How is it May, already?
In July of last year, I posted My 40’s Manifesto, my intention to experience a better decade compared to my 20’s and my 30s. I have established the following ideas as guideposts.
- Work on connection
- Be authentic
- Accept love
- Think deeply
- Engage in relationships
Connection seems to be somewhat unnatural, in my case. I desire it, feel restless once it’s achieved, and desire to spend a lot of my time in solitude.
I have recently discovered a tool called Self-Authoring. This is offered by Jordan B. Peterson. It’s not flashy and requires a whole lot of attention. However, it is perfect if you’ve found yourself at a crossroads in your life (divorce, loss of job) or if you are stagnant (not moving forward or backward.) In the exercise, you write about your virtues, your faults. You write about your past and future. It is very time-consuming. I believe I have more than ten hours invested. It forces you to consider the story you are telling yourself.
I have revealed to myself that I have trouble connecting because I choose to stand apart by nature. This is not out of self-importance or arrogance but out of a need for observation to understand and properly perceive. The act of engaging this blog is a move towards more connectedness.
I reach out more, I start more conversation, pass more compliments, and am less judgmental. I try to think about myself less. The natural result of this is the desire for more connection.
I’ve also had some connection that’s caused destruction in my past. I need to retrain that connection is something that can cause great joy.
I’ve discovered some elements from my youth and youthful relationships that had a lot to do with me not being my authentic self. It’s deeper than if I’m me; they won’t love me. Some enmeshment caused me to have the philosophy of sacrificing my needs for the family and friends and relationships that demanded it. The result is that I denied myself for a long time.
The trick now is to apply what I’ve learned. Be better at it applying what I learn. Not getting sidetracked. Share me with people on the phone, in letters, as well as in person.
A lack of boundaries has made me bipolar in this sense. I welcome everyone in and then seclude myself thereafter. So balance plays a role in this way.
I’m doing well with this one. When an employee of mine complimented me recently, I paid attention to where the thought went. I had an immediate thrust of positive feelings. But then my mind took over. I wondered if they were trying to manipulate me. So I then desired to get the upper hand. I stopped myself but continued to pay attention. The next thought was that I didn’t want them to think they had power over me by seeing my strong reaction, so I wanted to downplay the effect of the compliment. Then if that didn’t work, I’d diminish myself in comparison to the compliment.
How sad. How negative.
After watching these thoughts come and go. I decided to simply take the compliment for what it was. If it was an attempt at manipulation, it would not work. Did I agree with the compliment? Yes, I did. It was a nice gesture by the other person, but it gave them no power over me. Finally, I realized that I was diminishing myself each time I’d receive a compliment, if not out loud, then certainly in my mind.
Note to self: stop this shit!
I am exploring this tenant so passionately and gratefully. I have used it to heal, strategize, organize and reenergize myself. I’ve spent a lot of time writing, signed up for a class to support my goals, and my professional work has transitioned in implementation and quality.
As I mentioned, much of the healing that took place from this practice has been done through Peterson’s Self-Authoring. I saved the section “past authoring” for last. I didn’t want to live in the past. To my surprise, this was the most impactful part of this exercise.
The “past authoring” part of the course has you divide your life into epochs (early childhood, high school, etc.). Then, you split it down to experiences within those epochs. The experience of writing down events that happened in the past has provided the greatest amount of healing that I have experienced. Something spectacular happens when a memory you have not fully dealt with is confronted and described in grave detail.
This is referenced in Peterson’s new book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. Rule # 9 states, “If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely”. I am flabbergasted that the impact has been so great.
Engage in Relationships
I have continued to improve this. I make more phone calls, write more letters, and seek more connection than ever. Sharing how I feel about people has become important. I was thinking the other day that I hadn’t reached out to my best friend in a while. There is always a hesitance when I go to reach for the phone! I love talking to him, though.
I’ve connected over a meal with other friends. This is something that hasn’t been done since pre-pandemic.
As I grow in engagement, I am careful to not exceed my boundaries. I have to monitor my feeling guilty when getting off the phone or not returning a text right away. I remind myself I can only do what’s in front of me, and the guilt and negative feelings only get in the way of having the connection.
T-Minus 64 Days…
With just 64 days until the completion of my 41st year, I am learning and growing. There has been pain, joy, and frustration. I have not arrived at my desired life as of yet. It may just be that in striving for that life, we find the life truly desired.
I will continue to share my story. I want to make a notable change to the tenets of this manifesto.
- Connect & Engage in Relationships
- Be Authentic Without Sacrifice
- Accept Love With Grace
- Think Deeply
- Go Public
I’ve been in a band that has created great music. I’ve written blog posts that I believe are very good. But, I want to be more visible. I’ve not learned to properly market what I created. I don’t mean just serious marketing, but marketing myself as a person. For example, “this is what you’ve got when you’ve got me”. I’ve got some books on that. I’m studying. But it is my desire to impact others with my journey to help others cherish their precious time in life. This requires me to go public.
As I flesh this out, I’ll share more of what this comes to mean.