It was wonderful to welcome a traveler home. I missed my partner while he was away. Interestingly, there was no real stress to it; I knew where he was, that he was safe and in the company of people who wish him well, and had I needed to reach him, I easily could have. “I need a chance to miss you once in awhile.”  He said it to me early in our relationship, and it resonated with me. We all need a chance to ‘miss each other’ now and then, perhaps…like a favorite food, or a favorite book, or a favorite movie; eventually it is necessary to do other things, if only for variety.

I like routine. I admit it. My life becomes emotionally and logistically incredibly chaotic without it, in part because of the TBI; it effects how my memory and thinking work. I work hard to build habits that care for me, that care for my environment, that keep things orderly and keep me ‘on time’; without them, I am all over the clock and all over the calendar without any particularly predictable result, and a lot of things just don’t get done.

On the other hand, creativity isn’t especially ‘routine’, and inspiration isn’t tied to a calendar event, and intimacy and connectedness don’t always follow through on an invitation. Routine can easily slip from ‘planned’ to ‘stale’. Routine can as easily halt growth as support it.  Change and choice and novel stimuli all contribute to being interesting, fun, engaging, and ‘having something to say’. Once again I am faced with a balancing act…

interrupted by an unexpected moment of clarity

interrupted by an unexpected moment of clarity

…And a poorly chosen metaphor. My consciousness is jarred by how often we dismiss what is important in our lives with a diminishing word. We express so much of our experience as ‘an act’, ‘a game’, ‘going through motions’, ‘measuring up’ or ‘checking a box’. How serious am I about who I am and what matters to me? Serious enough to be honest with myself? To be vulnerable with other people? Am I serious enough to look a coworker in the eyes and say “Actually, I’m having a terribly difficult time with life, these days, and I’m not sure I’m up to it” when that is what is true and real in the moment? If we can’t be honest with someone else, what supporting evidence is there that we are honest with ourselves? How honest are you with yourself about who you are, and where you are heading in life, and what you really want out of you? Every day.

Balance is a big deal for me, personally, and I’m suddenly irked with myself for allowing the trite figure of speech to diminish how important it actually is – in my own thinking! Words have immense power to guide us, and to mislead us. We quickly learn to continue to punish and hurt ourselves, furthering the damage done by others, through the use of language. It’s no wonder I still feel so much pain from events in the past; I continue to hurt myself through the use of language. Guilt, shame, social anxieties, fear, resentment, chronic anger, chronic frustration, a sense of being held down, held back, and diminished – all these things can be byproducts of the shitty way I sometimes treat myself…out of habit, having learned to do so from others who also treated me badly. I see it in others, too, and while it can be tempting to criticize or judge, or suffer the pain they inflict as intended; we’re all so incredibly human. Each doing what we think, in the moment, is ‘right’ or ‘good’ or ‘necessary’ or some other combination of still more words to justify the shitty way we’re treating that other human being. Very few people think of themselves as ‘the bad guy’, however heinous their actions.

What are your relationship values? Have you chosen them wisely? Do you practice them willfully? Can you state them in simple language? Are you ‘one of the good guys’ – or are you…not? If your relationships are generally contentious and unpleasant and fraught with anxiety, perhaps embracing and cultivating different values is something to consider? Choice. Change. It isn’t really likely you can control or change the behavior of another human being, unless they choose to allow it. Certainly you have no particular direct influence over their thinking, but no one out there has as much power over yours as you do. I’m just saying…make your choices for you.  Unhappy? Choose change, but choose it for you; you have no real right to force change on someone else.

Don’t forget Wheaton’s Law. “Don’t be a dick.”

Today is a good day to remember that other person over there is a human being, too, with all the rights I have myself. Today is a good day for kindness. Today is a good day to be who I am. Today is a good day to appreciate what I have to offer the world. Today is a good day to choose wisely. Today is a good day to change the world.