Archive for May, 2013

Internal Changes and Emotional Plateaus

May 30, 2013

My most recent post addressed the topic of demographic shifts and the waxing and waning of personal interests and excitements. As an outgrowth of this, I choose to write about emotional plateaus—you know, those times when you feel notably neutral. Not happy, not sad, not even blah, just…dispassionate. Have you ever experienced this? When was the last time?

 

I believe that, sometimes, these plateaus can serve as indicators of significant internal change that is occurring. Not always, of course—sometimes when you’re feeling blah, that’s just what it is—but transitions in how we think or feel about ourselves and the world around of us often reveal themselves through a change in our reactions. Dare I suggest that you might be experiencing an internal growth spurt?

 

Recently, I asked someone what he was looking forward to in the coming months. His answer: nothing. And this is not somebody who’s depressed or bored or lacking in resources. “I’m too busy to be happy,” he explained. Huh.

 

Emotions can be inconvenient things, but they constitute a core part of the human experience. Mastering our emotional responses and learning how and when to use them appropriately is a key goal of Re-booters. All too often (and I’m guilty of this myself), people err by utilizing their emotions to assess and make decisions about key occurrences in their lives, in lieu of examining the issue from a more rational standpoint.

 

But reaching a state in our growth and maturity where we recognize that emotions are not always helpful or appropriate doesn’t condemn us to a life of emotional plateaus. I think that’s the fear of a lot of folks—they worry that, somehow, by “containing” their emotions they are consigning themselves to a flat lined existence. No, no, and no! Worry not, fellow Re-booters! Emotional plateaus and emotional maturity do not consign you to the life of Spock!

 

So, what positive purpose might an emotional plateau serve? Well, first of all, it can serve to reassure you and others that you’re not some wacked out, emotionally stunted psychotic. So that’s a good thing. Secondly, it may indicate that all is going well in your life. The wild, dramatic arcs we see on tv do not speak well for family life as a whole—I don’t care where the Kardashians go on vacation or how much they say family is priority for them. The sort of carrying on we witness in such dramas is reason enough to retreat from the world let alone seek out emotional plateaus. Thirdly, let’s turn this question on its head: what personal growth or maturity may evidence itself when you experience a plateau as opposed to becoming enraged over something that previously was a sore spot for you? And rounding out to home plate, is it possible that a plateau may serve the purpose of allowing your psyche to marshal its emotional resources when the matter at issue will demand much from you over the long haul?

 

Hmm. So, maybe feeling neutral isn’t so bad after all.

 

Now, what this post fails to address is whether or not we can continue to feel as giddily excited about anything as we did in years past. Alas, if my experience is a reflection of general opinion, I regret to say that no, I don’t believe I’ll ever again feel giddy with excitement. Happy? Yes. Eager? Uh huh. Ready to go? You bet. But out-of-this-world elation? Probably not. Not anymore. But, if it’s a choice between me as I am now or some version of me laughing maniacally, sure that whatever comes next is The Best Thing Ever, well, I gotta confess that the plateau is looking pretty good.

 

What about you? Where do you come down on this topic? What is your experience with emotional plateaus? Do you wish your reactions to certain people or situations hewed more closely to the way you reacted in the past? Can you articulate and recognize what internal changes you’ve made such that you no longer respond the way you used to? Would you go back to feeling the “old way” if you could?

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Demographic Shifts

May 28, 2013

It’s never been clear to me exactly when I shifted demographics. One moment, I was blissfully content watching music videos for hours on end and reveled in the fact that I recognized everyone on the cover of People magazine; today, not only do I not watch or know, I don’t even care!?! When did this happen?

 

Sure, I suppose phases of life involving career-building or child rearing may have something to do with it, but just because you’re a parent or a promising employee doesn’t mean that all of your interest in pop culture flies out the window, right? And, on the other end of the spectrum, what is that magic moment when seniors decide they prefer to have the tv on ALL THE TIME? They grumble about politics and gold prices and insist on displaying photographs of people nobody else recognizes. Is this what I have to look forward to?

 

When do health-status conversations first appear as the go-to source for visceral pleasure?

 

Despite my tongue-in-cheek tone, I’m actually serious. It surprises and puzzles me to note my indifference to things in which I previously delighted as much as I feel annoyed when subjected to my elders going on and on and ON about their poor sleep habits. I’ve had some restless nights myself, so I know it can be a drag, but these fixations rapidly assume a life of their own.

