You do not think it means what I think it means.
I once had a fellow tell me, “Mark, not everything fits into little boxes.“ He said it critically. He was not exactly wrong, but he was far from right, too. I believe that everything in life has a logical fit. Everything can be explained, everything goes together somehow. It’s not always boxes within boxes, but ultimately everything makes sense.
The problem I have is that my history, my experiences, my opinions form my view of how the explanation fits together. Your experiences, opinions, and views will alter your perspective which may differ from my own. Often I have a hard time distilling my argument into comprehensible flows of logic on short notice and I revert to shortcuts – as a dear friend of mine said, I try to squeeze a 14 page essay into a 140 character tweet.
If you’ll indulge me, one last side story and then I’ll start weaving them together. Dad’s garage is the hallowed hall of philosophy to me. We have spent days, weeks, perhaps even months together in that garage fixing a car or building my bookshelf or hatching some hair brained scheme along the way. One day we were out there talking about the deeper things in life, probably sharpening axes or lubricating bike chains for the scouts or something, and Dad turned to me to make a poignant observation out of the blue. “Son, you can go from funny to serious in a breath and no one really knows how to take it.”
“Dad, it’s worse than that. Sometimes I’m funny and serious at the same time!”
I’m having a hard time lately getting my thoughts across clearly. Lately I’ve been thinking and planning for months on end and I need to boil my thoughts down to a few coherent sentences or risk people skimming over my thoughts and missing my actual point. That happens far more than I’m comfortable with. The other problem I’ve been noticing a lot is that my meaning gets received entirely oppositely than I intended. It severely bothers me when that happens.
Take, for instance, my birthday. It’s simplest to boil it down into, “I don’t celebrate my birthday.“ It’s entirely untrue to say that, but it’s the simple explanation that usually gets the topic dropped. In reality, I consider my birthday a very personal day. I celebrate it by having dinner out with my family. It need not be strictly on my actual birthday, but personal time with the people I love is extremely important to me. When someone at random wishes me a happy birthday it emphasizes that they are not amongst the people I love and pretty much lumps them in with insurance salesmen and people who think having my birthdate in a CRM is going to make me think graciously towards them with they come calling to sell me something. My friends know to ignore my birthday. I appreciate it best when it’s left for me to enjoy with my family. My really close friends know to ask the next day, “Did you have a nice dinner?“ That is the most sublime compliment to me on my birthday. For the record, it’s near the end of April, but no one reading this should really care all that much.
Does it make sense? No, not out of context. It only makes sense if you can appreciate that I want the entire day to pass stress free and then end with dinner with a very few people who are special to me. When my kids are grown I’ll probably just spend it alone. But I’ll still go out.
I got a fortune once that said, “You value your principles more than money.“ It was the truest description of me I’ve ever read. I’ve had good fortune to be amongst extremely wealthy people, I’ve had good fortune to be amongst folks so down on their luck they were looking up at the sidewalk. So long as I can make my way through life I place little value on money. But my value system – I tore that down and rebuilt it on my own. I chose what kind of a man I wished to be. I decided that I wanted to be known as honest, trustworthy, fair (I never have got a handle on what that really meant, though) and eventually added respectful as a fourth cornerstone of my life. If I die known for those traits I’ll be a very happy man, regardless of how many toys I have.
I was offered a chance for stock options recently. Financially I care little about future returns right now. I care a huge deal about getting out of the financial hole I’ve discovered myself in and making certain that I am absolutely never in a similar situation ever again for the remainder of my life. In the words of a wise man, “I need money, not options.“ I already currently hold more options than were presented on offer. It is much more imperative that I deal with my present crisis than I worry about a few options that may pan out down the road.
It becomes a point of pride that I take action and act on my own accord. I have to execute my plan going forward and ensure that I become a better, self-sufficient and honourable person going forward. It is crucial to me that I work on the here and now to place myself more in line with the man I want to be.
I also know that to accomplish my goals of caring for my jaw, I need to deal with my current financial mess first. I can’t start dental work until I’m on a reasonably solid footing. Options don’t help that. I need a better way forward.
Lastly, there is a disconnect between what motivates me and what demotivates me in my profession. I’m driven by making a difference, by being able to make an impact through my efforts. I’m demotivated by a promise of three more years of stress and struggling month to month with a possible payoff in options down the road. I’m hugely demotivated when I’m told about the offer as a fait accompli without a chance to discuss what is truly important to me.
Am I just being a shit disturber or am I making the point that other considerations are more important to me right now? I’m bothered that I’ve come off as no more than troublesome for no good reason. It’s so much more important that I can feel productive, reasonably stress free, and moving forward with my plan in life.
I’ve been pretty clear if you’ve been reading here a while. I’m going through some major changes at present. Changes I’m steering and changes that I’m proud to take on head first.
Yeah, I know. I’m weird. I don’t make sense. I try to force everything into little boxes that all sort themselves out neatly.
When my mindset doesn’t make sense, it’s usually because I’m ramming months of thought into a sentence or a paragraph. However my mindset must always target towards my cornerstones as a person. All my thoughts and actions must necessarily point me towards the man I wish to be. I may take the long way around sometimes, but my direction must inexorably be in the way I want to go.
If you’re really confused, reread this whole thing as some kind of hilarious joke. There has to be humour in here somewhere. I know I’m laughing.
There’s a second part to this blog. Hopefully no one will ever read it.