open-minded

365 Challenge: Day 172 – Me

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Me: used by a speaker to refer to himself or herself as the object of a verb or preposition

me.png

Some people are born without any selfish bones in their body or thoughts in their mind. Many are absolutely incapable of thinking about other people, reserving every moment of the day for themselves and themselves alone. I’m willing to bet that a majority of people out there fall somewhere in between on this scale of extremes. I know I certainly do, hopefully somewhere right in the middle, but definitely aware of the times when I am too focused on myself, feeling like ‘it’s all about me.’ Having a healthy ego or confidence in focusing thought or action on yourself is a good thing when managed properly. But there needs to be a fair balance, which is why today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is ‘me’ and comes, of course, with suggestions for a change in our approach to each day. I’m sure you ask: “Will this guy ever shut up about himself, always with advice?”

I’ve decided to institute a NON ‘me’ day each month, rotating it into my schedule so that I purposely focus on other people and not myself. I think it will do wonders for my outlook and humility to see and understand things from other people’s perspectives — and not just my own. It certainly won’t be easy, at least not the way I have this planned in my mind, but I believe it’s important.

I’ll share a few examples but am ultimately curious what others think of this exercise, as well as how they handle things in their own life. The most obvious illustration I can share is my WordPress blog: ThisIsMyTruthNow and the 365 Daily Challenge. It was created as a way to help me identify what I wanted to do in the future and as a method to connect with people from around the world. When I choose the word each day, I relate it something specific about me and my life. Many wonderful people comment on it each day, and we have an interactive dialogue regarding how the word fits in both of our lives. It’s a great tool to get to know someone, but there is a downside. Shocker, I know!

The discussion and online friendship is being kicked off because I started talking about myself. Not because we randomly met and began a conversation about something other than either one of us. On the flip side, I try to read everyone’s blog that I follow to learn more about them; sometimes I have little time to comment, and there’s just a “like” after I’ve read the post. While that’s fine for most days, given how busy we all are, I think it’s important to learn more about other people and build on relationships by clearly focusing on other people and their blogs. What I’m planning to do is pick 1 day a month where I have a very tiny post to cover the 365 Daily Challenge, which will reduce the time I would have used for both writing my post and responding to comments. In its place, I plan to respond to as many other blogger’s posts from that day that I can fit in.

The comments will be all about them and their post. Not me or how I felt about it, but something to let the blogger know the value they’ve brought to the table. It might be hard, for instance, if it’s a book review we both read. How do I comment without indicating how I felt about the book? But isn’t that the point sometimes? Your feedback, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, should be about the person who wrote the post sometimes too, not just your own opinion. {Aside: I am not referring to when someone comments on my post — it’s ALWAYS been an equal balance about both of us, so please don’t change how you interact with me — this is just about how I want to change my interaction on other people’s blogs!}

It’s only fair to spend time focused on that person and their words without introducing your own experience as the primary response. I’m not saying this is how it should always be, but it’s a healthy exercise to train ourselves to stop being so “I” and “me” in our responses. Sharing experiences often leads to a strong relationship, I fully agree, which is why I wouldn’t do this all the time. But picking 1 day a month where I focus only on the other people in my life seems like a fair thing to do. And it’s not only online in my blog or my social media connections. It should be everywhere. For instance…

Phone conversations. I want to pickup the phone to ask others how they are doing. Focus on what’s good or new, or sad, in his/her life. See if I can do something to help them or brighten their day. Hopefully no one interprets this as me saying I’ve not done this before, as I definitely do think and focus on other people. But as we get busy, we often forget a bit of our manners, falling into traps of relating everything back to ourselves and our own experiences. I think it will be a great way to re-energize and engage with someone who maybe felt a little distant lately, or in need of a pick-me-up in the form of a good conversation about their life with a friend they hadn’t chatted with in a while.