 

I don’t think these shifts in interest can be fully attributed to increased maturity or the loneliness and physical degradation that often accompanies one’s later years. No doubt various sociologists would gladly provide a theory or two, but I’d rather figure it out on my own. This alteration in taste and interests is so pronounced that advertisers slot each of us into our groups based on the fact that millions of us are doing the same thing!

 

I used to love going to the movies; now, it’s a rare day if I watch any film in its entirety, let alone visit the multiplex. I used to listen to my cds, happily, for hours on end, eagerly awaiting the next release from one artist or another. Now, they lie neglected in their cases, unthought of and…unloved. What happened? Are you nodding your head as you read this? I don’t understand; there are loads of talented artists out there today, but it doesn’t matter to me. These days, it takes a lot to catch my attention or rise to the level of something (or someone) being worth my time. And I like people!

 

Is excitement a diminishing value as one grows older? I sure hope not. Is it that life experience inevitably tempers our responses? We can be interested—even fascinated by things—but what is it about evolving as an adult that typically involves emotional plateaus? This post disturbs me because I don’t know where to go with this line of thought, but the phenomena is real, real and pronounced; and we rarely perceive this shift before we are so thoroughly under its sway that we no longer care about the things we used to prize. While, it’s true that it would be far more disturbing were I to continue to get pleasure out of playing with my dollhouse or racing Big Wheels down the sidewalk, the time-limited quality of adult interests is far less apparent.

 

What about you? Is this happening to you? What prize activities did you formerly enjoy that now leave you yawning? Did you realize it at the time or was it a gradual transition? Can you articulate why you no longer care? Isn’t that odd?

Short term Tools and Long term Lodestars

May 23, 2013

So, my most recent post tackled the topic of recognizing that some of our progress we can only see over the long term. Today, I’ve decided to write about some of the specific measures we might use to assess our headway on matters not easily measureable.

 

As I’ve revealed in previous posts, I am a big fan of baby steps. Most of our growth occurs in fractions, but it is perceptible. And, if you’re anything like me, you have a personal radar that is continually scanning for performance indicators. How am I doing? What are they doing better? What did I do wrong or poorly? How might I improve my execution or results? What did they miscalculate that sent them careening into disaster and how might I avert this fate? That sort of scanning, those types of questions.  It’s usually a lot easier to assess other people’s problems and progress than it is to evaluate our own, but here are some fairly reliable indicators when we’re just not sure if we’re on the right track:

 

  1. Am I better at letting things roll off my back? Do I forget about irritations more promptly?
  2. Am I calmer about whatever it is? Does it take more to get me rattled?
  3. How easily can I laugh about this? Do I have better strategies for maintaining perspective?
  4. How secure do I feel in myself and my abilities, regardless of what happens?
  5. What can I feel grateful for? What blessings do I have right now?

 

These are big questions, best answered only by ourselves. But what they make possible is a more accurate gauge of where we are in the moment—short term assessments when we’re not in a position to employ longer term evaluation. What I mean by this is that sometimes, we find ourselves caught in an immediate, personal crisis where how we think about things and what we do today matters.

 

When I was in the thick of one such crisis, I couldn’t answer affirmatively to most of the above listed questions. It was terrible and I was at a real low point in my life. But, I was aware of these questions and used my desire to do whatever necessary in order to get to that place where I could answer “yes,” guide me through the thick of my confusion. I knew that, in theory, I believed in myself. I recognized that, in time, this crisis would pass and I would feel more calm about it. I trusted that, at some point in the not too distant future, I might even be able to let it go and no longer bother me. But this was much further down the road than where I was.

 

So, you know what I did? I faked it. Although I didn’t feel calm, I did my best to pretend I was cool and collected. My mantra was Fake It ‘Til You Make It. Inside, my agitation knew no bounds, and it was really hard to feel grateful for anything. I wasn’t sure just how much I believed in myself. And it was going to be a very, very long time before I could crack a smile, let alone laugh about anything related to this crisis. So, I did what I could: I faked it. I acted as if I could say yes to each of those questions. I searched out a (temporary) perspective that would be what I thought would get me to a place where I actually believed what I said. Faking may not be real, but the purpose it served was to provide a bridge to that place I so desperately needed to go.

 

And, you know what? I got there.

