What Is Your Motive?

I was having a conversation with a friend recently about whether it’s ever okay to reach out to an ex. In her case, she and the ex had had a very bad breakup, but she had been close to the ex’s mother, and she found out that the mother was sick. My friend genuinely just wanted to express her sympathies.

So this led into a whole other conversation about my thought process last year when the singer Chris Cornell passed away. My ex-husband had been friends with Chris, and had a great musical relationship with him. So when I heard about Chris’s passing, I seriously considered reaching out. However, every single message I came up with started, “I’m sure you don’t want to hear from me, but…”

And that had me thinking. If I was *that* sure that Ex didn’t want to hear from me, why was I reaching out? Even though all I wanted to do was express my sympathies, would Ex resent hearing from me at all? And if my only motive really was to say how sorry I was, couldn’t I send him that energy without intruding on his life? Was my motive to express my sympathy, to show that I was a kind and caring person, or to show that, on some level, I still cared for him?

I wasn’t able to give my friend a concrete path to take. However, we came to the decision (*we, as if it was my decision anyway!) that she should send flowers to the mother. My friend decided that this really wasn’t about her ex; she just wanted to let the ex’s mother know she was thinking of her. By stepping back and really looking at why she wanted to reach out, she realized that the person she needed to reach out to wasn’t the ex at all.

I’ve reached out to exes before for a variety of reasons, and most of them have been purely selfish – I wanted them back in my life, either as boyfriends or friends. I’ve been really, really lucky in that none of the exes have reacted poorly to me reaching out. It’s always been a positive experience, and in some cases, it brought me some much needed closure and/or answers that have helped me to move on. But again, that’s about me and about what I wanted.

I still don’t have a definitive answer here. The best I can do going forward is look at my motives, and see if they really serve the higher good. I think that’s the best any of us can do.

– Finch

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Quick Thought: Chinese Food as a Lesson

I live across the street from a Chinese restaurant, so I am constantly smelling the tempting aromas. I keep thinking, “Hmm, maybe beef and broccoli tonight?” But then I usually just end up eating chips and salsa and calling it a day.

Here’s the problem – just a couple of weeks after I first moved into my condo, I went over to grab some takeout. Went home, ate my food, and then, a few hours later, experienced the most horrendous stomach pains ever. Not nausea or anything, but swollen belly and curling up in a fetal position pain. So I swore off the Chinese restaurant.

And then a year or so went by, and I thought, “Maybe it was just that one time. I’ll try something different.” But no, exact same thing happened. It happened again last night.

I say all of this to say, this is like going back to exes. You let some time pass, you think maybe it’ll be better this time, maybe you’ll try things a bit differently, take a fresh path… No. You’re still going to end up curled into a ball on your bed, cursing your lack of self-control. Just save yourself the pain and misery.

– Finch

My Boredom Problem

Shortly after high school graduation (2001, represent!), I was at Barton Springs with my mom and sister, telling them all about my latest idea. Havianas were just becoming popular, so I had this great plan for making flip-flops with interchangeable straps. You could snap on different straps with different patters/colors, and make your flips totally unique! I laid it all out to them, even how I would make the prototype and how I would sell the pieces. My mom, who has more cowboy boots than flip flops, said, “Yeah, sure, sounds great.” My sister, oracle of my universe said, “Is this another one of those things that you’re excited about for a few weeks and then you lose interest?”

She knows me very well.

Throughout my life, I have had ideas, boyfriends, friends, projects that I am really, really excited about, and then I just lose interest. I become bored. It’s not even that anything takes away my excitement; I didn’t suddenly find out that someone else was already doing my idea or my boyfriend (insert laughs). It’s just that I no longer cared. And this isn’t the case with everything. My two best friends have been in my life for over 20 years each, and I’m not bored with them. I see B every single day, and July will be 10 years since I found her; she doesn’t bore me. I’m not bored at work or with my car. So this isn’t a blanket problem that I can seek answers for.

As the older readers will know, I tend to repeat-date and repeat-friend. Every time that Jay and I would get back together, everything would be great until the three week mark. It was like clockwork. At the three week point, I would start to see that everything that had annoyed me previously was still there, and nothing had changed. At that point, it just didn’t feel like it was worth my time to put any effort into the relationship, since I had brought up my issues with Jay to him and we had talked it through, ad nauseum. The same thing has happened in friendships. I’ll leave a friendship for whatever reason, then something will bring us back together, everything will be great for a while, and then I will see that the initial problems are still there, and I lose interest in trying to make things work.

I get that the relationship aspect is different than the idea/project aspect. In the relationship aspect, I’ve been dealing with people who exhibit the same behavior, no matter what I say or do. With the idea/project aspect, I just lose interest. Recently, I was telling my mom how I would like to start a YouTube channel for makeup/lifestyle, since so many of the people I regularly watch are in their early to mid-twenties, and have different life issues/styles than I do. I researched, I looked at vlogging cameras, I thought of video ideas. This went on for about two months, and yeah… I just don’t have any interest anymore. And who knows? Maybe this is the Universe’s way of steering me away from something that is not a good fit for me. But this is clearly not a new thing in my life, and it’s something that keeps popping up, so I should probably figure out why I lose interest. Hopefully I’ll figure it out before I get bored with the question.

– Finch

 

 

Can I Gain Knowledge Through Osmosis??

This past winter, I broke up with someone I had already previously dated (Dan, for those of you who are old readers). I know, aren’t you shocked that it wasn’t Jay?? However, while it wasn’t Jay, it turns out that Dan and Jay were very similar. On the surface, not so much, but there were some key alignments – both were always playing the victim, both created all of these dramatic reasons why their lives weren’t going as planned (another recurring theme this year it seems), and both were kinda mentally and emotional abusive.

