Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gone With the Wind

Earlier this morning I was working on installing drywall in the back room. I started thinking about something one of my friends and I talked about recently when I asked for a favor. While I articulated what it was I hoped he would help me with, I stopped short of asking for quick action within a specific time frame. Ah, but my friend intuitively asked if I had a sense of urgency in the matter with the holiday season coming up. For that matter, he had to ask me directly several times about the time frame “I” wanted. I kept saying “Only if and when it's convenient for you,” until the third time when I finally realized what he was pointing out: my pattern of not fully expressing what it is I want. My attempts to minimize the inconvenience was completely unnecessary as he was more than happy to help me out. That triggered me to think deeper about an issue I have centered around my interpretations of what selfishness is.

When it comes to voicing wishes, one would think it would be a simple matter. After all, human beings are selfish creatures by nature. Our competitive spirit coupled with the desire to improve our lives provides motivations which steer our wants and needs to some extent. In my case, I know there are times when I ask freely for help. But at other times, well, it's a totally different story. Taking actions which might be viewed as selfish or even talking about them after the fact isn't always easy for some people. And why is that one might ask?

When we become self-aware in life, one of the primary activities we carry out is to seek role models. We learn from them and as we grow. We incorporate some of their beliefs and ideals into our own psyche. While our role models are far from perfect, they provide us with essential building blocks that shape aspects of our personalities. We try to incorporate that which is useful in meaningful ways that advance our standing or prospects for success. But along with the good comes some characteristics which are less desirable. Our role models, like their role models and the numerous role models before them, rarely possess well-balanced personalities. This is not necessarily a bad thing. We can learn from all aspects of human nature if we look closely enough and examine traits for what they are.

But all too frequently, we pick up not only positive traits, but negative aspects from our role models and proceed to intertwine them into our personalities. Upon realization of said deficiencies, we might cry out, “But my parents, [siblings, friends or whoever it might be] taught me this.” Those words serve one purpose and that's to dodge the responsibility of our actions. Maybe we're trying to avoid responsibility for our own flaws or short-comings. Or we might be trying to avoid the responsibility of making difficult choices where failure is a distinct possibility. As adults, we are no longer constrained by what our parents said or by the pressure others might apply to us. We have free will. We can change who we are but it isn't always easy to do so. At times, we take the easy route and fall into denial or resort to the blame-game.

The choice is ours and we can opt for a different path. In my case, positive changes are in order for myself at this juncture in life. For me, it's not simply about asking others for favors, but more so about understanding it's not inherently selfish to satisfy my own wants. Needs of those around us are important but they should not be our only criteria for making choices in life. First and foremost, taking good care of ourselves allows us to help others around us at the appropriate times.

I have many people in my life who provide help in my times of need. For that I am grateful. But I also need to learn balance in how I interact with myself overall. Rather than over-analyze the situation, sometimes it is best to trust our intuition to guide us properly. In my case, change is necessary to confront my tolerance and self-induced willingness to accept discomfort in my life.

While I'm not saying I intend to be like a pendulum and swing towards complete selfishness, I am willing to satisfy my needs and wants without feeling guilt or shame in taking care of myself. Nor should I feel shame in doing something indulgent for myself. I take responsibility for my own actions and define who I am in the present. I do not need to be constrained by what I thought I learned in the past. Change is always in the wind. We can be rigid and fight it or we can move with the wind and leverage its power. Ahoy matey! Hoist the main sail!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cleaning Up!

When old game systems die, surely they've earned the right to reincarnate. And I have the photos to prove it.

From top to bottom on the left side we have an electronic round-board Monopoly controller, a Sega Saturn, and a Sega Dreamcast. After having passed from the land of the living into the shadow world, these systems reincarnated as electronic floor cleaners. From top to bottom on the right side of the photo we have the Monopoly controller reincarnated as a iRobot Roomba 770, the Sega Saturn returned as the Mint Floor Cleaner, The Sega Dreamcast became a Neato Robotics XV-12. Wonder if I can play Sonic the Hedgehog on any of these? :D