I’d apply the same to letting someone else choose where we went for dinner or what TV show we picked to watch that evening. It’s often the little things in life that go a long way, especially as we all get busier and use technology to do the work for us, rather than good old-fashioned intimacy between real-life people. I’m generally aware of balancing the conversation equally among both parties, but not always. This is simply a way to ensure I’m being less selfish, more open and bringing about a little positive change across other people’s life. You never know when someone needs a bit of extra attention, but even more important, when they deserve it. The world is too small (sounds kinda funny, huh?) and life is too short (really, it is) to not put in the effort that might make it a better place for someone else.

How about you? Do you find that you talk about yourself more than you should? Do you have tools and tips and tricks to balance out your interactions? Share with ME please!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 121 – Naked

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Naked: not covered by any clothing, nude; devoid of concealment or disguise

naked

 

Around 3:15 this morning, a certain lovable little shiba inu took it upon himself to grow unsettled in the bed, circling three or four times, before roughly throwing his 20 lbs. of bulk against by thigh. Startled by said lovable little creature, I found myself awake and unable to quickly fall back asleep. Always one to use my time wisely (don’t even bring up yesterday’s post or I’ll have to hurt forgive you), I thought about the 365 Daily Challenge for today. The first word that popped into my head was ‘naked.’ And although I tried to think of a few other words, I kept returning to the word ‘naked,’ wondering how I might pull off such a post without it coming across as vulgar. And after 120 ‘365’ challenges, 500 book reviews and about a hundred other posts, you know by now, I’m not a vulgar person.

Ask yourself this question: Am I brave enough to walk into a room full of people, some of whom I know and some of whom I do not know, while I am completely naked?

{Aside: Jay, you have started to go off the deep end a little bit. I’m not sure I can support such a behavior if you continue down this path.}

I already know my answer is ‘yes,’ as it’s happened before. But I suppose it would only occur again under somewhat comfortable conditions. Let me try to redeem myself here…

Being naked physically means you are wearing no clothes. Every part of your body is exposed for others to see you in all your supposed glory; essentially, nothing is left to the imagination and you are unable to hide from the world. We’re born this way. Doctors and nurses often see us this way. Other people in a public fitness center or school locker room get a preview. Anyone you are intimate with experiences this side of you. So it’s not an unheard of situation, right?  OK, keep those thoughts on hold for a little bit longer. And no, I’m not advocating nudity nor am I a member of or interested in joining a nudist colony.

What about being naked emotionally… stripped down so there are no barriers between what you are thinking or feeling and the people in your life. Naked can also apply to the walls or shields that prevent us from being open and honest with others about what is going on inside our head. Under those conditions, I’m a fairly naked person. Over the course of the past 120 days, I’ve been naked to anyone who happens to read my 365 posts. I’ve covered a wide variety of topics where I’ve shown some silly and stupid decisions I’ve made, a few embarrassing moments, and a couple of personal desires or needs that might end up never being achieved. For me, I no longer feel a need to hide behind any walls that often function as a shelter or protection from pain, fear, disappointment and hurt. It doesn’t always work, and sometimes I hold back a little bit; however, for the most part, I feel free and open with what’s going on in my life, how I make my decisions and what I am hoping to accomplish. So I share it with you.

This method is definitely not for everyone. And I wouldn’t even recommend it without truly thinking about all the implications that could occur, up to and including how you handle difficult situations. But the one thing I’ve been learning in the last few months and over the last year of my life, is that it doesn’t matter what other people think of me or my life or my situation. If someone wants to laugh, ridicule, or berate me for something I’ve chosen to do, that’s their problem. Not mine. If I feel good about it, then that’s what counts. If I worry about what others will do or say, then perhaps I’m not quite comfortable enough with my own decision to proceed. And if that’s the case, it’s totally OK, as that just means you need more time to figure out the right time and place to move forward.

So if someone thinks I am wasting time by not going back to work more quickly… or people felt writing a blog was too self-indulgent… or searching for an agent was a useless activity… {no one is actually saying any of these things to me, btw} — it ends up being their problem and issue, and I can erase those opinions from my mind as long as I feel good about what it is I’m doing. So let’s flip back to the concept of not only being naked in front of others with your thoughts and feelings, but with your body. How is that any different and why am I bringing it up today?

