Category Archives: Behavior

The Exclusion Observation

I know this one is obvious.

I can’t tell you how often I hear about other people engaging in it.

I’ve known for most of my adult life how damaging this can be to people. Even if they don’t say so. They are waiting for you to understand. Most people might not until they’ve experienced it themselves. Or until someone they love communicates the hurt it engenders.

Love, X

Surprise! I’m Me Again

Erika surprised me last weekend with not one but two pairs of shoes. ( She even bought them new. πŸ™‚ ) She was tired of seeing my worn-out but very comfortable work shoes. One of the pairs makes me feel like the god Mercury. The other pair? I literally danced and took off running at Academy when I felt how light they made me feel. I already feel that way most days, as if I’m a burning battery and my feet not quite touching the ground. Just at work today, I walked 23,000 steps, 75 flights of stairs, and jumped three railings. For years, I accommodated a huge amount of weight. I try not to think about spending those years not being the way I was always supposed to be. All the picnic tables I did not jump, all the miles I could have traversed in all manner of places, and the energy hidden inside my body but camouflaged by poor eating choices. Don’t get me wrong. I was very active and especially so because of my job. But there’s no getting around I foolishly convinced myself that it was more pleasurable to overeat than to feel the way I do now. As my friend Tammy taught me to say, nothing tastes as good as this feels. I know I won’t always be this way because age has no choice but to rob us incrementally of mobility. So if you see me jumping things I’m not supposed to be… Laugh and give me encouragement. You can laugh twice as hard if I bust my ass. Because one day, I will be like that native American next to the highway littered with trash, a tear in my eye, as I look upon a picnic table that I can no longer jump. So for today and all the days I can, I will pirouette, jump, climb trees, and remember what it felt like when I wasn’t truly me.

Love X
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In Sickness and Health (A Caveat)

“In sickness and health” is a beautiful standard. It reminds us that life isn’t easy.

I’ll leave it to someone whose opinion I cherish to briefly sum up one of the caveats that eluded me: “A cancer diagnosis falls under β€œin sickness and in health.” Choosing obesity does not.”

It’s also true for alcoholism or anything that is behavior-driven. Overcoming any of these problems is a lot of work. Of course it is!

This doesn’t imply that some people don’t have physical or emotional struggles that make it harder. I’m not discussing the outliers. I’m talking about most of us, the ones who fall into drinking and slowly drive our loved ones mad with concern and consequences. Or those who gain weight and instead of honestly addressing the issue, learn to accommodate the effects of their choices. Their partners might be the most loving people in the world. They might encourage, they might support, and they might also quietly watch the person they love lose sight of their health. But the partner with the behavioral issue is making the decision for both partners.

I’m reluctant to talk about weight for a lot of reasons, one of which is that it impacted me personally, both as the person guilty of it and then the person attempting to get my partner to see that the consequences of choosing to let it get worse were damaging our quality of life on multiple levels. The other thing that makes me hesitant is that we have such a huge taboo against openly and honestly talking about weight. It’s a global problem.

Love is a feeling. It is also action. And reciprocal and mutual action when it affects your partner. When the consequences of your choices rob both of you of the enjoyment of life and each other, it’s no shame for your partner to ask you to do something different. They wouldn’t ask if they didn’t love you.

I only equate alcoholism and obesity because of the complexities of both behaviors. They both require a realization on the part of the person affected by them. And both bring consequences to both partners attempting to lead a good, healthy life.

It shouldn’t be taboo to talk about either one. And if anger results from either conversation, you have a bigger problem. But the anger also acknowledges the severity of the underlying conversation.

Love, X

Somewhere

If you think about the fact that somewhere right now, there’s someone who is starving for what you can give, it can be both unnerving and comforting. Finding that person in the haystack is the obstacle. As difficult as it is, I know the only way to find that person is to wear your heart and thoughts on your sleeve. But that’s not what we do. We play it safe right down the middle, mostly believing that’s the best way. At that point, many of us are stuck in that role. As contradictory as it sounds, you do have to come across authentically. It’s that position of trust in yourself and in others that helps you find what you’re looking for and need.

