Monday, March 28, 2011

The One Way Street of Compromise

"A Compromise is an agreement whereby both 
parties get what neither of them wanted."
~Author Unknown

"Swearing was invented as a compromise 
between running away and fighting." 
~Finley Peter Dunne

We all have our moments. Our irrational, childish moments where whoever is trying to tell us what to do is the devil and we are just sticking up for our rights. I believe this is an argument used by every teenager around the globe, though I am not sure what they quote in other countries, here it is often the first ammendment. I still haven't really seen a decent discussion as to whether or not anyone under the age of 18 actually has that right, or any right for that matter, because while they are "people" in the eyes of the law they are kind of still property ergo the ammendment is not one they can rely on, but I digress.

In marriage the inner teenager has a way of showing its ugly head every once in awhile. You try to state your opinion or desires in a way as to convince the other person you are right but every once in awhile they are not inclined to see anything from your point of view. Let the compromising begin. What I have discovered amongst most of my girlfriends is a simple fact, a compromise of any sort means it went "your way" and the only way it becomes the guy's way is if it is entirely done as they wanted it with absolutely no alterations. I can see the merits in the argument, but I find it stacks the deck unfairly against my side as then it seems I "always" get what I want because 4 out of 5 times we compromise. This is not "my way," this is the adult way. All in all it usually works out fine and there is not a second thought about it. And then there are the times when it is NOT okay.

These are the times when I regress to the childlike person who should not be allowed to discuss anything with anyone because it will end badly. These are the times when it suddenly hits me that it is NEVER my way, but rather a version of my idea mixed with some of his and I am not longer happy sharing the common ground. I wish I could find the giger counter on that moment. Heck, I am sure most of the male population would like one of those, because it is usually just one sentence too far, one small dismissal that suddenly sets off the inner teenager and getting her back in her room is rather difficult. My husband and I see eye to eye on most things. We usually have a great dynamic and we really don't argue. But he avoids conversations like the plague so when this irrational girl feels dismissed it becomes an epic fail in the area of compromise. Funny thing is by the end of the conversation I don't usually get my way nor am I pushing for it, I just want to be heard. I want him to see it from my side of the compromising tilt-a-whirl...of course he says he does, but I don't think he really gets it. Then I wonder, why does it matter if he understands my side?

Finally you reach the inevitable conclusion that compromise is a thing we all settle for but all the things you think of your mate are true of you as well. We are in essence self centered people, our realities live in our heads, how could we not be? So when you finally accept that it isn't a specific desire of the other person to ignore your way just a matter of perspective you find things go much more smoothly. Of course that doesn't stop that inner teen who just wants to scream about how unfair life wish you could tell her it will always be that way and she would actually listen. That "fair" is also a matter of perspective and life is a wild and bumpy ride, full of adventure, frustration, and doing things differently might just be good for you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Future Plans and the Anchors that Hold Us Back

I have always lived in quite the paradox. I love my family and my friends. I enjoy a routine where you get to take time to spend with people, getting to have a consistent involvement in other's lives. But at the same time I have always been a bit of a free spirit. While I seem to rail against change, I also embrace it if it involves travel and new experiences. Chris recently went through a bit of a job upheaval and through it all it has brought back to the forefront the idea of traveling and working simultaneously. Something I find increasingly appealing, yet I have developed some fairly significant roots.

This is in no way a unique problem. I think all people who venture out of their comfort zones go through a "how do I have roots and wings?" moment when trying to strike a balance but it becomes increasingly difficult when you are a party of two. At least that's what I thought. Now that my friends and I have scattered about the planet, family exists all over the US and some overseas, the idea of having a partner in crime to take on all the new adventures with makes it that much more interesting. You have a place to start everywhere you go so it is not entirely from scratch. Even better, while I have been building a career in Los Angeles, it is a career that can happen in many different locations, so we could bounce around from production to production, him from hospital to hospital and come "home" whenever we like.

Would I be sad to miss some of the day to day? Yeah. But we could spread ourselves out and spend time with different family in different places. Three months here, three months there, all the while getting to have those routines yet not getting stuck in a rut. Plus I think of all the time that gets wasted. The "oh, I will see so and so next week." When there's always a time clock on it, you force yourself to get a little less sleep and power through, increasing the fun to work ratio significantly, as evidenced by ever trip I have ever taken to NYC. I am not sure I have ever slept more than 3 hours at a stint in that town, thank you Craig, Shana, Murph, and Mat! The time restraints make you seize the moment, bed is no longer an option and I think I spend a bit more time "living" and a lot less time worrying. Maybe travel is just what I need to make the planner in my head stop and the spontaneous girl reappear...she's awful fun.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Procrastination....21 Days to a New Me

It is a well known fact I am the ULTIMATE procrastinator. Like the east coast me I love my lists and my "check" marks, but unlike her, I lack a focus at times. I would venture to say I could be compared to a bass in my ability to be lured away by almost anything shiny, almost anything that does not have a "have to do" label on it. I am not sure why, but it is a battle I have fought since the beginning of my memory. That being said, when I am against a hard deadline, I can burn the midnight oil in order to get everything necessary done. Problem is, currently, most of my deadlines are created by me, making them all flexible (sorta).

