The Problem with “It Gets Better”

We spend all our time and energy looking forward to some time when everything will be perfect or better. We say to ourselves if we can just get through this its going to get better down the road. Then we’ll have happiness. Then we’ll have some of our life perfectly sorted out and will finally have it all together. But this mindset doesn’t actually work. It’s a continuous cycle that never ends.

Instead of trying to find a better time, instead of trying to look forward to something that will never be achieved, we need to learn how to find joy in our present circumstances. While statistically speaking, if your life sucks it will probably get better. There will probably be a time when your life is going better than it is right now. However, how can we really bet on that if we keep going this way? We’re just going to spend all of our lives unhappy and looking forward to something which will never actually be achieved.

This cycle of saying it will get better when this happens or we are like that perpetuates the image of the worlds success and its standards for what is right. But we shouldn’t really be measuring ourselves by society’s standards. That’s a long road of emptiness. How many times have we looked forward to something – a relationship, a job, a new outfit- or whatever, only to have those fleeing moments of happiness disappear as quickly as they came. And yet everything around us promised that would be it, that would finally seal the deal (successful marketing). For a long time I was caught up in this cycle. The way I got through hard times was to tell myself that if I just held on and gritted my teeth, I’d be okay, and it would be better soon.

This is no way to live.

There will always be bad and good in our lives. True joy comes when you realize this and learn to make peace with the now. Don’t ground your identity in your job, wealth, or how many pull ups you can do. If you do and those things are taken away, what do you have left? Its so freeing to let go of these things. Another wonderful side effect is you’ll be less judgmental. You’ll start to see the good in other people and be able to celebrate it, because they won’t be in your way. Your mind won’t have to tear them down to maintain your status.

Living like this is not an easy journey. Its a process. The pessimist in me makes me fight everyday to appreciate the good in my life and the good in others. Bad news will send me into a tailspin before I finally slow down and can gather my thoughts. But I’m learning slowly and taking it day by day.

As always, the Office strikes me with one liners that make me stop and think.

 This particular one got me hard. Probably because I refuse to admit that the Office is over (its been years and I’m still in denial), but I had to pause when Andy said this. At the time, it rang so true for me. But when I look back now, I can say that if you are truly enjoying life in the now instead of looking ahead or back, every day will be a good ol’ day.

Oh, and if you wanna find out how I’ve learned to have peace in the now, drop me a line, I’d be more than happy to share. Shout out to the man, Matt Chandler, for blowing my mind and challenging me constantly.

I’m out.  wordpress


Mind Games

My mind races like a 10 ton truck hurdling towards the bottom of an 80 degree incline. At any given moment I have at least 5 different trains of thought fanning out in all directions. By the time you’ve finished describing a scenario and posing a question I’ve thought through almost all possible outcomes in their entirety and every detail on the way there. This poses a problem when I forget to do things because my mind is already 20 steps ahead. It just assumes the past is the past and has already been taken care of, only to circle back hours or days later and find the tasks undone.

If I were to try to compose a stream of consciousness work I would be halted immediately because my fingers would not be able to race fast enough to accommodate the thoughts that I have or construct a coherent piece because my thoughts so far from linear they create a thicket of ivy that envelops a wall before you have time to remember what the bare wall used to look like. Still, focusing on writing at least narrows the focus of my mind enough that more energy is devoted to fewer topics, making it easier to reach a thorough conclusion and easing a bit of the inner chaos I constantly experience.

My browser is often littered with tabs from loosely related or completely divergent topics as I hopscotch back and forth among them. When my head hits the pillow at night, there is no command I can give to instill a cease-fire and the neurons in my brain continue to fire. On a good night it takes me an hour or two to fall asleep, on worse it can talk half or the whole of the night.

Can all y’all please stop dreaming about me all the time

Often my thoughts continue as I drift to sleep coming to life and mixing together to produce confusing and vibrant dreams. Many a night I have solved a homework problem in my sleep and suddenly come awake as I furiously seek for a pen and paper to make permanent my fleeting thoughts down before they exit my mind as quickly as they entered. Sometimes when I awake the next day and examine my solution it is correct. Occasionally I find a series of what appear to by symbols and letters and if I’m lucky, complete words, incoherently scrawled across the page in haphazard fashion.

Sometimes I attempt to create order by organizing my thoughts into data structures, but all too often those become so large and complex they cease to be useful and thinking about organizing my thoughts becomes another thought that just adds to the mass. Still, attempting to be algorithmic and patterned can ease some of the pressure and create something that starts to look less like rubble and more like a framework for a structure.

I can assure you that, as with most posts, I have forgotten dozens of ideas I’ve had while composing but disappeared by the time I finished jotting down the core of the previous ones. I currently have four drafts of separate posts, unfinished and unsure of if or when they will be completed.

While most need some sort of entertainment for a plane/car/train ride, such as music or a book unless they plan to sleep, I often simply sit. Being alone with my thoughts for hours is the slightly terrifying feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff as bits of rock and debris under your feet constantly detach and fall over the edge.

As an exercise, take two sets of headphones, attach them to two different devices, and play a different song in each ear with the volume turned up. Your brain will be confused, you’ll have a very odd sensation, and you won’t quite know what to do with the simultaneous divergent audio information. Multiply this by 2-4 and you’ll have an idea of what it is like to be inside my head at any given moment.

Because my brain is always on overdrive, I get bored easily. Ordinary days, tasks, events, movies, etc (the list goes on and on) bore me. Conversations bore me. Sometimes I bore me. I’m constantly seeking new forms of stimulation and a pattern change. Often when I watch TV or a movie, I’m doing several other things at the same time. I’ve left movies before because I was so bored half way through I didn’t want to waste my time watching the end.

If this post seems anarchic it’s because it is. This is slightly representative of my thoughts. It is a more structured and edited versions of my thoughts on my own thoughts.

Welcome to my mind. May your stay be more manageable than mine.