 

When everything was falling apart for me, I couldn’t see how in the world I was going to get through it. I was scared. I was angry. I couldn’t believe that all my assumptions had been wrong. And, I had no idea what to do. None. At that moment in my life, it was literally impossible for me to assess my long term progress or prospects; I was just trying to make it through the day. So I measured my improvement in baby steps. In fact, I made the conscious decision not to look at anything beyond the immediate day in front of me. It was the only way I could manage lest I shut down from overwhelm. The thing about this sort of faking is that, eventually, you’re not faking anymore. You are cool. You are calm. You do have confidence. And you are excited about what comes next.

 

What about you? When confronted with a crisis, how have you coped? As a re-booter, what beliefs and understandings do you have now that might help you manage a crisis to come? There are times in our lives when we are too besieged to look long term. This is when we need short term tools and long term lodestars that can get us from where we are to where we want to be. I’d love to hear what strategies you have used because mine aren’t the only ones out there. 

The Short-sightedness of Near-sightedness

May 21, 2013

In a real-time world of instant feedback, it’s easy to forget about long term evaluation. These days, our culture demands fast food, fast service, speed dating, and worker productivity. Impatiently, we expect results to show themselves right away and when they don’t, we all too often jump to an erroneous conclusion. Alas, this proclivity is one from which I have suffered; cultivating patience is a challenge for me.

But one of the master lessons successful Re-booters recognize is that meaningful change can only be perceived when looking back. It’s the test of time that provides us certainty that we have acquired valuable new skills, confirmed under duress. Recently, I had the unexpected opportunity to assess my growth and ability to keep my cool and remain true to myself. I attended a conference where I was subjected to the rudest behavior I have faced since seventh grade, from women who were determined to show me how low on the totem pole I was. The details are unimportant, but suffice it to say that I  have confidence that ten years ago, their unkind words and behavior would have reduced me to tears. Now, not so much.

In fact, as I was enduring this episode, I was amazed how two, concurrent narratives ran through my head: one was the predictable mortification and feelings of humiliation, but the other (and this is where re-booting comes into play) was one in which I was amused by their total lack of perspective and determination that such bullying was not going to impact my sense of self. It’s this re-booter narrative that coached me through the experience, and for this I am both grateful and proud of how I reacted.

I want you to reflect upon some stressful event that has occurred of late in your life. How did you experience it? How did this differ from the way you would have processed it five or ten years ago? By my reckoning, you see more clearly now than you did then. This is the key, my friends. It is this change that we re-booters pursue. Think of people in your life who haven’t altered how they think about or react to events—are they better off as a result of such intransigence? Has their stubbornness served them well? Is this characteristic something you admire about them? Have you ever thought to yourself, “If only they’d change how they did X, they’d be so much happier.”

Those of us who wear glasses know that a prescription makes it possible to see things clearly. Were we to refuse to embrace this change in our vision, we’d be wandering around bumping into things, aware of the fact that something is wrong with our perception.  So, it’s solely up to us to do the work necessary to improve our vision and find the tools needed to bring things back into focus. In life, this doesn’t happen in a day or a week, but over time. And then, one day, it blessedly arrives.

In a way, I’m rather glad these rude women singled me out. Not only do I have warning of how they carry on, but I now can see that I’m a whole lot more composed than I would’ve been before. That’s a long-term strength a Re-booter can focus on with pride. My message to you is to think about how you’ve achieved this yourself, because it’s there.

The Authenticity of a Sometime Friend

May 16, 2013

Halfway measures get a bad rap. Often perceived as more of a failure than success, we tell ourselves that if something is only halfway, it somehow doesn’t “count” or isn’t “real.” While many Re-booters have realized that working towards any aspiration is positive–even if we haven’t fully crossed the goal line–we get far more confused when this line of thinking is applied to adult friendships. Is it ok to only sort-of like a person? Can you be an authentic friend with someone who doesn’t float your boat 100% of the time?

Yes, you can.

The truth is, the further down the path of life we get, the fewer people there are who we sync with. A far cry from the buddies-forever feelings we have for old school chums, as adults it’s a whole lot more likely that we appreciate people for certain purposes and not for others: we disagree with their politics, but admire the way they’re rearing their children. They’re the perfect person to hang out with at a game, but they’re sorta stupid. How about that hilarious person who’s great except for his driving need to show off how much money he has?  Or the super cool woman who you admire a lot but she rarely makes an effort to reach out?

