Looking Inward in 2015
I like to think I’m not stressed, but I know that stress can come in many different forms and show itself in many different ways. I’m not necessarily stressed by ‘normal’ things like money, but there’s a good chance I’m stressed about some other not-so-apparent causes. Just look at some of my recent posts; they’re all about what I am and where we’re going and what it all means… the fact that I’m even writing this at all right now says something about what’s usually on my mind! So what am I going to do about it?
I need to really try and not stress out about things, including worrying about what people think of me because, I’m going to be honest… I DO care what people think of me, probably more than I should. I like to pretend that I don’t, but I do. I think all of us do to a certain extent. I mean, people have to in a society of any kind. But I think we (me, for sure) care more than we should. And I don’t mean that I care too much about how I look or other “shallow” things, but more like in terms of what is expected of me. Am I accomplishing enough? Am I contributing enough? Am I playing the roll society had deemed acceptable for someone in my position correctly? Worrying about these things and actively trying to attain that status of accomplishment can be very taxing. Maybe all that worrying is causing excess stress. Yes, I need to work to pay bills and go to boring events, but that doesn’t mean I need to stress out over them.
I’ve been hearing a lot about meditation and mindfulness lately and from what I’ve learned, it looks like it might be a beneficial thing for me to pursue. I’ve looked into it before but haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for to get me started. I’m not looking for ‘spiritual enlightenment’ or ‘transcendence’ or a religious state of mind, just some simple time to think and reflect on life to relax and be at peace with the world. Because, “the unexamined life isn’t worth living,” right? Being satisfied and happy with life is the ultimate goal.
I also need to start focusing more on things that I can do as opposed to things that I think I should be doing. I want to focus on things that I know how to do and come easily to me and things that I’m comfortable with so I can truly appreciate those things for what they are, instead of things I think I should be concentrating on because of societal pressures. I feel like I’m always worried about what I don’t know and what I should know for work, or in life in general, and I think that has caused a lot of stress for me.
Since I work at an electronics company and have an electronics degree I always feel like I should know much more than I do about electronics so I stress out about trying to learn new things – which sounds good on the surface, I mean, shouldn’t we all push ourselves and strive to be a little bit better? Yes, that’s true, but since I’m not really using these things I’ve learned on a regular basis and applying that knowledge I’ve worked for, I end up forgetting anyway and wind up where I was before I started, only with a little stress added on top. Learning the in’s-and-out’s of a Linux operating system for example, doesn’t necessarily benefit me if I never end up using that knowledge.
I think instead I should embrace the things I do know. I’m the type of person who knows just a little bit about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything. I should start really diving into some of the things I’m comfortable with and truly learn them. Learn all the constellations for example; astronomy is one of my passions and knowing the constellations can be useful sometimes. Or learning the names of trees, or I could try studying maps and become better acquainted with the world we live in – or I could try the best of both worlds and tinker with simple circuits that I understand while also making a better foundation for my electronics experience which helps my professional career. To make an analogy, this is basically the difference between a ‘general science’ class and a specialized ‘physics of stellar evolution’ course – I believe I would fit much better in the former.
The point is, I think I should stop worrying so much about what I don’t know and what standards I may or may not being living up to and just embrace what I am and who I am and go from there. I’m too worried about what I should be rather than loving who I am and becoming just a better me. I don’t want to be embarrassed around other people when I don’t know something and truly be OK with it. Again, not take peoples judgment of me personally and just be proud of who I am, including my flaws.
There are a few other things I stress out over that I haven’t exactly figured out how to deal with yet. One is worrying whether I’m doing enough with my kids – am I spending enough time with them, am I helping enough, am I playing with them enough… I truly feel that I am and in fact, I think I do at least as much as my parents did for me growing up and I loved my childhood. But there’s always this nagging in the back of my mind that I should be doing more. Another thing is generic marital turmoil. Again, I feel like I’m easily fulfilling my society-defined “duties” as a father, husband, home-owner, roommate, and basic man-of-the-house, but I do not get that reassurance and in fact, get actively accused of not doing so. Of course there’s two sides to every story, and I’m not trying to air out personal dirty laundry here, but I haven’t found a way to reconcile household differences of opinion, let alone a solution, to be able to ease that stress. One more example would be my health. I believe myself to be a healthy person; I exercise regularly, eat well, am a healthy weight, but still think I have cancer or am going to die soon from some terminal illness. It’s just another thing I have to work on…
Confidence in myself and less stress are going to be major themes for me in the new year. Utilizing mindfulness and my existing talents is what I’m going to strive for in 2015 which hopefully will lead to a more happy “me.” Because happiness is the point, right? I just want to be happy… like this turtle!