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Monday, December 2, 2013

The Baseline

For a long time I've labored under the suspicion that lessons learned in one part of life apply to other parts as well. And there is always a lesson. I was born a curious child, always wanting to know why, always wanting to understand new things. For me all of life is a lesson.

So I've always seen life from a certain angle, slightly skewed perhaps, like looking at mountain peaks but not seeing the foothills where all mountains meet and become one land. There are three parts of my life that have been fairly constant over the past three decades. Three areas that I have always felt were important to me. But I never felt they connected, not really.

I have church, physical activity (sports, working out, hiking, whatever), and writing. It's hard to think of times when these weren't in my life, although I have periods defined by the lack of each. I've applied lessons from church to writing. Things learned at the gym have been a way to better understand my faith. Writing has given me the motivation to do one more mile on a run.

But all I ever saw where the peaks. Three distinct points. Three groups of friends, activities, and interest that never overlapped. My gym friends aren't big readers. My writer friends are not all gym lovers. And the people at church are a grab-bag of individuals but I still hesitate to invite them spelunking. Old people with frail bones are not the best companions for a white-water rafting trip.

Despite my mental separation of all these things, there is a baseline. There is a common denominator here.

All the things I love are edifying; I learn something and become a better person for doing them.

All the things I love are long-term investments; there's no over-night success or one-day-a-year investments, these are all lifestyles. Every choice I make is influenced by these things to some degree.

All the things I love make me happy; sure, I hate burpees with the fiery passion of a thousand fallen angels, but I feel better in the long run.

All the things I love are something other people don't understand; not that no one understands or enjoys these things, but all of them have detractors... atheists, people who want skinny pills, people who hate reading... for everyone who loves these things I do I know there's someone out there who thinks I'm insane for "wasting" my time on them.

All the things I are not a waste of time; even if no one reads the book I write, or if I never become Photoshop Phabulous, it doesn't matter. You see, being happy and healthy is never a waste.

Society doesn't encourage women to think like that. There's is no money in telling a woman she's good enough. The money comes from breaking people down, telling them their worthless, and then promising to cure this malady with whatever has come out of the R&D department in the last month. A woman who thinks for herself, is happy as she is, and isn't desperate to change is a terrifying thing.

That's okay. I enjoy being terrifying. It's what Evil Twins are for.

I have my baseline now. Anything that does't fit this, won't fit my life.

The end.


  1. You have learned well, young grasshopper.

    That's something I point out to people - the only one who can make you happy is yourself. The only person who can live your life is yourself. I've got a few variations but they all mean the same thing.

    Our society doesn't like us learning that we need to like ourselves and are the major influence on ourselves. Society teaches us to depend on other people's opinions and views and ideals to be happy because, as you said, it likes to break people down.

    I've got a friend in therapy for PTSD. I was telling her for years beforehand that she needed to let things go and believe in herself and trust herself again. Her therapist is telling her the same thing . Except her therapist is encouraging her need for closure and I told her she won't get closure from other people until they are ready to admit they were wrong. She needs to resolve her feelings without closure from other people. This is a method the therapist uses to keep my friend dependent on her.

    I wish I could get her to meet you. Some of your insights and common sense are what she needs.

    1. PTSD is tricky. I've run into a few people with severe cases, usually soldiers who served in Iraq, and it's hard to know how to help. There isn't really closure in most cases. You can't undo a past event. For the ones I knew, it meant surviving the Survivor's Guilt and accepting that the situation was out of their control. It sounds easy, but it really isn't. I hope your friend is able to come to terms with what happened and move on soon.

    2. Unfortunately, my friend's issues are with people still in her life who did things when she was younger. So they are constant reminders of what she suffered and they won't admit that the things they did were wrong and harmful. She wants an apology, just an apology for being hurt, but she won't get it. Especially in one case where the age of the other person means she might not have many years left in which to get that apology.

      *shrugs* I've told her to accept that she has to make her own closure and that it won't be easy. I had to do the same with some events in my life. But I was lucky and had Carvis to help me even if all he did was support me. She's had a hard time having someone around who will support her. Which has added even more to her troubles.

      Things seem to be moving forward for her, very slowly though. She's finally starting to understand that she can't let what other people, especially the ones who have already hurt her, say to her and about her be what she believes.

      But, oh is it frustrating to stand back and not be able to speed up the process for her. She's a wonderful person and has let everyone walk over her for way too long. I can't stand between her and those who want to hurt her but she is finally learning to stand up for herself.

  2. Cheers to the baseline! Outstanding post, this...