The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The last couple weeks I’ve seen wild swings in my feelings.
It’s made me realize that I really don’t know what drives my emotions and even worse, in certain situations, I can’t really trust my emotions.
Fear can hijack my emotions and leave me moving in a direction that I don’t want to simply because I can’t see the underlying motive.
What’s been interesting is that in this particular sphere of life, I’m learning to live more on faith. I’m suppressing the voice in my head that seems to be “logical” but is really just fear parading around with my voice.
Instead I’m having to trust God/the Universe to guide me and to take anything out of my path that I don’t need.
I’m thinking that I’m going to try to do more of this conscious living by faith and stop depending so much on the logical part of my brain.
“I heard the lonely howl of a single siren in the distance, like a ostracized coyote on the prowl”
About a week or so ago, I wrote a bit about consistency, and how I struggled with it. Historically, unless I have a burning urge to finish some project, my completion rate on certain “dreams” of mine was abysmally low.
However, the last week has been a weird yet insightful one.
It’s been very purposeful. Almost slow. I’ve written daily which forces me to live a bit more in the present. I’ve been trying to avoid workaholism, and signing up for every shift possible.
I’ve felt a bit more centered overall. It’s been nice.
With the extra time I had to think, I had time to really think about my goals.
I heard a podcast that really gave me perspective on the things I’ve been aiming at. It made me realize that the truth is – I just don’t want those goals bad enough right now. Instead, I’m enjoying the status quo. I also need some downtime in order to cultivate the seeds and soil that my next project will grow out of.
My new goal is to be still enough to hear the voice on the inside as it tries to lead me into the next season of my life. I still believe my vision for my life is still going to come true, the path just might look a bit different than I expected.
Thinking off the top of my head of goals that I might want to add to my to-do list:
Go to therapy for my relationship habits
Hire a personal trainer for a year
Take a martial art class for 6 months-1 year
Travel to All the countries on my original goal list: Ghana, senegal, south africa, SE Asia, etc
Listened to a podcast that recommended a something that I think I’ll institute.
Taking time to let input circulate in my brain and halting the non-stop intake of information.
I’m an information gathering addict. I love the process of digging into the theory of something. Figuring out how it works and how it should operate. Figuring out what went wrong in case studies and figuring out ways to fix it or make it better.
However, I’m not quite as action focused as I would like to think.
Or maybe I’m not as motivated as I would like to believe.
One quote that stood out to me that struck me between the eyes was from the co-host. He basically said – some of us are stuck in information gathering phase. And we are fooling ourselves by professing to want something that we actually don’t want.
“if you say you want to be a real estate investor and you haven’t made any offers in the last two years – you don’t actually want to be a real estate investor”.
This is something that I need to face head on. Am I searching for something in trying to identify myself as a real estate investor when I’m really not willing to go through the struggles associated with that growth process?
It’s really nobody’s fault either. There was an aggressive rooster, a scared pomeranian and a girlfriend in her boyfriend’s shirt that could all be considered part of the reason that the broom ended up in two pieces.
Sometimes, my life feels that way. Kind of broken. But broken in a specific way.
The broom handle had a screwy end that you would screw into the actual broom. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where the broom broke. So now I have a broom handle with no screw. A broom with a screw top inside of it. Making broth pieces useless.
On the bright side – I wrote today.
It’s a keystone habit that I plan on continuing.
Sometimes the only way to a better tomorrow is through a today with a broken broom.
I think it is interesting how we spend a good portion of our early life (0 years to mid-20’s) in the process of becoming.
From 0-18 society is interested in making sure that we become productive members of society. From 18-24, we have the tailwinds of youth behind us, and mistakes seem to have both lower stakes and an air of youthful indiscretions surrounding them.
From the 25 year on, the world’s expectation of growth is pretty much non-existent. The only applauded areas of growth are relational. Parent’s and potential grandparents love to ask when they’ll get to hear the sound of little feet running around the house.
As the 30’s approach and responsibilities mount it becomes clear that personal growth is pushed to the back burner as responsibilities mount. This can be a problem for people who sacrificed in their 30’s for stability. Health professional’s I think, fall into this category. You spend your youth learning and preparing for your career and trading large portions of your time for this.