We all know that nobody is perfect and that no one person can fulfill all our relationship needs, which is why it’s smart to build a social network. So you have a good time with Person A only in certain contexts, but so what? You’re both still enjoying yourselves based on a genuine shared interest—is that a failure? Of course not! I’m sympathetic to the fretting and internal questioning which can occur when we experience a flash of annoyance or disapproval that A’s view on something we really care about doesn’t totally mesh with ours. It can leave us feeling afloat, uncomfortable that we feel this way despite the fact that there’s so much else about Person A we enjoy.

I think it’s fair to say that most adults, regardless how their social lives may appear, feel lonely a large part of their lives. I’ve stopped counting the number of times people have confessed to me that they don’t believe they have anything really in common with the people they know, or that they often feel they have no one to talk to about life who won’t misunderstand what they’re saying. Whether you’ve lived in the same place your entire life or, like me, you’re starting over and have to do the hard work of meeting people and finding friends in a new place, it’s easy to feel isolated. And don’t get me started how this feeling compounds when your friends die.

But this is where the half way measure is a good thing! It’s ok to appreciate people for certain qualities and for a limited time, because when you’re with them, you are authentically there—enjoying who they are, what they have to offer, and vice versa. This is not a failure by any measure. Re-booters know they have to get creative and diversify their friend portfolio so they have someone to call for whatever their mood and need of the moment. Just because I don’t agree with B on politics doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a nice Art Walk with him. I can save my political grumblings for someone else.

It can confuse us when we see a group of adults marching lockstep, laughing and acting as if they are having a Grand Ole Time, while we sit on the sidelines. Our tendency is to project onto this group the (false) belief that they have somehow worked a miracle of finding an entire gang of hilarious best buddies with whom they can share the various passages of life. Not True. In fact, I’m at a point in my re-booting process where if I see a bunch of adults all dressed alike (literally or metaphorically speaking), I think of it as sad and overcompensating. Meanwhile, I call up my hilarious but exhausting friend and suggest we share a laugh for a moment or two.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Does this ring true or false for you?

The Promise of Personal Disappointment

May 14, 2013

When it happens, nobody likes to admit that their disappointment just might be a favor. It’s hard to see our way clear to such conclusions after we’ve tried hard to woo a particular love, win a particular job, or achieve some other goal that we really, really want and need. After all, we’ve poured our heart and soul into an effort that has fallen short—how can we possibly feel good about such setbacks?

 

The answer, of course, lies in seeing the bigger picture. Alas, so much of our culture and daily lives center on our immediate reactions to what’s around us. It is unfortunate that an emphasis by the media has been put on puerile emotional reactions because, as we see all too often with those dreadful reality shows, the squeaky, neurotic, narcissistic wheels get their palms greased. But that is Hollywood and we are not there.

 

Re-booters recognize (usually through painful experiences of their own) that whining, crying, and stomping around to express distress is a pathetic and unproductive way to process these frustrations. The fury of the emotional meltdown can often obscure a quieter and more prescient perspective on the situation. How often have you witnessed a “defeat” that turns out to be a godsend? Such realizations usually involve hindsight, so they’re not often appreciated at first blush.

 

By my book, the hardest part of this lesson is the intermediate stage when the disappointment exists but the blessing has yet to manifest. This is where I’ve felt stuck for quite some time, and it’s this gray area that requires Re-booters to be resilient, stalwart, and focused on long term possibilities.

 

In previous posts, I’ve written about the sweet wine of confusion and how it can force us to learn different skills than we ever dreamed we might need. Today’s entry builds on that theme.  As I see it, a large part of re-booting one’s life depends on faith in things we cannot see: faith in ourselves, faith in those around us, and faith that life has a funny way of bringing opportunities to us in the most unlikely of manner.

 

For those naysayers out there who poo-poo anything to do with faith, I respond what do you have to lose? How does having faith do anything but increase your chances for success? Faith does not negate reality—it provides an open door. You can be imminently practical and still hold faith in the future. Mostly, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is this perspective that builds a bridge between failure and hope. Nobody wins a job when being a gloomy gus. And who amongst you wants to spend time with a person who’s convinced themselves that “there’s nothing good left for me out there. I lost the One True Thing I Wanted, so my life is meaningless.” Really?