I stand here as the Queen of Procrastination, my biggest draw being anything to do with my friends or family. My Mom and Dad both consistently mocked my "social" life throughout my school years as it was always quite obvious that it took precedence over anything else in the world. This has lead me to having a very fun filled life but I sometimes wonder what I have failed to accomplish due to my lackadaisical nature. Of course this has only been compounded by having a husband. I would much rather do whatever task must be done for Chris than my own. Problem is, it often leaves me holding the bag on my own stuff because he can't do that for me, so I am now exhausted, grouchy and have no one to blame but myself.

The other person to blame is Chris, for needing help. Except did he really need it, or did I just want to jump in because I like to make him happy? Did I just use my quick computer skills to do something faster for him because it kept me from completing my dull work for the day? You can't really blame the person who needed your help if you just did it for them without them asking. Then you have to deal with the ramifications of them getting used to you doing it for them. You see, then it does become expected. But the paradox only continues as you realize you love to be needed and you love to do stuff for other people. It is way more fun to do their "must dos" than do your own. So who is really needy here? Who is really to blame for my lack of sleep and unchecked to do list a mile long? The same person who was to blame for my unfinished Calculus homework and my 4 a.m. completion of "Euthanasia, an Ethical Dilemma with no Answer," me, simply me.

I have come to terms with the fact procrastination is a choice. Supposedly it takes 21 days to break a habit. I have my doubts about this particular habit as it seems to always have a justification, but that is my version of Lent this year. 40 days of making good on what I am supposed to do until procrastination becomes a dirty word of my past. No excuses, no reasoning, just doing. Is it possible? Well this is my first step. A weekly commitment to my blog, Mondays are the day, early but never late...that's the goal. Can a procrastinator become a doer? Stay tuned to find out!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Manipulation, Synonym for Family Obligation?

We all have our "things." We have all done stuff to get our way, making the cute little face that says, "please let me watch what I want on TV," the adorable little snuggle that says, "please won't you have dinner with my friends tonight," and the utterly exhausted face that begs, "don't make me go out with your friends, let me just stay in and play Madden football." Some would call these manipulations. My husband would call it using my "girly powers" and I would call his version the "puppy face." Either way these are small little tries at getting what you want and I don't consider it manipulation.

I used to think other "guilt" type things manipulation because of have a guilt button the size of a wall. Here I am admitting to the world, if you fail at making me feel guilty you must be HORRIBLE at it. I am the easiest person in the world to make feel guilty, I still have not determined if it is a learned behavior or just in my DNA, but I am a people pleaser. An independent, stubborn, sometimes resentful people pleaser, but a people pleaser none the less. I want peace, I want everyone happy, I will do all I can to make that happen. Now it doesn't make me any less strong willed and I am in no way a pushover, but if I can find a way to make all sides get what they want I will. So I have decided guilt like that is not manipulation either because I still have free will.

Lies. Lies are manipulation. Specifically presenting something to someone that you know will get them to do what you want and presenting something else to the other party so in the end you get what you want is flat out, bold faced manipulation and it fills me with RAGE. I try not to let such emotions overwhelm my day or ruin my psyche but sometimes you just find yourself so frustrated you can't help yourself. I am not talking murderous rage, but yeah, sometimes. I just appreciate someone being straightforward. Tell me what you want from me. You might very well get a no, but lying to me so you ultimately get what you want, and then thinking I am dumb enough not to figure it out? That is what sets off the rage. I hate it when people think I am dim or dumb.

I get it, at the core. You are afraid I don't want to do something so you think of something I can't say no to so you get what you want. Simple concept, except I am not four and the distraction of the lollipop quickly fades. Truthfully, at this age it is probably a glass of wine and maybe a piece of cake, but either way I'm no sucker. Then you are just left with a pissy person doing the thing you wanted me to do and hating every minute of it. My not so mature part response involves me becoming a bit like a petulant child, that I will admit, but it is my only free will left after being tricked into doing something I clearly didn't want to or didn't have time to do. Of course, that is ASSuming I would have said no, because you never even asked! Instead you have gotten me where you want me, standing around being "here," but you can't make me do anything else. I even try to stop myself from doling out the very lame "pouty baby" punishment because it does make me just like a teenager, yet I feel I have the higher ground. I've been duped, tricked, lied to! You know what the end result of all of this is? I now don't want to do anything with you because I never know what your real motive is.

Lucky for me it is not my husband who does these types of things. Of course if he was, we likely never would have been married. I count my blessings in life everyday, but for all those who are considering the "bait and switch" with me or others, I beg you to reconsider. Straightforward honesty will get you much more respect as well as a person who is actually fun to be around as opposed to a pouty baby.