with my boss’s wife.  Yes, that sounds a little odd, but let me explain.  She has really been one of, if not the reason I mustered up the courage to go to Spain.  That being said, my going to Spain has been my reason to dig myself out of my depression and live my life, not just exist.  I won’t be so overly melodramatic to say she is the reason I am alive, but I will say that she is part of the reason I am choosing to live a fuller life.  I had a choice a few weeks back to either go on existing without any goals or things to really look forward to, or to decide what I wanted to do in my life to challenge myself and make my existence count for something.  Sure, some of the cheesy sayings I share with her are a little silly, but they make me feel good, and one of the most important things I have learned is that making others feel good really helps me to feel good about myself.  All those people who like to go around picking on people and bring them down think they are making themselves feel good, but I suspect on the inside they are just as dark and dreary as I was a few months back.  I’m not about to join a dance troupe and sing about my new found happiness, but I am not shy about saying that I am actually happy for the first time in a long long time.  So what does this have to do with going out to dinner?  Well, unfortunately, despite all er efforts to bring happiness to others, she herself is dealing with some tough issues at home and while she puts on a smile whenever we talk, I can tell she is struggling to stay happy.  I think having someone to talk to is helpful for anyone, so she and I talking over dinner was therapeutic for us both.  It was a weird feeling form e when dinner was over.  I think it was a sense of being more connected as friends and the only reason it seemed odd to me was that for years she was simply my boss, but now to call her a friend makes me feel good.  It’s not strange, but I worry about the ramifications from my boss.  You see, without going into personal details, a lot of her sadness stems from her relationship with my boss.  She told me in confidence things that only friends would talk about and I promised I would keep quiet but again, knowing that she felt close enough to me to share her thoughts and concerns made me feel good about me and our friendship.

I have two people in my life that I am fortunate enough to call best friends.  We can talk about just about anything and I feel safe opening up to them about my personal life.  I doubt I will ever have that type of friendship with my boss’s wife, but I am glad to now be close to her because she surrounds herself with basically happy, positive people and I think that’s the type of people I need to be around.  All too often I am with people who like to use me as the butt of their jokes, and I have decided it’s time to let those people drift out of my life.  Staying positive and upbeat about things, while not always easy, has been really helpful in just making me feel better overall.  While yes, I suppose I still have some problems in my life, overall they are not that terrible and while it will take some work if I want to really change my position in life, I have really come to believe that anything is possible if we make a plan and stick to it.  I still have ten months before I leave for Spain and it is very possible I will hit some stumbling blocks along the way, but instead of worrying myself sick over that I can just as easily tell myself that it may actually be easier than I thought to save the money and make this trip.  I used to say I was afraid to fly and I allowed that to prevent me from taking trips, but right now, I can say with confidence that while sure, I may be a little tense on the flight, I am not afraid and I will not let even the thought of fear hold me back.

I’d like to keep writing but I think it best to get to bed now.  I have every intention of writing her again soon, but as it appears I write on average once a month, it may be a while before my next entry.  In any case, as always, we’ll talk soon.

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~ by James on July 4, 2014.

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