Assume the Position

In life, it would appear role play isn’t simply relegated to the bedroom.

This thought came to me as I considered the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. Normally, I detest this practice because it sets me up to make promises that I have zero intention of keeping, which then creates a domino effect of self-effacing for the remainder of the year; what begins as a noble introspective attempt at creating a better me suddenly morphed into an analysis of how and why we seek certain changes in our lives. I then began thinking about how in so many aspects of our being, people adjust or conform to whatever societal norm to either fit in or survive.

After it occurred to me that I’ve been steadily drinking my way through the month of December, I realized I was thinking way too much… but by then my mind locked onto the concept that — whether consciously or subconsciously — men and women desire “titles” or “positions” for status. Manager. Director. Boss. Girlfriend. Boyfriend. Wife. Husband. Mother. Father. Best Friend.

Which finally brings me to the point: It’s all well and good to be that person… if you really want to be that person. Unfortunately, we willingly demand these positions while being unwilling to do the work required of them.

Many of us have encountered a situation or two where our workplace has had less than effective management, so it’s easy to relate when we hear someone isn’t doing the job they pushed, pleaded and schemed to get (hell, politicians are providing some of the finest examples right now). But rarely do we acknowledge how we do that in relationships with people… and even ourselves.

Recently, it occurred to me just how dishonest I’d been with myself when it came to the “positions” I’ve (allegedly) wanted. For the majority of my years, I’ve accepted jobs, boyfriends, and other things simply based on the fact that they were options presented at that moment… instead of taking the time to assess whether mutual needs and desires were being met. I always hated disappointing people, and in my twisted logic felt compelled to remain in unpleasant situations despite the stress it would ultimately incur. Needless to say, I remain unfulfilled, but these days I’m more at peace with disappointments and find them to be fantastic lessons as I pursue my true position in this world.

Most importantly… I also take less shit.

As this year — with all its trials, tribulations, tragedies and transitions — comes to a close, my hope is that 2013 brings about an awakening of our minds, bodies and souls… allowing people to become more accepting of themselves and others for who they are. The tolerance of intolerance has produced disastrous results in the form of racism, bullying, homophobia, political unrest, and overall disparity between genders, class and even the mental and physically disabled. The new year requires a new perspective, to say the least.

It all starts with being true to ourselves and others… because the simple truth is, what we receive in this life is intrinsically connected to the effort we put into it. And if we’re not giving our best in any role — be it in work, play, and general existence — we set ourselves up to not just fail as an individual, but also those we affect through our actions.

Besides, there isn’t a more gratifying feeling than a job well done.

 

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As Time Goes By…

I’m not sure why… but years ago, I used to give decorative wall clocks as wedding gifts. Ironic, seeing I was often “punctually challenged” when it came to being places by force.

Anyway, these large timepieces would always be accompanied with poems I’d written about time being spent together… or something or another.

To this day, I’m not sure if the intent was to be clever and thoughtful about getting them to cherish every moment in each other’s company, or if I was just giving them a very large stopwatch to count the minutes before they decided they made an error in judgement.

In any case, my gifts these days tend to veer toward monetary contributions and an occasional “honeymoon accessory”.

For some reason, back then, I was more obsessed with how other people used their time on this earth, and less focused and ultimately more wasteful of my own time on this planet. As people grew up, grew stronger, grew apart, grew to know more and grew to care less… I grew jaded, fearful, and distant from everything I wanted in life.

Not to say a whole hell of a lot has changed — I’m still a work in progress — but I’m chipping away new things every day. There is a certain freedom and pleasure in knowing and being true to ones self, and not being afraid to go against the grain to become the masterpiece you always knew you could be. I’m just more cognizant of the fact that there is, in fact, a timetable to make it happen. Whether we like it or not. We all have a deadline.

As I stare down the barrel of the shotgun that is my impending 37th birthday, it’s becoming clearer to me why elders are often more ornery and impatient; the older you get, the more precious time becomes. Why would you want to waste any minute of your life doing things you don’t want to do or be around people who don’t respect you, share your views, or make your life easier and more pleasant to endure?

This past Thanksgiving was special for me in the realization of just how fortunate I am, and how valuable each moment is. To commemorate this re-devotion to making every moment count, I’ve been opening my mind to new things once again. I signed up for a race with some girlfriends, and thanks to the good people at LivingSocial, I’m going to shoot a gun and take an aerial circus class. I’m also trying to recruit my cousin in Philly to jump out of a plane with me, but if she chickens out, I’ll have an extra photographer for when I do it (or someone who can immediately contact our relatives from the scene to alert them of my demise).

The point is, as I get older, life get shorter. Perhaps I may live a long healthy existence well into my golden years, but each passing day is one less (and more) opportunity to do something different and new to create fabulous memories. Granted, I’ve already amassed some great moments in my lifetime thus far, but there’s always room for another.

After reading “Grace: A Memoir” by Grace Coddington, I realized that I’ve got another thirty years before I can become the comfortably settled woman the fiery Ms. Coddington has become. Which means I have plenty of time to spend many nights at crazy parties with a cast of characters in the fashion, art and entertainment industry and shack up with dubious men of foreign descent.

Oh wait… I’ve already done these things.

Let’s just start with the race, the plane dive, the air twirling and the gun, and see where the rest of the new year takes me…

Either way, I’ll embrace every minute as if it were my last.