Our bodies are no different than our emotions and ideas. It’s just another aspect of who we are — cells that create a physical shape and form versus cells that produce words and thoughts. For the most part, you can’t change your body without massive surgery or risk. If you’ve got wide hips, that’s what you were given. If you have a flat butt, oh well, that’s life. If your eyes are set too far apart, deal with it. If something is too big or too small, it is what it is. I am not being flippant about these issues, as I know very well how much they can cause pain and hurt, especially when you’ve been singled out by someone purely for the sake of their tasteless and childish need to laugh at something rather than at their own expense. And I’m not saying it’s time everyone just strip down and walk around naked. I’m simply saying if we can learn to love who we are as people for our personalities, we can learn to love our bodies. We can work on them as much as we need to for the sake of health and relaxation, but to obsess over any specific part or area that you truly cannot change will only hurt you more than you know.

And that’s why I’m not so worried about being naked anymore. As I age, and I realize what I do and don’t have control over, I am learning to just let things go as I do with decisions, missed opportunities and fears. I am short. I will never have that slender upper torso that stretches on forever, something I’ve always desired. And when I wore a tighter than usual grey polo yesterday, I almost took the shirt off because it didn’t land in the way I wanted it to land around my waist. It made me look stocky. Then I told myself no beach time this summer… you didn’t fix your body like you said you wanted to. But I can’t fix it. I’m short. It ain’t gonna happen the way I want it to… so I will go to the beach. And I will leave my shirt off. And I will be happy about it.

Being naked physically is just like being naked emotionally. Whether someone sees you make a mistake during a public speech or notices the fine lines and crow’s feet appearing on your face, they might still judge you — but that’s their problem, not yours. No, I’m not going to start parading around naked. Nor do I suggest you do either. Even if you are the world’s most attractive naked person. But I am suggesting we all learn to get comfortable with who we are and what we do and don’t have. And if someone wants to judge me for wide hips or a stocky torso or whatever it is I’m worried about that day, or making up that day… so be it… judge away. I’ll be busy making something of myself and staying happy.

Of everything I’ve said and believe, the most important thing in all of this — at least to me — is that I’m remembered for being authentic and genuine, unafraid to share anything and comfortable in my own skin enough to help others find their own happiness in these areas. In the end, whether I’m naked without clothes or naked without a barrier to my thoughts, I’m showing the world the real me is good enough to put it all out there. And what happens in someone else’s mind is their concern. Not mine.

Last point… today’s post was mostly theoretical in that I don’t feel judged, nothing has happened to make me feel bad about myself, nor am I worried about what other people are thinking and trying to convince myself it’ll be OK. I’m actually in a very strong place in this area, but I also want all my friends to be there, too. So that’s where this share came from. And oh yeah, aren’t you no longer afraid I was going to share a naked picture of myself in today’s 365 Daily Challenge? Phew… that would have been awkward for you. Cause it obviously wouldn’t have been for me based on what I’ve said, right?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Noriko (AKA Norin) @ BookfiendSite because of my lovely little Ryder (shiba inu dog) keeping me awake last night… No, Noriko wasn’t texting me all night, but when I think of shiba inus, I think of her as she’s from Japan, which is where Ryder originally came from. Noriko and I probably met close to 2 months ago and now chat on both Goodreads and WordPress. She’s almost always online, able to chat and has a very charming approach to books and life. Noriko reads a lot and has been the #1 reviewer on Goodreads in Japan. She takes on all different genres and is reading a few books I recommended this summer. I hope the Ken Follett Pillars series doesn’t put her over the edge. What’s special about Noriko is how kind and thoughtful she is, always leaving beautiful comments on your posts, asking brilliant questions and interacting in a very immersive and connected way. I enjoy chatting with her, look forward to her book reviews, as they always provide fantastic insight into the meaning of the story, the plot and the characters. If you love books, she’s someone to know. If you want to get to know someone from the another country, she’d be a good addition to your followed blogs. Please find a few minutes to peruse her site and let her know what you think of it!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 81 – Adaptable

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Adaptable: able to adjust to new conditions or be modified for a new use or purpose

adaptable

I debated with myself this morning whether to select “adaptable” or “open-minded” as today’s 365 Daily Challenge characteristic. I tried to engage Ryder in a little discussion, but he chose to chase birds on the terrace. Screw him, I say! BTW, don’t you just adore Legos?

