It is the first sunrise of a new year. The morning is unusually warm here in New York but the sky is pretty and the hour is quiet. I write this to you in a deep stage of thought. But more, I offer this with an honest version of myself. To be truly introspective, my goal is to be as honest as possible.
To begin with, I view this day as a moment of reflection. I view this as a memory of something which took place in my childhood – but ah, childhood does not last forever. Neither will our parents and neither will our yearly rituals.
As we grow, we start to come to the understanding that “always’ and “forever” is a very long time.
And me, I thought I would always be a certain way. I thought I would always live a certain way. More to the point, I thought that I would always feel the same way about my life. But again, always is a really long time.
Thus, I have changed my perspective. I have changed from within and I do not see myself the same anymore nor do I view people with the same regard. I have decided to put away the platforms of greater-than or less-than.
I have decided that if I am to level the playing field, I have to start by recognizing where I stand on the ground. I had to stop placing myself beneath others. I had to stop feeding my social intimidations.
But while I say this, I also understand that change is an ongoing evolution; that nothing ever stops. As I look to improve, the more I look ahead, the less I recognize the person who I’ve left behind; namely, the old me and the old versions of myself.
Today is a special day for me.
I recognize that this year marks 33 years since the last time I saw The Old Man and to us, New Year’s Day was a special moment between us as Father and son.
This would be a day where we’d wake up early and head over to the beach at Point Lookout. This is when we’d walk for hours. We’d settle the rifts between us with an unspoken peace treaty and, for the moment, there were no resentments or problems. There was just a Father and son walking on an empty beach on the first day of the New Year.
I am contemplating the journey ahead of me as well as the years before this one. I am thinking about the moments where I’ve either not dared or given in to the fears of the unknown.
I have thought about the times where I know I wanted more. I say more in the full context of the word; as in greater than, as in a better value of in additional too. I want more as in more than just what I have and more than what I’d settled upon.
As we go along in this thing we call life, we often come to a point in our journey where we’ve outgrown some of the costumes we’ve worn. We’ve outgrown the common uniforms; what’s more, we know how it feels to be in a surrounding which no longer fits our best interest.
I am at a point in life where I have recognized the unworthy settlements of my past; whether this was a job or a relationship; or a conflict in my belief system; that somehow, no matter how I tried to succeed or pull off my trick, at best, I would only be able to go so far.
I can remember a thought which began the first day I started a new job. I figured that this would be a good idea to start here until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. However, I learned a great lesson. I learned that temporary things can become permanent. Unless we change them . . . and that’s where I’m at. I’m working on supporting the change to create my brightest future.
I want more. If I’m being honest, I’ve always wanted more.
How’s that for honesty?
However, there was a fear throughout my entire life that I would only be able to go so far. In fear that I would never reach my goals, I can see where I settled on the next best thing – and dare I say it this way because in full disclosure; the next best thing wasn’t even the best.
Yes. I settled more than once. Guess what? I’m not alone with this either.
I settled because there was a fear that somehow something about me was inefficient.
I settled because I was afraid that I would end up alone or unwanted or that I would be forever unmatchable with anyone or anything. In all fairness, nothing could ever work out for me and nothing would ever be enough to make me happy. While in this mindset, I would always be in search of happiness but my search would always be elusive.
So, what did I do?
If we’re being honest, what do most people do when they’re afraid of not getting anything?
I took something over nothing?
I accepted trades, sure I did.
There were times when I knew that it would be better if I were to walk away.
Just walk away now before the regret settled in.
Then again, this is what it’s like to live with the ongoing battles of anxiety and social fears or, at minimum, this is what happens when caught in the codependent mindset that puts us second or third – instead of first.
As I see it, the whole world is really just a big costume party and me, I’ve worn different costumes and different uniforms. I’ve tried to fit in different roles and wear different disguises to “be” someone of interest.
This is what happens when you throw yourself at the mercies of your inaccurate imagination.
However, after years of work and progress in self-awareness, I have come to where I am now.
