The most important lesson I learned this year:
Be prepared, and go for what you want, because nobody is going to just walk up to you and say:
‘Oh my gosh! You are amazing! Here, let’s make you a Vice President just because you’re you!’
I took that advice to heart immediately. I find myself — surprisingly often — sitting back and waiting for opportunities to come to me even though I do make my fair share happen through my own initiative. Since internalizing Julia’s life lesson, I’ve found myself asking more, actively pursuing opportunities in a less reserved way, and sometimes, even, tooting my own horn just a tiny bit. I’ve found myself negotiating instead of always wearing my avoid-conflict-at-all-costs hat. And, I’ve rediscovered something I already knew about myself: that I am not at all phased by rejection; and am far more interested in not missing opportunities.
So, as you plan your New Year’s resolutions, keep this one in mind. Go for what you want, and you’re far more likely to get it.
A wee bit more than a year ago, I read a book called “How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed” by Theo Pauline Nestor.
The little room that I rent in the little house decorated lovingly with Christmas lights by my roommate is too small for a King size bed. It’s too small for my beloved Full size bed, for that matter. I chose a Full because it is small enough that I can disassemble it and fit it in my car. It is just perfectly big enough for me alone to sleep in the middle of, spread out like a starfish, with extra pillows. And, by design, it’s just perfectly too small to share with someone I don’t truly adore.
Even after a couple of years of practice, sleeping in the middle of the bed does not come naturally to me.
When dinner is tater tots and red wine, it can only mean one thing.
“You will change each other. You will teach each other. You will include the other into yourself. Research shows that two dissimilar partners will each change their personalities over their lifetime, becoming more similar and thus adding new dimensions to themselves, while the personalities of two similar partners tend to stay the same.”
From The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, by Elaine Aron.
A man is chopping down part of a tree in my backyard. Earlier, he cleaned the gutters. The whole time, I’ve been nervously sitting inside the house, listening to the noises of work being done outside. After a few hours, and many noises, while said man took a break inside, I peeked into the backyard to survey the progress. When I saw the entire backyard covered with tree parts, I didn’t even notice the progress that had been made… all I could see was the mess.
I became anxious and started searching my brain’s databank for who to call to dispose of a backyard full of tree parts. Instead of communicating sincere appreciation to said man, I made a few passive aggressive comments about how when I got back from my errands I would look for someone to do the haul away and then ducked quickly out of the house to separate myself from the anxiety of the mess.
When I got a safe distance from the house, it dawned on me… I live with a deeply held belief that men don’t lean up after themselves. That they make messes and don’t clean them up, and I have to.
If I believe that men make messes and don’t clean them up, then I will attract (and put up with) men who make messes and don’t clean them up.
Well, that’s over.
I believe that men can make messes and clean up after themselves.
And if men in my life don’t do that, then I will practice asking them to clean up after themselves, instead of trying to do everything myself.
Besides… if I let go of my worries about always being the one to have to do the clean-up, perhaps then I can communicate unbridled appreciation for the work and help that is done, which will encourage more of the “good” behavior of helping and getting things done, among the men in my life.
I believe that men can clean up their own mess.