 

Do you even believe such blather is true? Wah, wah, wah. Don’t waste my time. Sorry, I find my patience in short supply when those around me indulge in a pity party. I’ve had that party hat for too long to be fooled by its glitter.

 

Trust me when I tell you that I have rehearsed all the naysaying arguments over the course of my life. And trust me when I say I understand heartbreak, rejection, and the searing regret of personal mistakes, but at least now I know not to stop my analysis of what might happen next. There is so much more to life than what we can dream up—and I know you all are a very creative bunch—so when something happens that hurts your pride or falls short despite your best efforts or leaves you feeling unhappy, please don’t fall into the seductive trap of indulging yourself in an emotional orgy.  Instead, listen for that quiet inner voice which whispers, “This may just be a favor.” Re-booters know that faith can pay off in amazing ways.

 

Homework assignment: think of three instances in your life or that of someone you know where a significant disappointment turned out to be a blessing. I’d like to hear what some of these examples are. Let me know.

Parenting Yourself

May 9, 2013

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I’ve been reflecting on the topic of parenting, and what it means to parent beyond the obvious role of rearing young children. Probably one of the greatest challenges we face—learning to parent ourself—brings with it the possibility of cultivating a tool powerful enough to sustain us through the most difficult of times.

While no man is an island, at the end of the day, we each are individuals, and as such we are responsible for supporting, evaluating, and sustaining ourselves to a degree that no one else can match. This role becomes especially important during challenging times when it can feel as if we have nobody to turn to or no one who can fully understand. So, what does it mean to parent oneself?

Well, when I use this phrase, what I mean is making the solemn decision that no matter what else anyone may say or think about me, I have the maturity, wisdom, and compassion to best assess my behavior, efforts, and attitudes truthfully and that I know I am a worthwhile person in word and deed whether or not anyone else agrees. This premise is not to suggest that I have no weaknesses or petty instincts or the occasional, ungenerous thought. But what it reflects is a core and unwavering conviction that, despite my mistakes or shortcomings, I know I bring value to this world. What about you? Is this voice alive inside of you?

In a past chapter of my life, I faced a time that felt very bleak indeed. Immersed in a toxic pool from which I was terrified to escape, I was confronted by a series of assaults on my character and performance—with next to nothing I could do to defend myself at that time. What kept me sane and kept me going was my ability to talk myself through such episodes, reassuring my frightened and panicky mind that I knew what the truth was, determined to behave in a manner that would make me proud. In other words, I was parenting myself. It was this reassuring and stalwart voice that sustained me as I scrambled to cope with an enraged and ruthless combatant without succumbing to significant temptation to strike back. This voice provided the strength and fortitude to look beyond my immediate distress and choose to reach for my aspirational self, for the me who I could be proud of for the rest of my life. And so I did.

This is what I mean when I talk about parenting oneself.

No one else can truly know what went through my heart and my head as I endured a multi-year attack facing someone whose behavior grew in venom as they increasingly felt more desperate and frustrated by their inability to provoke me. But I know how I behaved and I also know that the core reason I can hold my head up high and type these words at all are because of this self-parenting. The support of others is critical to our success, of course it is, but there are those quiet moments, in the dark of night or the silence of a room, where what we do or decide depends fully on us and us alone. What do we believe about ourselves? Who do we want to be? Are we strong enough and disciplined enough to get there?

The answer lies within. We already know what our moms would say.

Through another’s looking glass

May 7, 2013

Aspirational re-booters know that an effective behavioral self-modification tool is to do the following: think of the way you normally conduct yourself; now imagine how others would imitate you.

How do you like them apples?

If the specter of such parody behavior makes you wince, I suggest that perhaps a modest course correction may be in order. As I have had the opportunity to learn on more than one occasion (heh heh), delivery is nearly as important as the message itself. What, exactly, are we telegraphing?

It’s easy to miss entirely the impact our behaviors have on others—we’re sending messages we may not even realize we’re sending. Where I am striving to be efficient and clear, others may perceive bossiness and a short temper. Where someone feels lost in his feelings of disappointment and heartache, those close to him may perceive immaturity and a mood disorder. Or how about the woman who is always perky and highly engaged in social justice advocacy? She may not recognize that her actions telegraph an attempt at emotional distance and avoidance of dealing with painful family matters closer to hearth and home. How about the person who continually runs themselves down, offering you multiple chances to reassure them?

