A lesson in adulting

Dear Universe,

Thank you for the gentle reminder today to be a bigger person, and not stoop to a negative person’s level. Their perception of me is not reality, and how they treat me is not a reflection of me. It’s who they are. In the end, we all seek a meaningful connection, to be heard and understood.

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I did not turn away while my inner child sought them. I kept myself turned to them, and did not resort to a childish tantrum, despite the temptation to fire back with a snide comment, and despite them being confrontational with their words.

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Here’s to adulting, accomplished in baby steps, on a daily basis.

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Prime directive

Lately, my new Netflix indulgence is Star Trek: Next Generation, the best of them, in my opinion. A few episodes mention the “Prime Directive,” which prohibits Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. Whether they’re travelling through time, or protecting a planet or civilization from utter destruction, this is the go-to rule they must obey at all times.

I feel like the last few years, I’ve been violating my own personal Prime Directive, in a way. I’ve been interfering with my own development. True, moving to Sydney, then back to San Francisco after leaving, and now to Seattle, one could argue I’m only distracting myself from real development. Anything I need to deal with will follow me wherever I go. I never thought of it as running away, but I certainly wasn’t staying put and choosing “through” as the way to get past whatever was in front of me.

Yes, perhaps I’ve not taken the straightest, most efficient path. It’s a bit more of a curly doodle than a straight line… but it’s my path, and the roads were not always paved. I’ve done some hard miles, but I’d like to think I still learned things, even if I was perhaps traveling sideways instead of forward.

Thanks to the ever-present constant in physics of time, technically, I can say I was moving forward, in that time moved on, with or without me.

Another pearl of wisdom I picked up from a recent episode of Star Trek came in the second season, once Whoopi Goldberg joined the cast as the Guinan, the intergalactic bartender. I want that job. But I digress…

Wesley Crusher, the child prodigy of the Enterprise, fell in love with a young woman, and seeks advice from Guinan. She told him, “Every time you feel love, it’ll feel different.”

Those words hit hard. Damn, she’s good. It’s true! The things I love about one person are unique to them. Even if someone else had those same qualities, they probably wouldn’t have the exact combination of attributes that I love in someone else. Each person I encounter brings out something different in me. What resonates in me with each person is its own song. I connect with certain people over some things, but not others. Every love is unique.

When it comes to love, I wish I could say I abided by my own Prime Directive even more. Just once, I’d like to not in get in my own way, sabotaging myself from the outset by overthinking it, fantasizing, imagining, expecting, worrying, doubting, wanting it too much, forcing it, rather than letting it grow organically and naturally evolve.

The Prime Directive intrigues me, because in theory, it’s a great idea. But it’s also wholly subjective. What one interprets as a natural course of actions may indeed be interfering, when viewed from another perspective.

Take the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, for example, which states it is impossible to “beat the market” because stock market efficiency causes existing share prices to always incorporate and reflect all relevant information. There is no arbitrage because all information gaps which can lead to arbitrage simply don’t exist under this assumption. We all know the market is not perfect, nor does everyone have all information at any given time. So the Efficient Markets Hypothesis sounds wonderful in a vacuum, but it’s just not how it is.

That’s how I think about the Prime Directive. It’s almost a paradox, because all the interference by a member of Starfleet could be said to stop development, but that interference with every being one encounters IS development. We learn from every encounter. How can we interact without developing somehow? Every love feels different and is different, and has an impact, even if immeasurable.

In the end, I have to be the person I was meant to be. San Francisco, Sydney, Seattle… they are all places that have contributed, or will, to the me that I am. If living in those cities was wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Working at the company I have for the last 11+ years was not interfering with my development, despite moments of feeling distinctly that, but it was necessary for me, in order to be the person I am today.

Or life is yours to miss

The out of office notification has been set on my work email (not quite the blunt “Don’t bother me; I’m living.”) All appraisals for my staff are in, as are all appraisals for myself. All client work has been issued and completed. I’ve managed to make it to the beginning of my 2 month sabbatical from work in one piece. It’s glorious.

Rather than the usual anti-climactic dissatisfaction of completing a project in the midst of 5 other projects running simultaneously, I have managed somehow to orchestrate a crescendo of sweet release all at once. The conductor encourages the silence to play its instrument and it has its moment in the symphony. And it, too, makes a glorious sound.

The sun is shining on this Saturday morning. The weekend and the next two months hold such potential of sheer life enjoyment. I’m enjoying my last weekend in San Francisco for a long time. Fresh coffee just the way I like it in a mug from my alma mater, Chico State. The logo has faded off the mug with time but it still remains with me after 15 years.

Many who know me know I have a coffee cup collection. Most are additions from the Starbucks city mug collection. I like to have mugs from places my friends and I have travelled. This Chico State mug is from the beginnings of my collection, before all my travels, before it was even a collection. College was my first real adventure on my own. Before all of the city mugs, there was this one. It’s one of a kind – the original. The first. It’s been with me a long time, through many apartments and even multiple continents. I am going back to my roots through a seemingly meaningless detail of my coffee routine this morning.

I read an article this morning which struck a chord within me, because I am sort of doing the same thing. Here’s the article, if you’re interested:

This line in particular resonated: “The hardest part was convincing myself it was OK to do something for no other reason than to change the narrative of my life.”

That is, in a nutshell, my biggest challenge. For a fairly selfless person, I need to give myself permission to be selfish. To take time off for me. To spend my hard earned money on a collection of experiences and future stories in Europe during the summer of 2015. I don’t want to be too old to enjoy the time I finally take off, sometime in my 60’s when I retire. These are the days. Now is the time – when I can still walk, after my multiple knee surgeries, before I have bionic legs or an electric wheelchair. While I’m still relatively young and can still make money to re-save what I spend. Most importantly: when I want to do it. My life. My rules. I need no one’s approval but my own, now.

Some say I’m brave, other’s insist I’m stupid. I smugly retort, “I am both.”

I’m enjoying the silence of a Saturday morning, the morning sun in my apartment, which I will miss dearly on this 2 month adventure. I love you, bed. You complete me, couch. Stop looking at me, rubber duckies in the shower. I am on a precipice of a new adventure, readying myself to jump. It thrills me and scares me, all at once. But most of all, it makes me happy. That’s all I need to focus on right now.

I have a life to live. No day but today.

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