(L)Auditory Behavior

When you’re smack in the middle of re-booting your life, the way I am, not only are there profound internal changes occurring, but more often than not, outward behaviors usually reflect some of these adjustments, as well.

You lose weight. You decide you want to learn rock climbing. You start saying no when you used to say yes. You decide your time is more valuable than the ways you’ve spent it up to now—even if there are no tantalizing alternatives currently available. You conduct a friend audit, weighing and balancing the expectations vs. payoffs of any particular relationship to see if it merits an ongoing investment.

You change your life to reflect more of who you are…now.

For many of us, one of the complex and challenging aspects of adulthood is to become comfortable with saying no to others. We cringe at the thought of their disappointment or sullen silence or guilt-inducing look of hurt. We argue with ourselves that we can do “this one little thing.” “It won’t kill me,” we mutter, equal parts angry that we’re agreeing to a commitment we don’t want and guilty for feeling “selfish” by wanting the time for ourselves. To spend the way we want to spend it—even if that means doing nothing.

The practice of “friend audits” is new to me, but I think it makes a lot of sense. Somewhat akin to the way mugs seem to multiply under cover of night and closed doors, over the course of the years, we cannot help but accrete a larger collective of associates, friends, colleagues, etc. They follow us via Facebook, Linked In, email, text, or some even face to face.

The possibility of scaling back on our body of acquaintance seems foreign in so many ways. After all, the images of people who are happy and content with their lives generally have large Twitter followings, or are the subjects of Friar Club roasts, or casually mention that they’re booked every weekend for the next twenty weeks with commitments for holidays out until 2016.

Not me. And this was the case even before I began my re-booting. But now, in my Pyrite Years, I have concluded that such audits are invaluable—not because they symbolize a rejection of some, but because they require a conscious prioritizing of what I’m doing in my life. Am I doing what I want to be doing? And if not, why not? Because the only person who can change that calculus is me.

The longer I sit here grumbling about going places I don’t want to go or spending time with people who enervate me—well, it does them no favors to bask in my less than enthusiastic presence and I’ve lost that same time spending on something right for me. On multiple occasions, I have flat out asked myself: if I can’t go into a relationship, job, or activity with a glad heart, is this really the way I want to interact with the world? What about you? How much of your current life is spent doing things or being with people who no longer reflect your interests or priorities? Why do you choose to continue? I encourage you to be brutally honest with yourself when answering. Think carefully about this because my next post is a follow up on the difference between what’s familiar and what fits.


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3 Responses to “(L)Auditory Behavior”

  1. cardinal Says:

    Aah, takes me back to my snarky days in the back row of JL meetings. Your metric is the exact one I found: if I am not bringing positive energy to this meeting, what am I doing here?

    I’m still trying to figure out how I can use the metric with family, in that there are more layers, and responsibilities… but it’s still the right frame.

    • dignitarysretreat Says:

      Family, of course, is way more tricky since it is a less than voluntary association! 😉 But trying to find some aspect of that “gladness of heart” can do wonders when having to participate in family interactions. Also, keeping the cocktail hour to a minimum!

  2. Julie Crispin Says:

    Oh my gosh, I hope I make the cut! I need Rett in my life!

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