Obviously, I settled on “adaptable,” {Aside: No doubt, either I’m Captain Obvious today or I should send myself back to bed!} and will save “open-minded” for next week. When I think of the word “adaptable,” besides what you see in the above definitions {Further Aside: I feel like Henry James today; dude, just get on with the post}… I think of Charles Darwin and the “Origin of Species.” For anyone unfamiliar, it’s the theory of natural selection, i.e. those who can adapt will survive longer than those who cannot adapt (in simplest terms).

Come on… let’s all channel our inner Gloria Gaynor and belt it out: “At first I was afraid, I was petrified…” OK, that’s enough. I’m the most inappropriate person to try to sing these lyrics and don’t I know it! To be serious (the point of these posts), we all need to learn how to be adaptable… meaning able to try new things, give something an opportunity to prove whether it will or will not work, and to give ourselves a small area for growth and improvement.

While I strongly believe in being consistent, it is important to know when things must change and when you must look for new opportunities. And this is where adaptability becomes significantly important. Imagine if you always did the same thing everyday in the same manner. Or you never allowed yourself to try new things. Besides being boring, you wouldn’t fulfill one of the highest tenets of life: to learn and grow.

When I reflect on how I am adaptable, I consider understanding alternative options, thinking about something with a different pair of eyes or glasses (for those who have vision trouble like me), or recognizing a new approach to process through. A few examples bouncing around my mind:

  • I wasn’t much interested in using e-readers when they first came out. I loved paper and print. I was tired of reading computer screens and phones all day long. Who needed another device? But, since I rarely say no to something without giving it significant thought, I downloaded Kindle Reader on my iPad. I gave a book a chance. And I liked it. Now, I find it’s useful when I don’t want to carry both a computer/tablet/device and a book around with me. I still read physical books throughout the week, but the e-reader had a useful purpose for me, and I adapted to its user interface, occasionally finding it easier than a physical book.

  • When I first moved into the city, I disliked everyone being so close to me. I liked personal space. A yard to have boundaries. Space to invite people over to visit. Slowly, I found things about living in the middle of an urban center that made me quite happy. I didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving, therefore I could have 10 or 12 drinks each night and still… JUST KIDDING… I can have 2 drinks and not worry about being pulled over. Without a spare room, I had less uninvited company. I could get to any restaurant rather quickly without having to drive far. I had a shorter commute to work. I adapted to the situation and found ways to like both suburbia and the city.

  • I’ve adapted to people in ways I never thought possible. I used to be quite judgmental, and to some degree, I still can be. Through the years, I realized it gets you nowhere quickly. If all you do is find something wrong with someone or something, you’ve set yourself up to always have a disappointment. Instead, I try to focus on a reason why I like someone or something, especially if it has to be part of my life for whatever time period. There are people I work with whom I don’t like. There are friends of friends I end up socializing with when I’d probably prefer having my toenails ripped off than be near them for any length of time. But that’s life, dude / chick (whatever you want to be called — my attempt at humor today)… so figure out how to adapt to the situation because it will happen again in some way, shape or form. So when I’m around them, I don’t let it consume me.

Being adaptable means you have the power.  And that’s what you need to retain no matter what. I don’t mean power as in control over other people — I mean control over yourself. If you can adapt to the situation at hand, then you can survive it. And if you can survive it, then you have a chance to keep on moving forward. I guess what I’m essentially saying… as I prepare to close out this post… is…

Conquer those feelings that keep you from being adaptable, and you’ll be more successful than you thought possible. When you have choices… when you let yourself try or consider new things… and when you move with fluidity rather than the staunch and robotic “no, I won’t… ____ <<fill in the blank>> ____ … do that!” you’re holding yourself back.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 44 – Ornery

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Ornery: stubborn, crotchety, bad-tempered and combative

Ornery is the type of word where you guess what it means from how it sounds, as in a bit of onomatopoeia showing itself around the edges. I really don’t think of myself as ornery, but I have been known on occasion to act as though I am. I chose the word because I felt a bit “off” today when I began my morning. To truly be ornery, I’d need a bit of anger or ill-temper as the definition points out to us; however, my brand of ornery is slightly different.

