So remember this post and this post on creativity and life-balance?
I've thought about it a lot, and thought about what makes me tick, personally. And here is some honesty. Get ready for some crazy too, as I think I'm getting a little sick.
I love to help people and make them smile. I really love it. I think it alternates between genuine altruism and loving to make people happy (happy people are fun people) and a selfish desire to make my friends an exclusive club that everybody wants to get into because they're so damn happy all the time. The result is, however, that I over-commit to a lot of things. Taking people out to dinner, shopping for pick-me-up presents, cooking meals, hosting parties, coming up with lots of energy to energize others, revving people up to go out because they feel like they're in a rut, seeing my friends on an individual basis and really listening to them, spending quality time with my significant other, spending silly time with my significant other, etc.
I also love to show off. Who doesn't? Praise is awesome, and being able to display things that you're good at gives you encouragement to go forth and do more. The result here is the same, I over-commit. Usually it's on a micro level - making too many things for a meal, or things that are too complicated - but sometimes it's on a macro level, trying to solve everybody's problems all at once. This leads me to making meals for everyone but myself, doing other peoples' work at work and not getting any of my own done, that kind of stuff. They say that pride cometh before a fall, but it's really more like pride cometh before you turn into an empty, hollow shell who's eating a giant bucket of popcorn for dinner in pajamas and bathrobe while making whimpery noises and wondering why it's cold in the house.
I want to improve myself over time, not stagnate. I have this crippling anxiety of becoming boring and everybody thinks I'm lame and nobody wants to hang out with me ever again because I'm no longer funny, clever, helpful, supportive, or that last dish I made was sucky. No, don't reassure me that I'm awesome (ok you can if you want). Trust me, this is something that needs to be addressed by a mental health professional, as it's deeply embedded. When I was younger, with more significant troubles in my life, I was alone a lot outside of school. That gave me a lot of time to read, be smart, think of funny things, and daydream. This is a pattern that I fell into as a defense mechanism that has now become the type of thing that recharges me. Now that I'm an adult, and much of those troubles are behind me, I have a much more packed social schedule, and that recharge pattern is less available. Then occasionally, somebody at a party will say something totally witty and I'll laugh my butt off, and my brain will do this:
"HAHAHAHHA that was so hilarious HAHAHAHA- oh god why am i not that funny i am deficient oh geez quick i need to read something smart somebody hand me a biology textbook or a calculus problem"
Plus stagnate is a yucky word. It sounds like some sort of unwanted bodily fluid, or something stinky that comes from the fermentation of sewer goop that Ferran Adria will science into something delicious and spherical at some point in 2015.
[credit: unknown, someone help me out] This is giraffe threads with spherified stagnate and cheese gel.
I want to surround myself with loved ones. Again, this is kind of a no-brainer. I don't want to lose touch or relevance with the people I really admire and love, and who also really care about me. This means - as my friends happen to be scattered all over - I spend a lot of time sleeping on planes and buses, spending money, vacation hours, and brain-energy, and physical energy. Sometimes they come see me. All of which rules. I'm definitely not complaining. However, this means I get home and there's a ton of laundry, I have no food, I have no money, and my bathroom is a crazy haven for cave crickets, which are like terrifying jumpy spider things. Seriously terrifying get out of my house why are you in my house i hate you.
This is what I came up with:
Rule: Secure your own mask before assisting others.
They say during the portion of airplane flights when you're trying to figure out how to fit your personal pizza, your bottled water, and that stupid magazine you bought into that pocket in front of you. I think the announcement is supposed to be calming or something. The idea is if something bad happens and you have no oxygen, these colostomy bags fall out of the ceiling and you put them on your face. Or... oxygen thingies? Either way, they're supposed to make you not asphyxiate. You put them on your own face before putting other ones on other peoples' faces. This is because if you're running out of oxygen, you get all loopy, panicky, and floppy, and it's really unattractive. ALSO, makes you really bad at putting masks on other people. Really, nobody wants any of that.
This is true of life. First you gotta put the colostomy bag on your face. Then you're like a superhero. Is it getting hot in here? *thud*
I'm back! I'm up. It's fine.
Point is, everybody wants you to be the best you can be; you should want that too. Doing things that recharge you will make all these other things much easier. Artificially producing creativity, support, or knowledge is basically mentally forcing it. And as with poops, it's unsatisfying, exhausting, potentially painful, and sometimes shooty.
Those are my thoughts. Hopefully they weren't too shooty.