Since I recognized the patterns between them, I started really trying to seek out how I could better myself so as not to attract those types of people anymore. I bought many books on: how to detect and avoid narcissistic people; how to express my empathic side and not be taken advantage of; different types of relationships; how to love myself more; how to live in the moment (those books just came this weekend); how to know my path and purpose; and how to be more open to the universe’s blessings.

Here’s the thing… I bought A LOT of books! And don’t get me wrong, I am a very fast reader (thanks Mom!!), but still. I like to read other types of books too, and go hiking, and watch t.v., and I have to work. I want to gain this knowledge, I truly do. I want to be a better person, and I want to learn my lessons so that I can stop repeating past mistakes (no more Jays or Dans!!!) And I understand that to gain that knowledge, you have to put the work in, you have to be willing to go through the steps.

But in the meantime, while I’m finishing my latest farming book (don’t ask me why), can I just pile all of these self-help books by the bed and absorb their knowledge while I sleep?

– Finch

Quick Thought: Removing Toxicity

(That’s a word, right?) In my “plan” to figure out what my “plan” is, I’ve found myself compelled to clean up my life. Not that my life was messy, but I have just had this overwhelming urge to get rid of excess, unused items, or things I don’t really care about. And that urge has turned towards to getting rid of people who don’t fit in my life anymore either.

I had this friend who is *that* girl – the total life of the party, but the saddest person ever once she’s alone. She’s bubbly and loud and just too much for me. Those things by themselves would never be a reason for me to remove someone from my life. However, I was recently ending a friendship with a co-worker who, I swear, stated that he was a better friend to me than anyone else because he was the only person who would give me shit about my life’s choices. First of all – what?!?!?  Second of all – my life’s choices don’t need questioning, and if they did, that’s what I have parents and best friends for. Anyway, in thinking about why I didn’t want to be friends with the co-worker anymore, I kept going back to the above-mentioned girl. The reasons why I didn’t want to be friends with the co-worker were all characteristics shared with this girl. Constant negativity, questioning all of my choices (even how I hung my pictures), and just being an energy vampire.

There are some positive things about both of these people. But here’s my test for knowing if someone should be in your life or not – do you breathe a sigh of relief when you get out of their presence? If yes, they need to go. It doesn’t matter how much fun you have with them, or whether they have good insights into your issues. If you feel relief to be away from their energy, their energy is not vibing with you.

That’s a good way to look at removing items from your life too. If you have something, maybe an heirloom or a gift from an old friend, but every time you think about removing it all you feel is guilt? That’s an item that needs to go. Yes, I realize that we’re getting into Marie Kondo territory here, but the method works because it’s true. If something doesn’t bring you joy when you look at it or hold it, why would you want that around you? Think of how you feel when looking at the person (or pet) that you love most in the world. That feeling of overwhelming love, where you’re almost amazed that you can even love someone that much. Don’t you want to feel that sort of amazement and awe all the time? Remove bad stuff!

Anyway, I say all of this to say, until I figure out exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, I’m going to work on removing the clutter and distractions that keep pulling me off course. And if those distractions are people, so be it.

– Finch

What’s the plan?

A coworker who is about 20 years older than me recently made the comment that her life did not go as planned. I won’t get into her personal business by describing the exact parts of her life that she was dissatisfied with, but there were a few. Then, less than a week later, a lab tech who was drawing my blood said, seemingly out of nowhere, that her life did not go as planned, and that looking back she would have made different choices in school, career, family, etc.

This sentiment has popped up a couple of times recently in my life, and it’s got me asking some questions. First off, what plan is it that we are supposed to be following? When I was twelve-ish, my plan was to marry Prince William. When I was seventeen, I planned on going to the University of Texas, then getting my law degree, and becoming a constitutional law attorney who would argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, all while getting home in time to feed my husband and two kids. In my twenties, I planned to move to Chicago. When I got married, I have no idea what my plan was. And after I got divorced, my plan was just to heal. Now… I don’t know. I feel as if I’ve been treading water for the past few years. I’m in the water, I’m participating, and I’m not drowning, but I’m not really moving forward or making any waves either.

It also makes me ask the question of whether it’s too late to make massive changes in my life. I recently read this book, The New Old Me, by Meredith Maran. In it, Ms. Maran describes starting over in a new city, divorcing her wife, and getting into a new career at sixty. SIXTY!! And this, after having reinvented herself at 25, 35, and again at 45. While on one hand it gave me hope that it is never too late to start again, on the other hand it seems so exhausting. When do I “make it”? When do I get to the point where my plan has reached fruition?

Finally, I have to face the fact that even if I had a plan, even if I was willing to reinvent myself, I’m a scaredy-cat. I’m terrified of leaving my comfort zone. Even though my parents, my sister, and most of my closest friends have left Austin, I’m scared of leaving my cushy job and wonderful condo. Will I ever have those things in a new place? Am I just running away from Austin because I’m bored? Will any other place have as good of breakfast tacos? (No).

I really admire those people who have 5 and 10 year plans, who have a clear direction and road map for their life. I’m not one of those people. I never have been. I’m the kind of person that when I make goals for myself, it’s almost like I self-sabotage to avoid those goals. Work on my marriage? Meh, I think I’ll get divorced instead. Don’t buy anymore eye shadow palettes? How about 10 new ones in one month!! Work out five days a week? I’ll just stay home with my dog and read more books.

I seem to remember a saying – “Life happens while you’re making other plans.” My problem with that (and it is a minor problem) is this – why would I bother to make plans if life is just going to change them anyway? Isn’t that essentially setting yourself up for feeling like a failure? I’m fine with life having free rein, and I have always felt that everything happens for a reason. But if someone could get me that road map that shows me which direction to go, I would surely appreciate it.

– Finch