I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to blog. I didn’t want to exercise. I didn’t want to do any job searching or researching. I wasn’t in a bad mood, just that nothing appealed to me. Sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing felt appropriate. But that’s just silly and wasteful. It’s likely just boredom creeping in a little too much this week, but I’ll need to be careful to keep the ornery parts at bay.

Ornery usually applies to older men, at least in my experience. Think of the movie “Grumpy Old Men,” and you know exactly what I’m talking about in Walter Mathau’s character. I find myself on occasion showing those tendencies even though he was at least twice my age.

A few examples:

  • I’ll see people holding hands walking down the street blocking my ability to pass them and think “Ugh, stop being so silly and romantic. Get out of my way.”
    • But I am often a romantic guy, so it was just a fleeting moment.
  • I’ll be forced to go to a bar (I prefer my drinking at home or in restaurants) and watch the “young-ins” making fools of themselves, thinking “You have no sense of boundaries or self-respect.”
    • I’ve been quite immature a few times in the last decade. I’m no one to talk.
  • Friends want to do something new and I’ll just think it’s silly. “Huh? You want to go sit in a park and talk to people while listening to what music? That sounds stupid.”
    • But I will get upset when other people say or do the same thing to me.

Yes, I have had those thoughts. And consider parts of my personality truly still have me feeling as though I am 20 years old, there is this odd balance where I also feel 80 years old. And when I feel 80, I’m already reflecting on how much the generation coming up after me is just not as good as mine. Of course, that’s completely false and ignorant of me. Yes, certain things indicate there is a potential they are not as mature as I thought I was, but certain things show a lot more intelligence and open-mindedness as each new generation comes of age. It’s just perception playing games, depending on where you are in life and how old you are during which time period.

This post has nothing to do with people’s maturity. Not sure how it went in that direction, but since it’s important in these 365 posts that I just write what I am thinking and not spend time crafting it to perfection, it remains in print.

What I’m essentially saying here, is that for someone of 40, I certainly exhibit early onset ornery behaviors that I’d like to go away! I don’t want to turn into that elderly guy in the corner house who complains all the time about someone standing on their lawn.

True, I am never that guy in public, only in my own head and in my own home or when near close family / friends, so maybe 6 or 7 people actually see this trait in me… but enough that I need to be careful about it.

On the flip side, I have those moments where I’m pushing people to stay out longer, do more things, be more fun… so there is a fair balance. But when I am ornery, I am ornery. What contributes to this behavior? It almost feels like once you let one or two ornery thoughts creep in, the flood opens and it’s a massive takeover. And generally only time will force it to go away.

I’m grateful my orneriness has a bit of humor about it. As I will talk to myself, fidget with things, make things seem so much worse than they actually are. And those closest to me kinda get a kick out of it, as they see me with limited self-control, not the usual robot, and enjoy my little dilemma. I’m often locked in my own room to sort it out myself once I get too far off the deep end. Even Ryder, my dog, runs in the other direction when I’m ornery. He doesn’t like the word “no” and that often is the first word out of my mouth in these situations.

“No, I do not want to go there for dinner.”

“No, I am not up for leaving the apartment.”

“No, I’m not taking you for a walk.”

“No, stop begging for treats.”

Maybe confessing it will limit the appearance in the future. It seems to be almost gone today, but I’m still a little grouchy and unsure what today will hold. Ever feel that way? How do you handle it…

For your amusement… as I am doing a quick re-read and spell check before hitting “publish,” Ryder is huffing at a noise outside the door. My response: “Oh shut up and stop being so ornery. Other people live in this building. Where did you learn this ridiculous behavior from?”

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.