“Do you feel good in your role? If yes, that’s the perfect time for you to experiment with something new, to get out of your comfort zone. This willingness to learn is probably the most important thing for leaders of today and tomorrow.”
So where does this leave young professionals who spent a good portion of their youth chasing a stable career?
How does fit in self-experimentation, entrepreneurship, after a decade spent chasing stability?
Is huge reinvention possible?
Can you make huge jumps before the responsibilities of family and social expectations tie you down?
How do you find the courage to make those types of shifts?
One of the things that I’m currently trying to figure out is how to engineer my daily practices especially around my work routines.
My job is relatively low-stress. I’ve been in my current position for going on 3 years?
I can pretty much predict what a day will look like. I’m feeling like this day-in day-out monotony is creating rust when I should probably be learning more and producing more.
Maybe this is a symptom of a bigger workaholic issue but I don’t think it is. I think I’m perhaps looking for more consistent ways to create meaning in my day to day experience.
One of the things I want to do is commit to doing something productive daily. I know that one of the reasons I haven’t seen the acceleration I want to in my life is that I’m not as consistent as I should be.
So I’m going to commit to the D1TQD (Do 1 Thing every day (QD)) plan for 7 days, then I’ll report back on what I did each day and report back as to whether it was helpful as far as moving me forward.
In the past when I would try these types of challenges, I think I would over-commit to very long time frames and inevitably fall short and beat myself up. This negative reinforcement does less than nothing for my motivation to try again or to experiment. I’m realizing I need to experiment and possibly fail more in order for me to find my way to my next level. A big portion of being able to do this is discarding my tendency toward perfectionism.
I might have to learn to get more comfortable with a low level of chaos in order to learn which brush strokes are art and which are mistakes.
But not the obvious kind. You’d be hard pressed to identify me in a crowd of Americans as someone who was born in another country.
I don’t pronounce words with any discernible lilt or lisp. My clothing is more along the lines of a GAP ad than what you would find at your local international farmer’s market.
I spent my formative years in America, and could talk more about the Kardashian’s rise to fame than I could perhaps elucidate on the post-war post-independence condition of my fatherland.
With all of that being said..
The cultural thumbprints of “home” linger.
I see it in the difficulty I have navigating some of the culture of 2018 America. Being African means that I didn’t have to deal with some of the baggage that African-American’s had to deal with. This can lead to confusion when I look at my path and compare it to theirs.
I see it in my struggle with dating. Trying to find someone who understands my unique history and the views I have is somewhat more difficult for people who have not had the immigrant experience.
Trying to figure out what aspects of my culture are helpful and should be kept and what aspects can be modulated and mixed with more progressive viewpoints is mildly annoying. I try to use a rational framework to decide what to keep vs. throw away. It’s not always an easy task. I think respect for elders translates well across all cultures, but there are other features that don’t make the transatlantic trip as easy.
What’s even more difficult is that you’ve been raised in a place that automatically separates you from your home country via distance. You are not in the strictest senses African and yet, not quite American. You spend a good portion of your life, feeling a bit like an outsider in both groups. Each group has a claim to your heart but neither seem to allow you a perfect fit. There is always the faint reminder that “s/he’s not really one of us.”
And maybe, this is more a personal, but I suspect that it is the same for all immigrants who emigrate at a young age.
There are of course, choices that can be made to ameliorate these issues. The most common is to fully adopt the culture of your new home. This is probably the most commonly chosen for those of us who arrive in America at an early age.
Because truthfully, it’s easiest to adapt when you are young. You can disguise or destroy any accent you have. You can adopt the slang, mannerisms, clothing styles, and learn what the social cues and practices are. Often because you’ve made an (unconscious) study of the new culture you’ll understand the unwritten rules in a way that even natives don’t quite grasp.
The problem is that you’ll have something to compare the new culture to. You’ll grasp the hypocrisies and see the places where your new home falls short. You’ll be bewildered as to why your new home does things the way that they do. And when you go back to your fatherland, you’ll see the inefficiencies and foibles that live there.
Being an immigrant, I think, is a good place for an introvert. You get to live in two different worlds at the same time. It is as close to as super power as I think I’ll ever get.
“The truth is, immigrants tend to be more American than people born here.” ― Chuck Palahniuk,