But there’s an upside to this sort of examination, as well. Fortunately, there are many examples of people whose behaviors we admire—not across the board, perhaps, but situational behaviors that we respect. For instance, the man who remains calm and doesn’t yell when things go awry. Maybe I could do that, too, we think wistfully. Or the coworker who, despite other personality quirks, always finds some humor in a situation, making us laugh. How about the time your friend stopped what they were doing and pulled off the side of the road to help the motorist change a tire? And the high school basketball coach who reassured the player that being careless in a game was not a life sentence.

Having provided a couple of examples for you to consider, let’s turn the camera back on you. I want you to think about some of your typical behaviors—from morning routines to how you reply in conversations or express unhappiness. If one of the cast of Saturday Night Live were to portray you, what might they exaggerate? Would your family members secretly smile and nod in approval? What does this tell you about how you carry yourself? Are you cringing right now?

What personality quirks have your siblings or children or others mentioned to you? Maybe you act a whole lot more bitchy than you realize. Or perhaps your speeches do get a bit preachy. Is it possible you over dramatize things? Is it imperative that you stay quite so busy 24/7? When does the surfer-dude laid backness shtick turn into a vehicle to be sloppy? Is your tendency to be clueless actually a means to remain blind to uncomfortable realizations?

Of course, there’s plenty of room for each one of us to improve how we convey what we want to convey, and there’s room for us to do it in our own style and manner—which, just because it differs from someone else doesn’t make it bad or wrong–even if chaos drives some folks crazy doesn’t mean that it isn’t ok for you. But, if you’re anything like me, you have a sense of where you come across a little more exaggerated than you intend. So this is when it’s useful to force yourself to see these behaviors through the eyes of others and to seek out examples you admire. By keeping such positive examples in mind, it is possible to alter how you do things. You needn’t be stuck in the familiar grooves of old.

Here’s a homework assignment: force yourself to imagine SNL enacting a skit about you—what jumps out? Now, take that self-same quirk and scan your roster of people you know for someone who does the same thing in a way you admire. Keep this is mind as a positive example of a new approach. It gets easier with practice.

Don’t Make it Your Business!

May 2, 2013

How many times—just this year alone—have you opened your big fat mouth and weighed in on something that, really, had nothing to do with you? Even one is too many! Re-booters understand the tantalizing temptation to speak up and share our wisdom or our righteous indignation with others, only to discover that, Oooof! Perhaps we missed some relevant details or maybe we’re not as wise as we believed or (most likely at all) nobody cares what we think.  Plus, there’s always the unpleasant aftermath of wading into waters where we really needn’t go. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Everybody does this. The trick, of course, is to learn to stop. Why go there? Is it really going to help matters? Or does letting your thoughts be known merely provide a visceral satisfaction to you? I know whereof I speak, my friends. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and got my ass kicked along the way.

It just ain’t worth it.

Now, in previous posts, I have explored variations of this theme: the inadvisability of making an event or issue about you, etc etc. But, today, I am focusing in on matters that we know are not about us, and yet the urge to “participate” is ohsogreat. Know what I mean? It’s sorta like an itch; you become aware of something and then start to think about it. The urge grows; it becomes stronger, and sooner than we succumb to the itch.

Relax, breathe deeply.

Ok, so one of the core competencies of a successful Re-booter is mastering the art of keeping one’s mouth shut. Whether it’s as minor as inserting oneself into details related to who goes where and how they get there to the fiery finger-pointing associated with the break up of a long term relationship—stay out of it! Unless you are a marquis player, step aside. Otherwise, at least in my observation, things devolve to a point where you are caught up in a liturgical drama that promises no salvation whatsoever. We’ve already survived seventh grade once, why voluntarily go back? Do you get me? Capiche? Zip the mouthpiece.

As re-booters, we have all made our fair share of mistakes in this particular circus ring. It’s understandable because it’s so human. But we Re-booters can learn from our mistakes and rise above the temptation to let those around us know what’s what. In fact, when you think about this sort of hard-won knowledge and the ongoing, active self-discipline required to refrain from sharing our thoughts, I suppose it is a salvation. How much more secure and at peace I feel when I know I have not stepped into the fighting ring and have simply let others work things out themselves. It may not be as much fun to watch on the sidelines, but embracing this lesson and allowing people to negotiate their lives—and their frustrations–as they choose allows Re-booters to focus on more important things.


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