Five months ago I was writing blog posts about expressing myself to strangers, just as an exercise meant to get me out of my comfort zone. I was handing out funny cards, asking cute girls out to get coffee, and generally interacting with people in ways that I normally wouldn’t. Although I was successful in making myself uncomfortable, I have to say it didn’t really amount to much. In some cases, I found myself acting out of integrity with my values…
For instance, one night while I was wandering around the city, I caught a train and sat next to a girl that I fancied. We get to talking and before we split in different directions, I asked her for her phone number.
Now I’m ashamed to say it, but I didn’t truly have the intention of calling her, much less meeting up with her in person. I was doing this just to validate myself; just to have that phone number as a notch in my belt.
Sad, I know.
As I look back on my earlier blog posts now I can see that in a lot of ways I’ve been a hypocrite. Maybe not so blatantly, but subtly I haven’t been living out the message that I’ve been writing about. All this talk of “Getting out my comfort zone” felt fake. What followed was a dreadful period of me kicking myself around for not having my act together (think Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, without a Miss Robinson to keep things somewhat interesting). Simply put, I was feeling like a loser for being a college graduate who was (and still is) working with his dad as a gardener, living at his parents’ house, and struggling to find direction.
Overall, I had a belief that I had to get my shit together before I started working on my relationships, whether they were romantic or not. Now that I’m coming up on a one-year mark since I graduated college, I’ve taken a sobering look at where I am in the process of creating the life I want. Right now, what’s been missing probably more than anything was a sense of community and connection to people around me.
Although normally I’d try to look up a new group to join, this time I thought I’d start with the people I already know that “see” me; people who can understand why I’m making odd decisions with my life. Although the option to reach out was always there, for whatever reason I kept putting it off (probably because I didn’t want to be a bummer to be around). I am now being reminded that these people don’t really care about my disappointments that I listed above, and that I really just have to accept myself the way I am.
I’ve heard it before, I’ve read about it, and I’ve even written about it several times in the past. And now I have to wonder: how many times do I have to arrive at this conclusion before I really wake up?
Where I’m at is where I need to be.
I know that someday I’ll miss working with my dad. Whether I’m pulling weeds or raking up dog poo, it’s oddly a source of pride for me to be making a humble living. I’ll miss taking my younger brother out on walks when he can’t go out on his own (for those who don’t know, he has autism and he is unable to communicate with others). And as long as I’m in this current situation, I can’t spend any more time wishing that my life were completely different.
So wherever you are on your journey, make sure you’re sharing it with other people.
I’ll leave you with a few lines that a mentor of mine recited to me recently:
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…”
Walt Whitman, “Song Of Myself”
Thanks for reading,