Love, X

Communication

It’s true in business, and it’s true in relationships. Fundamentally, it would be better in both realms if people could express themselves without the messenger getting shot. To be able to present information, opinions, or even feelings based on their perspective or expertise. In business, you’re paying people for both output and experience. In relationships, you’re mutually and reciprocally invested in helping one another. We’re not mind readers. I find across the board that our reluctant response to heed this advice is one of our biggest grievances as human beings. As the level of inability to communicate openly decreases, the volatility and dissatisfaction we experience both as employees and people slowly boils us. In any connection in which communication is not welcome, unexpected and undesirable results inevitably follow.

Love, X

Karma

Karma is not real. Any close observer to the universe and human behavior can see that. It’s probably a good thing for all of us. On the other hand, it would be an ideal world in which we suffered the consequences and paid the price immediately for wrong choices. It would make us be deliberate and probably much more caring about how our words and actions affect other people. Equally true is that it would be a beautiful world if we all communicated honestly, even if such honesty were difficult to get used to. Imagine how much time and energy it would save us. It would push people to learn healthy behaviors instead of learning how to conceal who they really are or what’s going on in their heads. Sunlight never hurt anyone and it’s the basis for all life on Earth. A feeble metaphor on my part, but one I imagine many people will be nodding in agreement with.

Love, X

A Truth

I’ve never been one to worry much about how I look.

At 55 years and 11 months, I honestly don’t care if I have to strip down naked at the Farmer’s Market. I don’t know why that would happen, but I’m ready either way.

If something bothers me, I will fix it. And if I can’t, like my hair, I embrace it and laugh. You can mock me for short hair or no hair all you’d like. It doesn’t offend me. It’s like holding me responsible for the blue jay screeching outside your window on a Sunday morning.

I can look anyone in the eyes and feel like they’re equal. I’m not fooled and not plagued by insecurity.

All the titles, ranks, and positions are illusions. We’re human beings, even if we’ve devised an artificial method to separate and distinguish ourselves.

I know what you’re thinking during the day and when you lay down at night. And sometimes you want to curl up and read a book or binge-watch terrible tv. Or you are irritated at your person but just want someone to put their arm around you and enjoy the comfort of someone beside you. Trips to exotic places are fantastic, but life is comprised of smaller pleasures like the first cup of coffee, laughing, or watching people fall off ladders in online videos.

And all of us, no matter what we’ve done or the accomplishments we’ve achieved, pay the same price.

I would have been dangerous with this knowledge at 20.

Unstoppable.

If you’re reading this and you’re young, listen to me, please.

You are as good as anybody you’ll meet. If you put your mind to it, you can run a mile in 4 minutes. You can learn another language, or you can master calculus. You can find someone to love, have a family, or bury yourself in a career.

But you’re going to have to choose your time wisely. It’s not unlimited.

But whatever you want to achieve, whether it’s money, education, or fame, you are as likely as anyone you’ll meet to achieve it if you want it and dedicate your time and energy towards it. You’re looking at many people thinking that they possess some alchemy, intelligence, or energy that you don’t. They don’t.

It’s 100% illusion.

I don’t look at young people the way most people my age do.

I remember what it was like to be scared. And to feel the pressure of my entire life in front of me. I had the disadvantage of trauma and ignorance to overcome.

Maybe to feel like I wasn’t handsome enough or smart enough. The secret is that most of us are average in the literal sense. Embrace it. Joy is when someone finds something that they excel in. It just takes one thing to feel fulfilled.

If you want love, there’s someone looking at you right now with hungry eyes. Yes, there’s also someone looking at you, thinking, “Lord, what a doofus!” You can be happy in a world in which there are both.

If you want to be educated, witty, athletic, or a hermit, you can do that too. Whether you’re 22 or 55. None of us know where our finish line sits.

Love, X
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The Ball Rule, 3 Posts

These are in reverse order, with the most recent first. The Ball Rule is one of those obvious and succinct ways to describe a problem that most couples have.