Friday, October 23, 2015

It's that time of the year (when I write)

Not that many people read my ramblings here-- but I have been posting here at a glacial frequency.

Anyway, I guess that the time to write again has come. First, it always surprises me how things have changed since I started this blog. But I don't want to do a comparison of different locations on a timeline right now or write about my work, or whine about how different I am or about how society pushes me in one direction or the other. No bureaucracy, no countries, no complaints.

At this point there's honestly no red tape to worry about, my job is on track and secure, nobody is pushing me and I am comfortable where I live right now. I make sure to stop every now and then to be grateful for all this - like really meaning that gratitude.

I do want to write (read: ruminate) about other stuff I have been thinking about, which involves more of my non-work being. Removing myself from the pressure of family and country has helped me get to know myself a little better, especially in terms of who I am and what I really want. Here is what I found:

-I needed to do some serious work with my boundaries. This helped me move from apparently helpless, uncomfortable situations to being comfortable with my own choices. Therefore I have become more confident in doing what I need to do to better take care of myself. In other words, I started to operate more like: I'm ok, you're ok -- we can be together but I have these limits. We teach people how to treat us. Saying no and not feel guilty about is is pretty fucking fabulous.

-Stopped believing that the world must operate in a certain, idealized way. I did a lot of resilience work for this one and the result is that I stopped ranting.

-I was a bit of your overachiever, somewhat entitled golden millenial: it never occurred to me that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself by expecting to have 'all figured out' by 25 - and with 'all' I mean literally 'all': Education: zero loans, full rides and a PhD in the northeastern United States. Relationships? Yep, a smooth, lead-by-example, long-term one with a smart, beautiful woman. Travel? Indeed, to Europe, Central America and United States. Family? All going smoothly. My own self: passion found, work I loved, volunteering, exotic hobbies, healthy, independent, assertive, etc. Wow, what the fuck?. Only when I really detached from that insane train of thought I realized that it was ridiculous pressure for no reason. And in this one I have no one to blame - at this point the only pressure I have is the one I put on myself. So I had to loosen up a little bit, take a whole new perspective and just try to live in the moment. This took many self help books (I believe in those), many advice from friends (often online friends) and lots of emotional work, group support and the eventual therapy. It was hectic on my brain and heart, but so worth it.

-I consciously started to think about relationships from the very scratch, which is great when the pressure is no longer there. I had never really done this. All I knew was that I was some sort of prince who could be entitled to things, and that I had to pursue what people thought made sense. No wonder I was always angry or stuck. I went out with women who were too intense, unavailable or crazy only to confirm my bias that dating sucked. But even though I was considered successful and accomplished, I was not sure why a more serious and responsible woman would be interested in me. Oh, I was wrong in so many levels and believed that I had to be in one to prove that I was, in fact, a decent man. In other words, I was what some people call 'A nice guy'. Now I'm not much more of that, which is great. But even though this is a good thing, dating still goes very slowly. I asked someone out and by the second time I saw her, I noticed that things were not going anywhere. Some time ago I would have freaked out - it never occurred to me that it's ok for things not to work and that I needed to date more in order to see what holds water in the long term. So I expected to be in a state of pure bliss on every date and this high expectation sort of killed me every time. On the other side the meaningless way or the casual sex way didn't quite work for me either, so I'm looking for the real deal now. I think this is the rockiest part of life at this point.

-Whether I should go back to being catholic or not. Oh boy that's a good question. It's not that I gave up on being a catholic - I just sort of branched out, focused on what I could or couldn't do without the rituals and the like. I used to be very religious in the past until it changed in college. Key point here is that I still have some if not all of the values which have shaped the man I've become today. I need to think more about this.