I understand that these fears stem from a judgment that comes from within. I understand the complexities of my insecurity which are more obvious to me now than complex.
So, in answer to the question –
I think today’s question is both the same and different.
I think this goes beyond the typical question of “What the hell was I thinking.”
Besides, I think the above paragraphs explain what I was thinking –
I was thinking that I would always fall short.
I was thinking that there was something wrong with me
I was thinking that in order for me to play this game; I would have to find an angle.
I’d have to find a way to get through this because otherwise, I’d never manage to get by or be happy on my own.
The next question is simple yet the simplicity of this question isn’t quite so easy.
Who do I want to be?
Well, let’s start with the first option. I want to be happy.
I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to be relieved of the bickering thoughts that come with the challenges of imposter syndrome. I want to be rid of the complications that come from doubt.
I want to stand in front of anyone and not fail in comparison – or better yet, I want to rid my mind of the comparative nature which does nothing else but rate me as above or below a fellow person.
Who do I want to be?
I want to be a person of value. I want to be a person who is brave enough to stand true. While standing behind my truths, I want to be a person who is unafraid of external judgments or concerns and thus, the person I want to be is a person who has reached an optimal level of understanding.
This way no one can tell me anything about myself that would be a surprise.
I want to be the type of person that no one could ever tell me something about myself that I would not be brave enough to say first.
If it were true, that is.
The person I want to be is one who understands the meaning of embracing “self” and more than this, the person I want to be is unthreatened by challenge, unafraid of new horizons and unmoved by my old intimidations.
I am not one for New Year’s resolutions nor am I making any of them now.
Instead, I am only seeking a level of superior honesty which can only come from within.
I want to be better. I want to feel better. I want to tackle new challenges. I want to overcome new and old obstacles and find new opportunities without the problems of my old pessimisms.
I can see this now.
I can see where my past settlements let me down with a treaty that was simply below my worth.
I can see how my fears led me to believe in my own inaccuracies and that in this regard I can see why I took the trade.
But to be clear, this is what happens when people settle. You settle to get something but whatever you get is not the same as what you want. Enter the different brands of disappointment here.
This is why people become angry or they bicker and they fight.
They settled on a trade and in the end, they knew the outcomes would never produce the dreams they’d always hoped for.
In the case of me settling or in the case of the unworthy settlements of my past and my past resentments due to these decisions, I knew that I wanted more.
I know that I was afraid that I would never reach my goals or have the ability to claim my dreams.
I know that I took several trades and, as a result, the trade left me wanting more.
More . . . as in not just a greater quantity but a greater quality of life.
This has taken me decades to understand. This has taken me decades to recognize; and from this I’ve learned where my trades came in. I’ve seen how I offered pieces of my dreams in exchange for a momentary piece of comfort.
If I were to advise anyone on the verge of such a choice, perhaps I would say that it’s okay to be uncomfortable.
I would say that worse than not getting what you want in life is the settlement you make and submitting to things you never wanted to begin with.
So, don’t do it. Don’t settle. Ever.
In fact, one could benefit from the idea of learning how to find comfort in uncomfortable times.
This way, we can learn to hold true to our wants, our needs and our true desires.
I am battle proven and yes, I have seen tough times and overcome tougher times than these.
I have managed to continue, to keep going, and above all I’ve managed to keep this commitment to you that I will be here, to be honest and open, and that whether I fall or if I fail, I will always come here to find you and tell you the truth about what happened.
I see no point in lying to one’s self. I see no reason to deny ourselves the honest assessment of our past. This way we can learn. This way we can understand how to improve and, more importantly, this way we can recognize the old mistakes before we make them again.
Today is the first day of a new beginning.
I say that regardless of the comforts and discomforts, and no matter what challenges we face; I say let’s make it a good year.
I say let’s have more . .
More as in more than just a few fragments of our dreams.
More as in more time. More memories.
I say more as in more of what we truly want and more of what truly makes us happy.
That’s my goal for this year.
Happy New Year, Ben
The best to you and yours!